Thinking Out Loud

April 20, 2009

Does God Inner-Heal Today?

Filed under: Christianity, Faith, theology — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:53 pm

question-markDepending on where you stand on the cessationist or dispensational continuum, you may or may not believe that supernatural healing is still available.   Personally, I believe that God is predisposed to healing, but may withhold it if there are greater lessons he has for us.    I don’t believe that stops us from asking.   In fact, I believe God is constantly saying, “Ask me.”

When it comes to inner healing, we often place it into a separate category.     There are people reading this who are asking God for a physical healing that perhaps has been at the top of their prayer list for some time.   But there may also be some people reading this who are asking God for victory over some sinful habit or lifestyle and in a way very similar to those seeking physical healing are wondering why this prayer request remains unanswered.   To them the question is, “I keep praying and asking God to take away these sinful desires, but day after day they are still there.”

I am not completely lacking in understanding on this — my certificate of sainthood is not yet in the mail — but as I navigate through the blogosphere each week, I try to offer encouragement where I can.   (There are about 80 blogs blogrolled here; I have another 60 or so bookmarked; and probably visit another 60 in the course of linking or doing keyword searches on the main WordPress site.)

Part of that encouragement is to follow up and see where people are at a week or two later;  I don’t think you should just drop your little kernels of truth and then take off.

So I was a little disappointed a few minutes ago to discover that one blogger who seemed to be wrestling with the question of inner healing had taken his blog offline.

Trying to keep things concise, this is what I had written to him:

Some sins can be habitual or even addictive behaviors, but for the most part I think our sin is the result of our choice.

As long as we are in the world, we will have temptation.  Paul wrestled with the idea of wanting to do right and finding himself back doing wrong until finally he cries out, “Who will save me from this body of death?”  (see Romans 7: 15-25)

I like your concept of exploring this with a parallel look at the subject of healing.   We often speak of this as “inner healing,” or “healing of the mind.”  Of course, we can’t expect God to rid of us all evil desires in the way he might rid of us disease, or the effects of injury.

Instead, the Bible gives us another concept to consider: Holiness.   While the righteousness of Christ is “imputed” to us at salvation; and while we are encouraged to pray “lead us not into temptation;” holiness is going to require a greater effort on our part.

So if, as I started, sin is a result of choice; holiness is going involve making different choices.  For God’s part, then what needs to happen is a work of “cleansing.”

Then, the questions would be:
(1) Is miraculous, supernatural cleansing still available?   and,
(2) Why do some Christians experience a dramatic before-versus-after cleansing, entering into more holy living; while others continue to grapple with sin?

I think the answer to (1) is yes; God can intervene and take away desires, or send circumstances so that those desires diminish.   The answer to (2) is more complex, though some elderly, “holy” people will admit they still struggle with wrong thoughts and desires.

If I had it to write over again, I would have added this: Part of what transacted on the cross was that we were freed from sin having power over us.   I no longer have to serve sin.    Christ has freed us from the power of sin.   Yet still, I may choose to sin.

And one thing I’m learning is that the more I know of Christ and of Biblical teaching, the more that choice to sin is an informed choice. In other words, I am increasingly more responsible for my choices than a blogger in his teens or twenties who may be wrestling with parallel issues.

So how would you answer the two above questions?    Which is the bigger request, to ask God to heal someone’s thought life, desires or impulses; or ask God to heal someone of disease?

5 Comments »

  1. I honestly don’t think you can separate the two requests into which is the biggest request. God said, “I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for me?” The obvious answer is ‘No!”

    And everything is relative. Mental/emotional anguish can perhaps be just as painful as a physical ailment.

    I think the mere fact that we recognize our sin and desperately want to be free from it, says a lot in the eyes of God.

    I’m down in California right now, so I don’t have all my resources with me, but I do remember reading recently somewhere, that God doesn’t always give us immediate victory over sin, perhaps because agonizing over the sin itself keeps us humbly dependent on Him. What do you think?

    Comment by kaybee — April 20, 2009 @ 9:34 pm

  2. I think there’s a difference because often we are helpless when a physical malady strikes, unless of course it was a result of lifestyle choices (i.e. diet, exercise, etc.)

    You’re right when you say that struggles with temptation and sin can be mental health issues. In that case, I would agree with you that there is no difference.

    But where those struggles are the result of choices, then I think we’re on a slightly different track, and that’s why I brought the issue of holiness into the discussion; because as the song “Refiner’s Fire” reminds us, we have to “choose to be holy.”

    But I say that realizing that the struggle with sins that are addictive, or the ongoing process of bringing one’s though life “into captivity” ain’t easy.

    Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — April 20, 2009 @ 9:48 pm

  3. I think God wants to heal every part of us, inside and out.

    Comment by Inner Healing — April 21, 2009 @ 7:01 am

  4. Thinking more about this overnight, I realized that we’re at a disadvantage not being able to link back to the original article, because it’s now offline.

    But basically, the person I wrote back to was the one who equated the sin struggle with someone seeking a physical healing, and then I introduced the idea of inner healing in my comment; and also used it as the title for this post. I still think there is a difference, as I stated in comment #2 here.

    Re. comment #3, if you don’t click the link, here’s a statement you’re missing:

    “In over 20 years of experience in the Healing ministry, we have found that inner healing is an integral part of bringing healing and wholeness into the lives of individuals that we minister to… Often the problems that people suffer with or seek healing from are just the fruit of a much deeper issue.”

    Comment by paulthinkingoutloud — April 21, 2009 @ 9:06 am

  5. great post, paul. i’ve nothing of substance to add to the discussion, but i especially love one line: “And one thing I’m learning is that the more I know of Christ and of Biblical teaching, the more that choice to sin is an informed choice.”

    too, kudos on your practice of revisiting posts you commented on. that seems so…jesus-ish.

    Comment by randy morgan — April 21, 2009 @ 6:06 pm


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