Healing, Health and Wholeness
The world today is very different from the one God set Adam and Eve in originally. Not only did our first parents enjoy unbroken fellowship with God and with each other until they sinned, but there was also a total absence of selfishness, strife and the suffering that is so much a part of life today.
With the entry of sin also came a breakdown in man’s spiritual, emotional, mental and physical make up. As well as losing intimacy with God and being alienated from those around him, human beings became affected by sickness, disease and death.
But God is not indifferent to human suffering. He loves us and, in his Son the Lord Jesus Christ, has provided for us to be drawn back into fellowship with himself. We believe that God, as our loving heavenly Father, cares for each one of us and wants to bless us and establish wholeness in every area of our lives.
Undoubtedly, one important aspect of the wholeness with which God wants to bless us, is healing from sickness, disease or injury.
So much is this the case that he says in James 5:16
‘pray for each other that you may be healed’
Here are some practical things to consider as you seek to confront sickness or disease in your life. Look up the scriptures as you go; they will encourage and strengthen your faith.
1. What do we mean by healing?
The physical healing spoken about in the Bible, almost always refers to a supernatural intervention of God to bring about either immediate or speedy recovery from sickness or ill health.
It does not refer to the natural healing properties of the body, the effect of medication or the skill of surgeons, although many of us have reason to be thankful to God for one or all of them.
2. Does God heal people today?
Yes, he does! He does so in response to prayer made by faith in the name of Jesus (Acts 3:16). Indeed one of God’s unchanging covenant names is Yahweh Rapha (the LORD who heals).
There is not a shred of evidence from either the scriptures or church history that the gifts and miraculous demonstrations of the Holy Spirit, including healing, have been withdrawn or are not for today.
3. What is the basis for healing?
a) What Jesus did on the cross
Healing is provided for in Jesus’ substitutionary, atoning death on the cross (Isaiah 53:4,5).
He died for our sins and our sicknesses. This provides the basis of faith for healing!
b) What Jesus did in his ministry
Jesus included healing in his ‘mission statement’ (Luke 4:18).
Jesus then charged the apostles to teach us to do everything he had commanded them (Matt. 28:19,20). Healing the sick is part of the Great Commission.
4. How can I receive healing?
Once we have acknowledged we are ill (and it is not a sign of unbelief to do this), we need to be convinced in our heart, both that God has provided for our healing in Jesus and that it is his desire to heal us.
Although we can pray for ourselves for healing, the usual pattern in the scriptures is for people to be prayed for by others. This is obviously true in the case of believers:
- call for the elders (James 5:14)
- pray for each other (James 5:16)
One of the reasons for this is that sometimes issues arise that we need to talk to someone about.
5. How can I prepare my heart?
Like everything else we receive from God, healing is a grace gift. As believers, though, it is important for us to be in a place where we remove from our lives any possible hindrances to healing. With an open and honest heart use the following as a checklist to help you, but don’t go rummaging about for things that aren’t there. If God shows you some of these things do apply to you, ask him for forgiveness. He will forgive (1 John 1:9) and help you move forward.
Whatever its cause, scepticism strikes at the heart of our ability to receive from the Lord. Our faith needs to be in God and his word. Sometimes we just have to say:
‘Lord, I believe; help my unbelief’ (Mark 9:24).
b) Legalistic mindset
While some feel they are not good enough to deserve healing, others think they should be healed on the basis of their exemplary Christian commitment down through the years.
Healing, like salvation, is not earned; it is received by grace through faith (Gal. 3:5).
c) Unresolved personal conflicts
Tensions arising from unforgiveness, resentment or bitterness can all contribute to sickness (1 Cor. 11:27, 29-32). Things need to be put right. It is essential not to grieve the Holy Spirit through whom we receive the gift of healing (Eph. 4:30-32).
d) Unhelpful teaching
Unbelief can be present because of wrong teaching received in the past, e.g.:
- gifts of the Holy Spirit are not for today
- sickness is an aid to sanctification
- confusion of sickness with suffering and affliction. In the New Testament these refer to any opposition, persecution or injustice we suffer because of our commitment to Jesus (2 Tim. 1:8,12; 1 Pet. 2:20; 3:14,17)
e) We give up too quickly
Jesus prayed for the blind man ‘once more’ (Mark 8:24,25).
f) Involvement in occult- based therapies
Often deliverance is needed before healing takes place if we have been involved in things like homoeopathy, acupuncture, ‘spiritual healing’ and various new age practices.
In fact, prayer for deliverance will often also be the key to healing where generational sicknesses are involved.
In the case of the crippled woman whom Jesus healed, sickness was associated with a spirit of infirmity (Luke 13:11-16).
Having gone through these things now, why not seek out one of the elders, either by phone or in person, and ask them to pray for you? Of course there is no reason why you shouldn’t ask the Lord to start a work of healing in you now.
6. A prayer for healing
“Heavenly Father, thank you for your love for me and that you want to heal me from this sickness. I ask you to forgive me those things which could be a hindrance to receiving healing. Thank you for your grace and kindness towards me.
I believe, Lord Jesus, that you died on the cross for my sinks and my sicknesses. I command any spirit of infirmity linked with this sickness to leave me and I ask you, Lord Jesus, to stretch out your hand, touch me by your Spirit and heal me. By faith I now receive your gift to me of healing.
Thank you Lord. Amen”.
7. How can I keep my healing?
Physical good health and spiritual well-being are to some extent linked (John 5:14; 3 John 2); one can affect the other. In view of that, it will be helpful to bear the following in mind:
a) Keep fit physically
- eat healthily
- get adequate, regular sleep
- try to get some regular exercise
b) Keep fit spiritually
- maintain your relationship with the Lord
- develop a thankful and positive attitude towards God’s provision for your life
- deal quickly with any sin or bad attitudes
- live in reconciliation with those around you (James 5:16)
- pray daily for health and strength to live in a way that pleases the Lord
8. A final word
Obviously we have not been able to deal with every issue connected with divine healing in the scope of this leaflet. If there are questions that concern you, please feel free to approach any of the elders who will be more than happy to talk with you about them.