Post by Pastor Tim – It’s hard to “do the word” of healing and comforting when your whole basis for healing is wrong. To demonstrate that “wrong basis,” here are a few healing-related questions I’ve heard from Christians:
Does God give the gift of healing or not?
If so, how do I get it?
What words should I say when asking for healing?
Is there a correct method to use when asking for healing?
What amount of faith do I need to have to get healed?
If I believe it and say it, will it come true?
You might have noticed that these questions are extremely self-centered, rather than focused on the God who does the healing. And there are three things that we at DOTW Church have been working on to correct these self-centered ideas on healing.
Change the way we read Scripture!
One of the main reasons that many Christians ask un-scriptural questions on healing is not because they don’t read the Bible, but rather because they don’t read the Bible with the proper perspective. Overall, the Bible is the self-revelation of God and is intended to teach the readers about Him! Often-times though, we read the Bible as if it is an instructional book on how we are to live. A good example of this is Genesis 41-46. John Walton, the author of The Bible Story Handbook says,
When we use a text such as Genesis 41-46 to teach that Joseph is a good example of how God wants us to treat others in a competitive situations, we violate the integrity of the narrative. The students miss the central teaching of the narrative section, which concerns the providence of god.
When we approach healing passages such as John 9:1-7, Matthew 8:5-17 or Luke 8:43-48, we would benefit greatly from approaching these passages with the mindset that it teaches us something important about God.
Learn about God’s Character
When we read the Scriptures with that new perspective, we learn less about ourselves and more about God. And one over-arching theme that we find in the Scriptures is that God is holy. The word holy, as described by John Oswalt, was used to point out the “awesome, terrifying otherness of God.” But it was also used to describe the ethical nature or character of God. Thus, when we are called to be holy as God is holy, the Bible is referring to the fact that our behavior and character should model the character of God!
Salvation as Healing
In order to be holy as God is holy, we need a healing to take place within ourselves. As Pastor Foley already pointed out, this is more than just a forgiveness of sins. It is a healing and a transformation of our souls! I saw the need for this in my eight year old daughter recently. My daughter has trusted in Jesus and is great at confessing sins to God, but she shared with me that she is getting tired of confessing her sins to God and then doing those same sins over again afterwards. I shared with her that God is faithful and just to forgive her of her sins, but that God has also promised to change her so that she won’t do those same sins anymore.
If we’ve missed or skipped any of the above points, then our ideas on healing are probably headed in the wrong direction. And if we try to practice the Work of Mercy of healing and comforting with these ideas, then we are probably misrepresenting what the Scriptures really teach on healing.
So what can we practically do this month as it relates to healing and comforting? Our family is spending some time praying the Scriptures. We are praying the Psalms as a family during our regular prayer time and family worship time. Praying our own prayers is important, but we want to take the focus off of ourselves and make our prayers centered on the character of God. Most importantly, we hope to grow in our understanding of God, but also in our understanding of God’s healing.