Time to Grow Up
A wise man once said “faithful are the wounds of a friend.” I need to tell you something that may hurt a little because I care about you as a friend.
I think it’s wise to seek prayer from friends for our problems, whether they’re health-related, relational, or whether they fall into some other category. Prayer is a powerful thing. But there are problems that cannot be resolved by the prayers of our friends alone.
I have many friends who suffer from chronic aches, pains, and illnesses and I have other friends whose relationships have been blown to pieces. When everything is falling apart, it’s tempting to cry out to friends to pray for our problems to be fixed once and for all.
Many of us have not yet learned how to stand against the enemy in our battle against recurring sickness and most of us are responsible for our own relationship problems. Let’s take a look at sickness first.
The battle against recurring sickness is something like how we might deal with a criminal who repeatedly breaks into our home. Jesus used this illustration when teaching about how and why demons return to a person after being cast out of them in Luke chapter eleven. (See Luke 11:21-26)
When a burglar breaks into our home, we have a couple of ways in which we can respond. One option is to stand by helplessly and let them take our property and beat us senseless while waiting for the police to show up. An untrained and ill-equipped believer who relies on friends or the anointed “man of God” to pray for them is like a defenseless homeowner at the mercy of a burglar.
Burglars are opportunistic. They size up their victims and evaluate their defenses, looking for signs of vulnerability. They look for alarm systems, unlocked doors and windows, the absence of a dog, and the likelihood that the homeowner will be armed. They look for homeowners that are the least likely to fight back. Demons do the same thing. They look for points of entry into our lives, through things such as anger, unforgiveness, pride, and emotional wounds.
The first step in defending yourself is allowing the Holy Spirit to remove the things that allow the enemy to have access and influence over you. The second part is to learn how to go on the offensive against intruders when they come around. People who refuse to be trained in spiritual warfare or who never learn how to exercise their authority over the enemy are like homeowners who refuse to secure their homes or fight back against an intruder. They make themselves easy targets for evil spirits. Once word gets out in the demonic community that they’re an easy target, they can expect to be harassed by even more evil spirits. That’s the message Jesus illustrated in His teaching in Luke chapter eleven.
When it comes to healing, many of us are content to let someone else deal with the bad guys. It’s easier to let someone else pray for us than it is to learn how to withstand the attacks of the enemy ourselves. Jesus gave every believer the power and authority they need to defeat the enemy, without going to someone else for help. Recurring problems with sickness and disease are the result of us refusing to take our responsibilities seriously.
You can plead with your friends to pray for your healing all you want, but if you never learn to exercise the authority God has given you over sickness, you’re never going to remain healed. The spirits that bring sickness will continue to assault you until you learn to take authority over them.
I have a friend who once asked the Holy Spirit “How do you see cancer?”
The Holy Spirit replied, “I can’t see cancer because it’s under my feet. I want it to be under your feet.”
The enemy will continue to beat us up until we learn to put him under our feet once and for all. I’m preaching to myself here as my wife and I don’t always do this, but we’re learning.
My wife was recently healed of back pain when she finally understood that the things she thought about herself, about her symptoms, and about God’s desire to heal her were allowing the enemy to continue to attack her and keep her in pain.
The first problem was that she couldn’t bring herself to believe she was healed as long as she still felt pain. This is a murky problem because sometimes people feel pain in response to a physical problem, while other times the sensation of pain is due only to the presence of a spirit. To further complicate things, she had an MRI that showed one herniated and two bulging discs. You might think that as long as she has herniated discs, she must resign herself to living with the pain, but we know of people who have MRIs showing herniated discs who had no symptoms of the injury. My wife began to ask, “If some people have herniated discs and don’t have pain, why can’t I be one of them?”
She also wasn’t completely sure at that point that God wanted to heal her. One day she decided to believe that God really did want to heal her and she entertained the idea that perhaps she was already healed. She accepted the fact that it was her beliefs and not God’s reluctance to heal her that was the problem. So she chose to believe that God wanted her healed. She also chose to see the pain she was experiencing as a lie from the enemy. Once she got her thinking straightened out, it removed the power the enemy had over her and the pain left.
One of the major lessons we’ve learned is that the enemy only has the power over us that we allow him to have. Being healed and keeping the symptoms from returning is a battle. Most of the warfare is done on the six-inch battlefield between our ears.
Now let’s take a look at problems with relationships.
Many of us cry out to our friends or to God to have our relationship problems fixed, rather than take an honest look at ourselves and admit that we’re the ones responsible for our problems. God is not going to take away the consequences of our bad decisions. As we sow, we shall also reap, and many of us are reaping the consequences of manipulation, co-dependency, selfishness, immaturity, and a failure to walk in our God-given identity.
Relationship problems are cyclical. The habits we’ve developed over our lifetime create the same dynamics (for good or bad) in all our relationships. When the same problems arise repeatedly, instead of blaming others or crying out to God to fix the other person, we need to look at why we are bearing bad fruit. The fruit of our relationships is determined by the condition of our hearts. It is only by changing the way in which we relate to others that the cycle of relationship problems will end. It’s a sign of spiritual immaturity to blame others for our problems or to expect someone else to fix them. We must be the ones to make the change.
Most of us have a lot of growing up to do. It’s time to take the training wheels off and learn how to live as mature children of God.
Perfect timing! I needed this for me and I also know several others who could use some of this wisdom too. This is exactly what’s been coming up in conversations with other people and Holy Spirit. <3
What an excellent article! Thank you for sharing your hard won wisdom and knowledge with us all. You are a blessing to the body of Christ. I love the practical way you teach us to apply the Word of God to our lives. I have been teaching this to my son as well!
I think this is a clear and resounding blow of the trumpet to the body to wake up, take your place and prepare. Thank for articulating what is in the spirit of many in the body.
Good word, and one I have been thinking about. On one hand, one anointed prayer from us is more powerful/impactful than 1,000 sympathy prayers from bystanders. On the other hand, I have seen a anointed pastors really break things off of saints lives that would just not come off after years of self prayer. Really wounded people are not able to heal themselves — which is why they are still wounded. But on the other hand, there are people who would rather visit 4 different churches every weekend and see if a healing “takes”, than go through the self changes/surrender needed to become themselves the healer they have been looking for.
This is interesting to me as somebody who’s new to your work (I just read your book, which I enjoyed). It looks like there’s a balancing act between seeking help & being self-reliant so that you can handle some things yourself &/or make the help you get be more effective. I’m not sure that there’s a hard-and-fast answer, possibly just a happy medium of some kind, depending on the situation.
Thanks for writing this thought-provoking article (which I’ll mull over for a while) and also for the work you do.
Thank you, I can really put these weapons to work!
I am convicted!
Somehow I missed seeing clearly that this is about burglary prevention, in part. Self defense, in a way. I would never tolerate obvious attacks to my home or person in the world, yet I have tolerated chronic, long term illness with only gradual progress over time.
I love the notion of sickness under my feet; something available to all of us believers. Strange, that we come to tolerate some intruders, and that I have done so. I am almost stunned with the very best kind of surprise.
I know I’ve been healed, yet I’ve allowed confusion because of pain and difficulty, ups and downs. Pain can be very absorbing, and confusing, as a by-product – especially when pain is believed in as sickness, and not recognized as the result of one or more unclean spirits.
The pain is a lie. I’ve had a powerful experience of realizing this, previously, with a sudden pain…but this has been happening so long, I’ve fallen for lies – without seeing that this is what has been happening.
I wonder – many breakthroughs have been related to breathing patterns. Learning to retain more CO2 and not have swollen smooth muscles, clogged nose, asthma. Lower abdominal breathing that stops leg cramps when nothing else helped – and which prevents them if I will do it enough. (I’ve seen others aided with occasional cramping with this, too; never seen it in any literature.)
I wonder – if I breathe more as I do when I am being filled or full of the Spirit – what will happen? Time to explore and find out! Ruach…. Certainly won’t hurt, and if it turns out that this is what I’ve needed all along, I’m going to wish I had been a student who learns and acts a lot faster…and I’ll still be mighty grateful, regardless.
Besides, the more full of the Spirit I am, the better I do, in every good way. Good fruit. When I do this long enough so it becomes habitual for a while, I can’t have or remember problems I’ve had, otherwise; and I often wonder why I do not get around to doing this more.
Anyway…thanks for this article; just what I needed.
I never saw it this way. Which is fascinating in itself, and probably a topic for other articles – how we miss things in ourselves. Maybe those articles are already written; I will have to go take a good look.
Regardless — thank you very much for this!