Prayer on the Move. Day twelve...
Several years ago, I read a statement a Chinese missionary to the United States had made as he was about to head back to his homeland. He was asked: “What impresses you the most about the United States?” And he answered: “What you've done here in America without God.”
Yes, we've done amazing things without God. But all those amazing things we've done without God are… well… without God. And “with God” is always better.
As Christians here in the U.S., we are so used to treating our mental/emotional issues with meds and therapy that we don't even consider the possibility of God's peace as a better treatment.
In the same way, we are so used to running to the medical community for treatment of our physical infirmities that we don't even consider the possibility of God's healing as a better treatment.
Please note: I am not against modern medicine that operates in cooperation with God. I am against modern medicine that operates without God.
Bad things happen when man tries to advance civilization without God. In the United States, as an example, I can indulge my human nature in just about any way possible, and some sort of treatment/medication is available to help me deal with the consequences. Because I can avoid facing the immediate consequences of destructive behavior, I have no natural reaction to my choices. It's as if I can touch a burning stove without experiencing the pain; maybe I can avoid the pain, but eventually my hand will become so disfigured I won't be able to use it.
He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, [there is] no beauty that we should desire Him. 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. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He [was] wounded for our transgressions, [He was] bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace [was] upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:2a–5 NKJV)
The provision for healing was set in place for us on the Cross. As far as Jesus is concerned, our default condition no longer has to be sickness. Our default condition can be health. We do not have to be sick people trying to find health. We can be healthy people defending ourselves against sickness and disease. The choice is ours, and there's a big difference in the two perspectives.
Last Friday we talked about the provision for our forgiveness that was made on the Cross. When we ask Jesus to forgive us, He forgives us for our past, present, and future sins. But He had already paid for them on the Cross.
The provision for forgiveness was set in place for us on the Cross. We can no longer say, "I am just a sinner saved by grace." No... we "were" sinners saved by grace. But our default condition in no longer sin. Our default condition is being forgiven. We are not sinners seeking forgiveness. We are forgiven people resisting sin.
For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:14 ESV)
When we accept Jesus as our Savior we appropriate that forgiveness into our lives. But, from time to time, we can still “feel” unforgiven, through something we do or something we think (real or imagined). Does this make us “unforgiven?” Some people may think so, but this is not what the Bible teaches.
And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins. (Hebrews 8:12 NLT)
He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west. (Psalm 103:12 NLT)
Then he says, “I will never again remember their sins and lawless deeds.” (Hebrews 10:17 NLT)
But while God may not remember our sins, we often do. And instead of putting them “beneath that cleansing flood,” as the old hymn goes, we sometimes obsess over them. Can you relate to that nagging guilt and shame? Well, what does it take to get free from them again? We just have to stick them under God's provision for forgiveness (see 1 John 1:9), which is continually flowing.
So, we can in truth be forgiven, but in practice live as if we are not. We can in truth be free from the weight of sin, but in practice carry it around just as if it were ours. And we can continually be focused on our weakness, continually praying for forgiveness… and continually be living under a pile of guilt and shame sometimes heavier than it was before Jesus.
In the same way, we can in truth be healed, but in practice live as if we are not. We can in truth be free from sickness and disease, but in practice live with it just as if Jesus never dealt with it on the Cross.
I'm not suggesting the symptoms are not “felt.” I'm not suggesting the doctor's reports aren't “real.” I'm not suggesting that people don't die from disease.
I am suggesting that how you see yourself makes a difference. Do you see yourself as a sick person reaching out desperately for healing? Or do you see yourself as healed by Jesus on the Cross, but under attack from something that is not of God? It makes a difference.
Both Sherrel and I have had a significant improvement in resisting the stuff coming against our health when we shifted our prayer focus, from asking God to heal us, to asking God how we should deal with the situation.
It's as if we say, “Okay Lord, You healed us on the Cross, but we've got this issue coming against us. What do you want us to do about it?”
Tomorrow, we'll look at some examples.
Have a good day,