Faith and Healing III
The Healing Mindset
Bible Study 10 - Part 3 of 3
Academically we understand that God heals, but what kind of mindset or mentality do we need to take advantage of this great blessing?
As noted in earlier Bible Studies in this series on healing, we are conditioned to respond to what our five physical senses convey to us. Yet as Habakkuk 2:4 says, " . . . the just shall live by faith" and faith is defined in Hebrews 11:1 as ". . . the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." This means that to live by faith we must have absolute, childlike confidence in God our loving Father to supply every need without any physical assurance beforehand. In fact, God expects us to know without any doubt that what He has promised we can expect before there is any physical evidence to prove it.
Christ, to His disciples on a number of occasions, used little children as examples of the mentality required for entering the Kingdom of God. Do we have this childlike trust to feel totally confident that God will heal us and beyond that give us eternal life in His kingdom? Do we absolutely believe what Christ said in Luke 12:32 (NKJ), "Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom"? Earlier in the chapter He told them not to worry or be anxious about the basic requirements of life, such as food and clothing (v. 22). Since we have been called to be God's children and He owns the universe, He is more than capable and very willing to provide for us, if only we would show Him a childlike trust. This extends to being healed of a deadly disease where the same kind of undoubting trust is required.
Take the example of Peter when he saw Christ walking on the Sea of Galilee. This account is in Matthew 14, "And Peter . . . said, 'Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.' So He said, 'Come.' And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus." Now look what happened next. "But when he saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, 'Lord, save me!' And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, 'O you of little faith, why did you doubt?' " (Matt. 14:28-31 NKJ).
Doubt destroys faith and as a result Peter began to sink into the water. He took his eyes off Christ and allowed the physical conditions around him and his human reasoning to push aside his confidence in the Son of God. Yes, fear, worry and doubt destroy faith, without which it is impossible to please God. However "perfect love casts out fear" (I Jn. 4:18). In fact there is no fear in love (v. 18). Verse 19 of I John 4 adds this thought, "We love Him (God) because He first loved us."
A little child understands intuitively that his parents love him. This is what his trust or faith in them is based upon. Since God loves us and has proved it by allowing His Son to be sacrificed for us, we should have absolutely no doubt about His genuine concern for us. He sees our suffering and He can easily put a stop to it, if only we would trust Him. Too often however, like Peter, we become afraid because of the physical evidence before our eyes and we panic. God wants us to look beyond the physical realities, to block out our human reasoning as to why we may not be worthy of being healed or the seeming impossibility of being cured because of our declining condition. God wants us to grasp His strong, outstretched hand, which although invisible, is always there to steady us. Our trust in God is the proof of our love for Him. God wants us to love Him! We are family, brethren, His Family! The fact is that fear destroys faith by replacing it with worry and doubts. If we get into such a condition, we tie God's hands, making it impossible for Him to intervene on our behalf until our attitude changes.
When I was a student at Ambassador College in 1968, I was suffering with severe pains in my knees. Specialists had done all kinds of tests and could find no cause for the pain, which was making it difficult to walk or operate an automobile. During a Bible study a minister covered the topic of healing, a subject with which I was unfamiliar. The study included the command to go and be anointed for sickness, disease or injury. Christ had allowed His body to be severely scourged, so that our bodies could be healed. The next day I was anointed and woke up the following morning with the pain completely removed. I simply followed the command to be anointed. I took my mind off the pain and the next day I woke up healed. Why did God heal me? I was not baptized; just newly arrived at college, having spent two years keeping the Sabbath alone without ever being invited to services. I didn't know much; you might say I was a green recruit, but I did believe what I saw presented in the Bible, so that when I went to be anointed it was without doubts. It didn't occur to me to wonder whether situations or circumstances would somehow negate God's promise to heal. I just followed orders and God responded positively, so that perhaps in the future my experience might be of encouragement to others.
In the military when an officer gives a command, he doesn't wonder if it is going to be carried out. Once he gives it he knows it is as good as done. This too is faith. It was just this kind of faith that greatly impressed Christ when He was called to heal a Roman officer's servant. The account is found in Luke 7. The centurion had sent certain Jews to ask for Jesus' help; however, he told them it was not necessary for Jesus to come all the way to his house. We pick up the account in the middle of verse 6,
'Lord, do not trouble Yourself, for I am not worthy that You should enter under my roof. Therefore I did not even think myself worthy to come to You. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to one, "Go," and he goes; and to another, "Come," and he comes; and to my servant, "Do this," and he does it.' When Jesus heard these things, He marveled at him, and turned around and said to the crowd that followed Him, 'I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!' And those who were sent, returning to the house, found the servant well who had been sick (Lk. 7:6-10 NKJ).
Another example of great faith is to be found in Matthew 15. Once again it involves a Gentile, a Canaanite woman from the vicinity of Tyre and Sidon. In this case the woman's daughter was demon possessed. An interesting aspect of this account is that Christ tested the quality of the woman's faith. When she called out to Him that her daughter was demon possessed ". . . He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, 'Send her away, for she cries out after us'" (Matt. 15:23). Just imagine how difficult that was to deal with? But the test was not over!
But He [Christ] answered and said, "I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, "Lord, help me!" But He answered and said, "It is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs [a term used by the Jews to describe the Gentiles]." And she said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered and said to her, "O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire." And her daughter was healed from that very hour (Matt. 15:24-28 NKJ).
In evaluating this incident, let's note several factors which led to the positive result. First the woman's great love for her daughter meant that she was prepared to endure any humiliation. Second, she absolutely knew that Jesus was God's Son and that He had the necessary power to release her daughter from the demon. Third, she displayed a high degree of humility when Christ used a derogatory term "little dogs" to describe her and her people.
The woman displayed four qualities that are very pleasing in God's sight: love faith, humility, and patient perseverance or endurance. God promises to heal, but He doesn't promise when. This woman was unflinchingly single-minded. She tuned out every distraction. She displayed unwavering trust, and she kept her focus on Christ.
Look at what James has to say in this regard at the beginning of his epistle,
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (Jas. 1:2-8 NKJ).
In Psalm 119:113, David is inspired to say "I hates the double-minded." Hate is a very strong word and in the Hebrew it can have the same intensity as the English. However, it can also mean cold and indifferent, or to show less favor.
James 1, verses 6 and 8 define the double-minded man as wavering and unstable. The Greek word translated wavering is diakrino and it can also mean to doubt. According to Vine's "this verb suggests, not so much weakness of faith, as lack of it." This is the cause of his instability or unsettled condition. Such a person is unreliable. In the Greek diakrinomenos is an individual who does not stand firm on the promise of God, but moves restlessly like a wave of the sea.
As noted in the Spirit-filled Life Bible, "being anxious and afraid is actually sin! When you know that your heavenly Father is taking care of your business, you can allow the peace of God to fill your life. God's peace is not dependent on outward circumstances. It is supernatural peace that comes from the confidence of knowing that God is in control."
Consider Philippians 4:6-7, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Verse 8 tells us what to focus our minds on, ". . . whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-- meditate on these things" (NKJ).
We must always remember that God alone is our source of security in this life. He and He alone! We must learn to depend on Him for everything as an active participant in our lives, until it becomes second nature. In this case our "second nature" is God's nature, which we receive through His Holy Spirit. We need to continuously stir that spirit up by daily communication with God.
We have seen how faith can be undermined. Even Jesus Christ, the Son of God with all the Father's power at His disposal did not display His healing power in a negative environment. When He went to His hometown of Nazareth, those He grew up with were jealous of His fame and filled with resentment as He taught in their synagogue. As Christ pointed out "a prophet is not without honor, save in His own country, and in His own house" (Matt. 13:57, KJV). Underlying their negative was the old adage that familiarity breeds contempt. The result is recounted in Matthew 13:58 (NKJ), "Now He did not do many mighty works there because of their unbelief." Unbelief is translated from the Greek word apistia, which can also be stated as, lack of faith.
It is important for us in God's Church to remember why God called us. In a word He called us to be leaders. Good leaders conduct themselves in a positive, uplifting and confident way. In a sense then the Church should be regarded as an Officers Training Corps. Would you want to go to war led by fearful, doubtful, negative officers. I don't believe so! Your ministers have the responsibility to help you grow into competent officers who will graduate into rulership positions in Christ's millennial government.
The army of God must be faithful, positive and completely committed to the cause. When Christ was confronted with negative people in a crisis situation, He expelled them because their attitude would undermine the confidence of others. In the military this is known as "causing alarm and despondency in the ranks." In time of war men would be shot for this crime.
In Matthew 9, we find an excellent example of the type of attitude that pleases God and brings positive results. Beginning in verse 18, we are told a ruler came and worshipped Christ, "saying, 'My daughter has just died, but come and lay Your hand on her and she will live.'" It is important to notice that the ruler worshipped Christ, meaning that he acknowledged His power. He, a ruler, humbled himself before Christ. Yes his attitude was humble, but also trusting and confident. Remember he was asking that his daughter be brought back to life. She was beyond being sick, she was dead! Let's take up the rest of the account beginning in verse 23, "When Jesus came into the ruler's house, and saw the flute players and the noisy crowd wailing, He said to them, 'Make room, for the girl is not dead, but sleeping.' And they ridiculed Him. But when the crowd was put outside, He went in and took her by the hand, and the girl arose" (Matt. 9:23-25 NKJ).
A parallel account in Luke 8 provides more details. The ruler's name was Jairus and he was the president of the synagogue. The little girl was his only daughter and was about twelve years of age. In Luke's account she was not dead but dying when Jairus first appealed to Christ to save her. In Matthew's report she was dead which means that someone informed Jairus that she had died. Yet Jairus did not give up. He knew that the Son of God had power to raise the dead, so he kept on believing even though the messenger said "Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the Teacher" (Lk. 8:49 NKJ).
This negative comment was only the beginning as we read in Matthew's account. In verse 50 of Luke 8, Jesus immediately countered by saying "Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well." When they got to Jairus' house as we noted previously, the mourners ridiculed Christ for saying the little girl was only sleeping, so Jesus "put them all outside." The only ones He allowed in the room with Him were three leading disciples, Peter, James, and John, and the mother and father of the girl. All negative influences were excluded.
Brethren, God called us to be leaders. When a brother or sister in the Church is sick, it becomes a test of leadership for us. Who wants to be led by officers who are doubtful, fearful, and lacking in inspiration? When someone is very ill he or she will not be uplifted by downcast, doubtful worriers surrounding his or her bed. Certainly we can sympathize with the physical discomfort they are enduring, but we must also give them cheer by our strong faith in their imminent healing. We must be unwavering, looking beyond the physical evidence to God's great love and power to heal and His willingness to do so. This is godly leadership! It must be shown in word, facial expression, and body language. Everything must be cheerful and positive.
We must expect a miracle to have a miracle. Let's not hedge our bets or come up with reasons why God might not heal in certain situations. Do we just pay lip service to God's desire and power to heal? Is our religion only academic? Do our up and down emotions dominate us? If so, we need to repent and ask God to forgive us for being doubters. If faith is replaced by human reasoning, then we should expect no positive answers from God, no healings and no miracles.
Let's remember what Christ said to His disciples in Matthew 17:20 (NKJ), ". . . if you have faith as a mustard seed . . . nothing will be impossible for you." He went on to tell them that they must pray and fast for more faith. So must we.
World conditions confirm that we are close to the conclusion of the end times and therefore close to receiving our victory crowns. In the relatively short time available to us, let's ask God to help us develop a spiritual mindset that can move mountains.
One final thought, I Corinthians 13 tells us love is greater than faith. But let me add, that great faith is founded on great love and both are highlighted by unbound hope. Combined they provide a fruitful ground for healing.
Hold Fast Brethren!
Note: In I Corinthians 12, among the various gifts mentioned is the gifts of healing. The word gift comes from the Greek charisma which Vine's defines as ". . . a gift of grace, a gift involving grace [charis] on the part of God as donor, . . . (b) of His endowments upon believers by the operation of the Holy Spirit in the Churches." Christ's disciples were given the gift of healing before they were converted (Matt. 10:1).
This gift as with others, seems to have been bestowed on certain individuals in the Church early in the first century in conjunction with the proclamation of the gospel throughout the Roman Empire. Miracles and healings were used to highlight God's work in progress. By 60 A.D. we no longer hear of such gifts of healing.
However, later in the first century James' instruction is given for the healing of Church members by God through anointing and the laying on of hands by Church elders.
In this latter situation faith was definitely involved and absolutely necessary, since without it, it is impossible to please God. God does not give positive answers when He is not pleased. The giving of the gift of healing to certain individuals seems to have been replaced by the instructions given in James 5. In fact Paul writes of various members or elders who remained sick for periods of time, perhaps lending support to the theory that the specific gift of healing was given to gain the attention of people throughout the Roman Empire to the proclamation of the true gospel. This situation will be paralleled by the work of God's two witnesses during the tribulation.
Other Important Articles:
Faith and Healing III
God's Church, Worldwide