The ultimate source of healing

This post will conclude the series I have written on Kingdom skills: dealing with inner hurts.

As I mentioned in the first post on this topic, I spent two years researching the area of inner healing–at least in part because so many people we came across were wounded in various areas.  At the end of that time, I was excited and thrilled to come to the conclusion that there is a single source for healing of the inner person–the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Take a look at this passage from Isaiah 53, and see how many of the problems we have discussed are actually dealt with by Jesus' death (links take you to the relevant post).

 3 He is despised and rejected by men, 
      A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. 
      And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; 
      He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. 
       4 Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;

      Yet we esteemed Him stricken, 

      Smitten by God, and afflicted. 

       5 But He was wounded for our transgression
      He was bruised for our iniquities
      The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, 
      And by His stripes we are healed. 
       6 All we like sheep have gone astray; 
      We have turned, every one, to his own way; 
      And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 

Add to that the victory that Jesus won over Satan and his demonic forces when He died and rose again:

Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins.  He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.  In this way, he disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross  (Colossians 2:13-15).

All that we need for emotional wholeness is ours through what Jesus has done for us.  When we apply these truths to our lives, we can be set free and we can set others free!

 

The battle for the mind

For several posts now we have been looking at the various causes of emotional problems from a spiritual perspective with the aim of equipping people to help those who are challenged in these areas.  (More of the tools in a later post.)  

The ground where the battle needs to be won is the inner man–which as we saw in a previous post, includes the mind, will and emotions. If a person can win the battle there, and have these areas of life controlled by the Spirit, then he/she can be set free from oppression, fear, depression etc.  So someone may have been set free in response to our prayers for them, but they need to know how to continue to win the battle in their daily lives.  

There are two especially relevant verses here.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (Romans 12:2)

Scientists tell us that our brains are wired so that if we develop a habit of thinking a certain way, it becomes automatic.  It's as though there are channels in our minds that our thoughts may run along. So we may be healed, for example, from fear, but we have to retrain our minds in the opposite direction to fear. Meditation and proclamation of various verses from the Word of God is especially relevant here–for example, in the case of fear, 2 Timothy 1:7 is a useful verse.  

The second passage comes in  verse is 2 Corinthians 10 and shows that there is a battle for the minds of men:

We are human, but we don’t wage war as humans do. We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments. We destroy every proud obstacle that keeps people from knowing God. We capture their rebellious thoughts and teach them to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5).

Although this is primarily talking about seeing unbelievers come to faith, the principles apply to seeing people set free in their inner man too.  If we want to see changes in the inner man, spiritual warfare may be necessary.  What are our spiritual weapons?  Praise (Psalm 149:6-9), the Word of God (Matthew 4:1-11), our testimony and the blood of Jesus (Revelation 12:11).

Many years ago, back in the UK, we had a trainee nurse staying with us.  She had developed abdominal pain that was so overpowering it would cause her to black out.  Despite full investigation at her teaching hospital, the doctors had been unable to find a cause, and had decided to send her to see a psychiatrist.  Obviously her nursing training was in jeopardy.  But before referring her to the psychiatric department, her Christian doctor asked if she could spend a few days with Tony and me in the hope that we might find a cause for what was going on.

One morning as I was praying for her, the thought came into my mind, "Ask her if she hears voices!"  When I did so, her reply was immediate:  "Yes, but they've told me never to tell anyone!"

The following story came out.  As a teenager, she became troubled by voices in her head.  These became more and more insistent, and the only way she could find to block them out was to lose consciousness.  It was very simple to pray for her and see her delivered and set completely free.

Thankfully, we had warned her that Satan might try and attack her again, and we taught her how to use spiritual weapons if the happened.  About a week later, she experienced another attack, but she was able to praise and pray her way out of it.  It was the last attack she ever had.  We heard from her around 10 years later.  She had been completely set free since that time, and her nursing career was going well.  Praise God!

 

 

 

The 5 “S’s” that give Satan a legal right

Continuing the series on Kingdom skills: helping those with inner pain and problems.

In the last post we looked at the first of the 5, rather contrived, "S's" that allow Satan access to our lives–namely sin.  Here are the remaining four.  


Letter s
 
Seance:
This “S” refers to where we
have given Satan access to our lives by involving in any form of the
occult.  A friend of mine, years
previously as a student, had gone to a séance with the intention of praying
against it.  She hadn’t thought
about it for years, but when she realized that her contact with this might have
affected her, she asked Tony and I to pray about it with her.  A few days later she came to us, amazed
at the difference the prayer had made. 
Without knowing it, her life had been oppressed—a sense of being under a
cloud—and our brief prayer had set her free.  
Dabbling with the occult is expressly forbidden in
the Scriptures.  There are many
different forms of it including things such as Ouija boards, palm reading and
so on.  Also included in this
category are mind-altering drugs which sometimes allow the enemy access.

Shock: Debbie and her boyfriend went to visit his
uncle one day.  When they knocked
on the door, no one answered but finding the door unlocked, they went on
in.  They discovered the uncle dead
on the floor—natural causes, no suspicious circumstances.  But from that day on, until we prayed
with her, Debbie was overcome by fear. 
She was afraid of opening doors. 
She was afraid in any kind of unfamiliar situation.  Satan had taken advantage of the shock
of finding a dead body and supercharged a natural reaction to give her a major
problem with fear. 

We know that God doesn’t give us a spirit
of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.  Any time fear is present, it’s worth finding the source and
dealing with the enemy.

Subtlety
In the Garden of Eden, Satan is described as subtle (Genesis 3:1), and
he tricks us.  For example, you are
watching some innocuous program on television, and when it ends, you drift
without thinking into whatever program comes on next.  Before you know it, you are into a topic you would never
have chosen—semi-pornography, or graphic violence.  I remember praying with a friend who was feeling under
oppression—nothing very major, just that all wasn’t right.  In those days we lived in a very
socially deprived, inner city area of London, where every kind of crime was
committed on an almost daily basis. 
When she traced back to find out when the problem had started, she
realized it stemmed from reading our local paper, which was full of accounts of
murder and crime.  When we prayed
against it, she was set free.

Siege: Sometimes Satan lays siege to us.  Take for example, a situation where finances are an issue.  Month after month, they are a source of concern and worry, and over time, the burden gets heavier and heavier.  In Daniel 7, one of the kings is described as wearing out the saints of the Most High, and this perfectly describes the activity of the enemy.

  

Kingdom skills: causes of emotional problems #5 (when Satan has a legal right)

Continuing the series on skills for Kingdom builders: dealing with emotional problems.

The last four posts have dealt with different categories of
causes of problems in the inner man: our sin, inherited tendency to sin, where
we are sinned against and griefs and sorrows.  Satan loves to supercharge any of these areas, taking them
to the place where we no longer have control.

But he is able to work in other ways too.  Satan is a legalist, and there are a
number of things that give him a legal right to a foothold in our lives.  The easy way to remember them, even if
slightly contrived, (and the way I first heard them from the doctor who first
taught us about these areas), is that they all begin with the letter S.

  1.      .  Sin

All the areas described above, so sin in
any form, whether our own or not, can give Satan the right to access in our
lives.  And he doesn’t play
fair.  Take, for example, the
situation where an unmarried teenager discovers she is pregnant.  Her first reaction is shock and shame.
She doesn’t want her life inconvenienced by a baby.  Will she have an abortion?  Her sin (sex outside marriage) affects the unborn baby and
he or she may grow up to have problems with rejection. 

Ephesians 4:26 is an interesting
verse.  It says, “Be angry but do
not sin.  Do not let the sun go
down on your anger and thereby give the devil a foothold.” 

Anger
 

There are some useful principles here that
I first heard from John Wimber. 
It’s as though there are different gradations of demonic activity in a
person’s life.  From this verse, we
have the impression that a person can be angry without sinning.  Take, for example, Jesus anger against
the moneychangers in the temple. 
It was a righteous anger, and there are situations where this is an
appropriate reaction (eg with social justice issues).  However, the verse goes on to say that if a person allows (unrighteous)
anger to continue, it becomes a problem.  Let’s imagine a scale of 0 to 10 with the problem of anger.  

  • Something happens and a person becomes
    angry and doesn’t deal with it immediately.  It’s as though they are at a grade 1 or 2 on the scale.  When they realize what’s happened, they
    can easily deal with it through repentance.  
  • Now suppose anger is a recurring issue.  Maybe they are at 3 or 4 on our
    scale.  It  will require some spiritual warfare on
    the person’s part before it can be fully dealt with.  
  • If it is allowed to continue, he or she becomes an angry
    person where anger is the default emotion and no longer under control.  This may be at 6 to 8 on our scale. Most
    of us probably have probably come across people like this who have a very short
    fuse and anything tends to make them angry.  This person is probably unable to be set free without others
    praying and doing spiritual warfare with them.  
  • At 9 or 10 on the scale, the anger has led to major
    problems/crime.  Maybe they are in
    prison for some crime committed during an outburst of anger.  They may need major deliverance from an
    obvious demonic problem. 

Praise God, when Jesus died on the cross, he
won total victory over Satan.

Kingdom skills: causes of emotional problems #4 (griefs and sorrows)

Continuing the series of skills for Kingdom building: inner healing

Swimming pool
 

Diane came to see me with depression.  The cause was obvious.  About five years previously, her young
son, around 2 years of age, had drowned in their swimming pool.  He had only been out of sight for just
a few minutes while she was caught on a phone call. But the situation was much
worse than this.  Because the child
was physically handicapped (to this day the parents have no idea how he got to
the pool) the police accused her of murdering her son.  Imagine: she was not only facing the
grief of her son’s death but now an investigation too!

The charges against her were eventually dropped, but the
grief and horror of the situation remained.  Diane couldn’t drive anywhere near the cemetery where he was
buried without being overcome with anguish at what had gone on.  In her mind, there was a continuous video
that she replayed again and again of the moment when she discovered her son’s
body floating in the pool and the subsequent events.

Situations like this, or like the lady in the last post, can
cause intense grief.  There is no
sin involved, but the pain of such events can be incapacitating. 

Isaiah 53:? Says, “Surely He has borne our griefs and
carried our sorrows.”  In the same
way that Jesus dealt with our sin, he also takes our sorrows.  So our sorrows can be handed over to
Jesus.  He doesn’t remove the
memory, but he robs it of its power and sting. I often tell people to give the
incident to Jesus, to hand over to him the mental video of events so that they
no longer have the need to replay it, and then ask him to heal the memories.  Sometimes I ask the Holy Spirit to help
them see Jesus in the situation. 
What will he do?

How did this work with Diane?  As we prayed together, she had a picture.  She was standing by the pool having
just discovered her son.  Jesus
approached her carrying the baby in his arms.  In her mind, Jesus handed her son to her, and she was able
to hug and cuddle him and say goodbye before giving him back to Jesus.  Jesus took the baby, and then set him
down on the ground.  The baby
toddled away, giving her a wonderful smile, completely healed!  We have a creative God!

The effect in Diane’s life was immediate.  It was the beginning, and a major
milestone in her healing process.  

Kingdom skills: causes of emotional problems #3 (when one is sinned against)

I once had a word of knowledge about a person who had been
repeatedly raped by her father and an uncle as a young child.  As I looked at the people present at
the gathering, I was fairly sure I knew who it was; a young woman had been
glowering at me for most of the meeting. 

I couldn’t have been more wrong.  After the meeting, a sweet little lady in her 70’s
approached me.

“I was the person who was raped,” she said.  “From the age of 5 until I was 10 or
12, I was repeatedly sexually abused in the way you described.  It has affected every day of my life
since then, including my marriage. 
You are the first person I have ever told about it!”

Was she, as a young girl, in any way to blame for what went on?  No!  As an innocent child she was sinned against in a horrendous
fashion.

The main way to deal with this kind of problem will come out
in the next post, but there is a very important principle here, and that is the
need of forgiveness.  Despite the
magnitude of the sin against her, this lady needed to forgive her father and
uncle.  Jesus made it quite clear
that our own forgiveness depends on our willingness to forgive others.  (The fact that one forgives doesn’t
mean one trusts again quickly.  The
wife who is sinned against when her husband has an affair is not immediately
going to trust him again.)

It was a privilege to pray with her and see her set free as
she forgave her father and uncle.   Jesus cleansed her and freed her from the shame of what
had happened to her.

Kingdom skills: causes of emotional problems #2 (inherited sin)




 

Continuing the discussion on Kingdom skills: inner healing.

We had known Faith and her family for many years.  Faith had a wonderful husband and two
delightful kids.  Yet one day she
told us that she had problems with uncontrollable anger.  For no apparent reason, she would lose
her temper with the family, shouting and yelling at them.  She had repented many times, and
frequently asked the Lord to help her, but the situation recurred over and over
again.

Anger:short fuse

We knew something of the family situation, and that her
grandfather had had similar problems when he was alive. When he lost his
temper, he was renowned for throwing plates across the dinner table.  The family connection was obvious.

We see this kind of inheritance in other situations.  The child of an alcoholic is likely to
have problems with addictions. 
Those who’ve been abused may end up abusing their own kids.  “The sins of the fathers are visited on
the children.”  (This is a
statement of fact, rather than God punishing children for their fathers’ sins.)

What is the spiritual component in this? There are two different
words used for sin—transgression and iniquity.  Transgression is the kind of sin that we commit, as in the
last post, but the word “iniquity” has the added meaning of a twisting or a
perversion.  It’s as though sin in
one generation leads to a tendency to sin in the next generation.  We see it in Nehemiah 9:2 where the
children of Israel are told to repent for their own sin and to confess the iniquities
of their fathers.  The fact that
one has inherited a tendency to sin does not negate the need to accept responsibility  for one’s own part—Faith needed to deal
with her own sin of anger—but the inherited part needed to be dealt with too.

When Faith confessed the iniquities of her grandfather as
well as repenting for her sin, and when the power of the enemy in using this in
her life was broken, Faith was completely set free from her problem.

Kingdom skills: causes of emotional problems #1

Continuing the discussion on skills for the Kingdom:  inner healing

Depression

A girl came to me with depression.  When I asked why she was depressed, she was quite clear it
was due to her family situation. 
Although she was in her 30s, she still lived at home, basically because
her parents had somehow manipulated her into remaining there saying they needed
her.  Her career and possible
relationships had been put on hold so she could look after them.

No question there was a problem in the family dynamics.  However, the main problem was in her
attitude.  She was bitter, angry
and resentful towards her parents. 
Her own sin was the cause of her depression.

Sin is a primary thing to look for.  Sin that has not been dealt with can
cause all kinds of problems. 
People need to take personal responsibility for their sin, dealing with
it thoroughly with repentance (I John 1:9) and if necessary, putting things
right with other people. 

Healing: our choice?

Glasses of water

Continuing the series on Kingdom skills–inner healing

There are some interesting verses in Proverbs 15.  Verse 13 says, “A glad heart makes a
happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit.”  And verse 15 says, “For the despondent, every day brings
trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.”

The implication, especially from verse 15, is that people
have a choice as to the kind of heart that they have.  They can choose to see the glass half full or half
empty.  If their internal choice is
to have “an afflicted heart” as the older versions say, it doesn’t matter what
we pray about, nothing will change. 
But if they choose “a merry heart,” then our prayers for them make a
difference.

I remember praying over a person with epilepsy over a period
of several months.  Healing didn’t
happen for her because her epilepsy was something she could hide behind,
something that brought her attention. 
However, when she changed her attitude, and following prayer by someone
else, she was completely healed. 
She told us about the difference changing her attitude made.

Some people choose to be unhappy.  It gives them significance and draws attention to them.  That attitude has to change in someone if we want to see transformation in their lives.

Jesus asked the man at the pool of Bethesda, “Do you want to
be made whole?”

 

A physician’s perspective

Stethescope
In a former life back in the UK, I was a physician. Patients would come to me with various physical problems. I would take a history of their symptoms, examine them and make a provisional diagnosis that I would confirm if necessary with diagnostic tests, and then treat whatever condition I had diagnosed. The treatment depended on the diagnosis. For example, upper abdominal pain can be caused by anything from gall bladder problems to gastric conditions, or even a heart attack. The treatment for each is totally different. The correct diagnosis is essential if the patient is to recover.
It is similar with inner healing. For example, someone may feel depressed. For someone in the mental health field, depression is a diagnosis that is usually treated with anti-depressants. But viewed from a spiritual perspective, depression is a symptom that has some kind of spiritual root. It may be due to some event that happened in childhood, a sin that has not been dealt with etc.
Over the years as I counseled with many people, and as I searched the Scriptures, I discovered the causes of most problems fit into just a few general categories. Once aware of those categories, it is easy determine the cause or causes.
In the next few posts, I will examine these in more detail.