Where do our problems come from?

Cricket

Like it or not, we were born into a world at war. As we might say in England, "Satan does not play cricket by the rule book!" In other words, he doesn't play fair.  He is an opportunist, taking every opportunity he can to gain a foothold in our lives.

A paraphrase of John 10:10 says, "The thief has come to steal and kill and destroy.  I (Jesus) have come that you might have life more abundantly."  Satan loves to steal from us.  He seeks to steal our joy, giving us depression. He tries to steal our peace, giving us fear and anxiety, and so on.  

Satan needs a legal right in order to gain a foothold in our lives.  We sometimes unwittingly give him that right, or maybe we were defenceless at the time.  For example, a child who is the victim of abuse may have horrendous problems, but they were not to blame for what happened to them.

Thankfully, Jesus has made provision for all these things to be dealt with through his victory over death on the cross.

Jesus heals the inner person

Jesus defined his ministry in Luke 4:16-18:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord's favor has come.

Jesus came to help those who were poor and oppressed.  Everywhere he went he healed people (Matthew 8).  He didn't just heal people physically, but spiritually too.  Matthew 8:16-17 describes how Jesus healed those who were demon possessed and healed the sick to fulfill the saying of the prophet Isaiah, "He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases."  However, if you look at Isaiah 53:4, the passage that Matthew translates as sicknesses and diseases, it says, Yet is was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down.

Many people's problems are not physical but emotional, spiritual or psychological.  Can Jesus heal these problems too?  Of course.  "Inner healing" is the name usually given to this. (Over the years, some have called it healing of the memories.)  

Part of my study into this area looked at how we view man.  Usually the terms, spirit, soul and body are used.  People often quote Scriptures such as 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless…) to verify this, and indeed this concept is a very helpful tool.  But most commonly, the Bible just refers to the inner man and outer man. Other words are usually used for the inner man, such as heart or spirit (eg Daniel 7:15, 1 Corinthians 6:20).  

The outer man is obvious.  The inner man consists of the soul (mind, emotions, will etc) and spirit.  The Bible itself says that it is difficult to distinguish between the soul and spirit–in fact it takes the word of God to do so (Hebrews 4:12).  

Jesus heals the inner man–hence, for want of better terminology I will use the term "inner healing" to describe the process that happens when Jesus heals the inner person.

A change of topic: Can Jesus deal with the past?

A few months ago, I asked people which topic they would prefer, "inner healing" or church planting.  The majority chose church planting, but a significant number asked me to cover healing.  So I'm taking a break from topics specifically related to church, and will be looking at inner healing for the next few posts.

Part of the reason for this is that most people, when they were in legacy church, left praying about the problems people faced in life to the pastor or other full-time professional minister. But there are some key skills that are useful for church planters.  (Note: if you are inexperienced in praying with people, find someone who has prayed for others with the kind of problem you are dealing with to work with you.)

Glare

I'll never forget the glare that Jenny gave me.

"Incest was the name of the game!" she said.

Tony and I had been married for only a year or two, and Jenny was staying with us because she was depressed. Then we discovered that every day she was swallowing bottles of cough medicine, which in those days contained opiates.  We asked her why, and that was the answer she gave us.

The story came out.  From the age of about 6 through 10, Jenny had been repeatedly raped by an uncle. And we had no answers for her.  We knew that in theory, Jesus could set her free and heal her, but we just didn't have the tools.  This led us on a search to find out how we could help Jenny, and others like her.

At that stage we were living in a very socially depressed area of London.  It has since become gentrified, but in those days every kind of problem ended up there.  Jenny was fairly typical of the sort of thing we encountered on a daily basis.

Our first clues came when we heard a friend of ours, a family doctor like ourselves, talk about something he called "inner healing."  And sure enough, it worked.  We found many people helped by the principles we began to understand.  A few years into this, a book came out, very scathing about the subject, claiming it was a new age practice.  I was troubled, not wanting to be a practitioner of something dubious.  So for the next two years I studied the subject, reading the Bible right through and making extensive notes. 

The next few posts will talk about what I discovered.