Last week in “How do you measure your blessing?” we talked about having a self-centered focus vs. living a life of love. For the Christian, the greatest blessing is to have the Holy Spirit living inside of us and being able to give God’s life and grace to the world.
How does this relate to divine healing and being doers of God’s word, not only hearers?
If You Believe It, You Should Do It!
It’s always God’s will to heal, but divine healing happens through God’s power that is at work in us. God has given us responsibility, and we are Christ’s body. That means that we have something to do with whether or not God’s will is accomplished in specific situations.
James 1:22 (NRSV) But be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves.
Growing up around people from various charismatic churches, I heard many people talk about “divine healing.” I often heard people claiming healing, saying “By Jesus’ stripes I am healed.” Yet I almost never saw any evidence of supernatural healing. Neither did I see these people ministering to others who were sick.
Many of these Christians came from a church background with leaders who taught divine healing. However, the teaching was almost totally self-centered. It was all about getting “your healing.” They didn’t teach Christians to minister to others.
If we really believe what the gospel says about healing, how can we walk by suffering people all the time and not give them what we have? Do we really believe we have what they need? Or are we so selfish that we know a man with cancer could be spared untold suffering and be whole if we just laid hands on him and spoke in Jesus’ name, but it’s too inconvenient?
Yes, it’s awkward to know how to approach someone. But isn’t it worth it?
I think most of us aren’t really so selfish that we won’t go out of our way to help someone. But we doubt that it will work. We listen to the voice of an anti-Christ spirit, which denies that Jesus lives in us and we can do what he did. And we doubt. Or we imagine that the person will reject us and won’t let us pray anyways, and so yield to the voice of fear. Some of us have been taught (falsely) that the receiver has to have faith to be healed. We imagine that the person probably won’t have faith to be healed if we approach them. If that’s you, read this post.
Faith isn’t really about what you feel. It has more to do with how you act. I can’t say how many times I didn’t feel like anything was going to happen, but I reminded myself “I say that I believe God has given me authority and it’s his will to heal, so I should do it. How can I leave this person suffering if that is really true?” Something wonderful happened, not because of what I felt, but because of what I did.
If we keep saying that we believe something, but never act on it, we deceive ourselves. I’ve seen many people who said they believed in divine healing for many years, yet they never acted on it. Then when facing a serious personal situation, they said “I believed, but it didn’t work.” But if they had believed, they would have already been acting on that truth to help others. If they had believed, the first recourse for minor situations would have been “In Jesus’ name, be whole.” When it seemed that there was no natural help, God’s help became a last resort, a straw to be grasped at in desperation. Yet if they really had been believing, they would have already been acting as if it were true.
Most of what I saw as an early Christian, was people who said they believed God wanted to heal, yet acted as if this weren’t true. It seems to me that saying we believe something, yet acting as if it isn’t true, is a formula for the worst kind of unblelief. It’s also how the hearts of people around us become hardened to truth. It’s better to say we don’t believe something, than to say we do but act as if it isn’t true.
When we reject a self-centered approach to divine healing, it becomes a very challenging truth to believe! If God has really given us the answer to people’s suffering, we should get busy! There have been so many times in the last few weeks where I didn’t feel like stopping or approaching somebody, but I reminded myself “I have what that person needs. If I do this, they can be free from their affliction.” I was glad I acted!
Right now, I’m visiting my family in Lancaster, PA for the first time in three years. On Wednesday, I passed a short, middle-aged man using a cane in Park City Mall. I knew I could help him. (Because Jesus lives in me.) But I had a goal in mind, and he was going his way. I didn’t know what he would think. I thought it looked like he knew where he was going and might not want to be bothered. It seemed inconvenient, for both of us. Yes, I’ve approached people so many times, and still deal with such thoughts.
I kept going, feeling bad for passing him by. Yet on my way out, I saw him in front of me again. I reminded myself “If I say that God wants to heal people through me, and I can do the things that Jesus did, I should act on it.”
So I ran up to him. I’m not good at ice-breakers. The one advantage I have is that God healed me, years ago. So I can say, rather bluntly, “Hey, once I had bad back pain, and God healed me. I felt something like a ball of energy rolling up and down inside my back, and the pain left. Now I pray for people, and they get free from their pain. I saw that you were walking with difficulty. Will you let me pray for you?” That, more or less, is how I usually approach people. They usually let me pray, even if they are surprised and don’t expect anything to happen.
The guy spoke to me in Spanish. “Hola.” I switched to Spanish and told him what God had done for me. Then I asked if he felt pain while walking.
Yes, he had a herniated disk. But the real reason he was using a cane was because he had suffered from four brain tumors and had cancer in various parts of his body. He lost his balance because of the brain tumors and his legs were also weak.
I said, “I release God’s goodness and peace in every part of your body. Cancer go, pain go, and everything be whole.” When I asked how he felt, he said nonchalantly “mejor.” (Better) I prayed again, and he again said he felt better. It seemed like maybe he felt a little relived, but still felt some pain. I wasn’t sure.
Then he told me he was a Christian, and talked about God with me for a little while. I wonder if anybody had laid hands on him before or tried to help him. Most of the church barely knows he Jesus is and doesn’t understand the implications of Jesus living in us. So let’s help the church to find out!
After chatting a bit, we said goodbye. But soon later, as I was on my way out to the car, the man came after me. He was holding his cane up in the air and yelled “Mira! No lo necesito ahora!” (Look, I don’t need it anymore!)
I was glad that I’d stopped to give somebody what Jesus has given me!
Next week, I’ll share some testimonies of how I was healed when I got my focus off of my sickness and on to what God was doing…