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Have you ever prayed for someone and God seemed to heal them? Suddenly they could do things they could not do before. Perhaps chronic pain left them or cancerous growths disappeared. They went away rejoicing in their healing. But later on, they reported that their symptoms came back again. Perhaps God healed someone's back and for the first time in recent history they could bend down and touch their toes or they could hold their baby. But maybe two or three days later the back pain returned.
It is frustrating when the symptoms return, isn't it? It may have happened to you personally, or perhaps to someone you prayed for.
There are many factors involved in "keeping one's healing." Some are practical and some are spiritual. This teaching series will overview some of these factors. It will give you practical suggestions to help people who you pray for stay well after God has healed them.
There are three areas that can allow a sickness to recur after it has been healed:
There is already a fair amount of teaching available on the last of these three, faith and spiritual warfare. We have been taught to stand in faith and resist the enemy when the symptoms try to return. We have been taught to rebuke spirits of infirmity and to command the sickness to leave if it tries to come back.
But I have not seen very much Christian teaching on the first two areas. Therefore, this teaching series will focus on the first two. We will touch briefly on the third. But we will concentrate on identifying and eliminating conditions that caused the sickness in the first place.
Please do not misunderstand me. People can be sick without having something in their life or environment that is causing it. People can walk in total forgiveness and holiness and still need a physical healing. People may have healthy life styles and nutritious eating habits and still get medical conditions that need a touch from the Lord. We must never assume that a sick person is ill because they are in sin or because they have an unhealthy life style. We must never judge or condemn them for being ill; we must never put them down in any manner (by our words or even in our thoughts about them). We must never rebuke them for not having "enough faith" to be healed. These are abusive practices and in many cases, they are unmerited as well.
On the other hand, if a person has recurring sin in their life, they need to eliminate it. Otherwise, the enemy can latch onto it and claim that sin as "legal grounds" to bring back sickness and infirmity. If a person has unforgiveness, bitterness, hatred or resentment in their heart and they do not deal with it, God has stated that He will turn them over to the tormentors (Matt 18:34-35). Tormentors do a lot of nasty things, like attacking your finances, attacking your emotions, destroying important relationships, causing loss of material items, causing you to be treated unfairly and misunderstood. But one of their favorite ways to torment is to destroy your health and make you chronically or seriously ill. This is not to say that all serious illness comes from the tormentors (e.g, demons). It can come from other sources as well.
Unhealthy eating habits can cause many problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, etc. And similar unhealthy habits include smoking which can cause many types of lung problems and drinking alcohol which can damage your liver and other things. If God heals you from a medical condition that was caused by unhealthy habits, you need to change those habits or you will eventually develop the same condition again. In addition to changing unhealthy habits, we need to apply our common sense in regard to our healing. Otherwise, we can get healed and then we can run out and almost immediately do "something stupid" to harm ourselves again in a similar manner to the original condition. Let me share a real life example to illustrate my point.
One time I prayed for a man with a ruptured disk in his spine. Let's call him Sam (this is not his real name). It had been very painful for two years, and Sam could not do the simplest of things, like take out the trash or bend down to pet the dog. God healed Sam's back when I prayed for him at a Thursday night home group meeting. He was so excited to be pain free that he purchased a membership at the local gym and spent three hours on Saturday morning lifting weights and working out. This was not a good idea because Sam had been totally inactive for two years, so his body was not used to that type of strenuous exercise. As a result, Sam ended up ripping a muscle in his back. The ripped muscle was extremely painful and disabling, and once again Sam had severe back pain and could hardly move. This pain was caused by a totally different condition -- it was a ripped muscle not a ruptured disk. Sam came to the home group meeting the following Thursday. He expected to get healed instantly so that he could go to the gym and work out again the following weekend. This time God did not chose to heal his back supernaturally. Sam had to go through the standard medical treatment for a ripped back muscle. It took a couple of months until he was pain free. During those two painful months, we were able to convince Sam to go slow and moderately in the area of working out, to build up his body over a period of time, etc.
We have to use common sense when God heals us. Our bodies may be in less than perfect condition because we have been inactive or we have favored certain parts of it and our muscle tone has deteriorated. We should begin to build ourselves up and tone our muscles and get back into shape in a gradual and sensible manner.
As long as we are on the subject of exercise, let me say a little more about it. Sensible exercise is very important towards staying healthy and keeping our healing. We don't want to join a gym and work out strenuously for three hours the instant we are healed (as Sam did). We need to begin exercising moderately and work our way up to more aggressive levels. But we do want to exercise. It has many benefits. It raises our metabolism. Exercise helps keep muscle to fat ratio (or percentage of body fat) down. It tones our muscles. Cardiovascular exercise strengthens our hearts and lungs, as well as increasing our strength and endurance and energy level. Moderate exercise can help to lower blood pressure.
Two of the best exercises to start to get back into shape with are walking and swimming. They build your muscle tone and increase endurance and there is not much likelihood of hurting yourself (other than sore muscles if you over-do it). Experts recommend that you start gradually and work up steadily to higher levels by increasing it each day.
Let's take walking as an example. Perhaps the first two or three days you walk for 1/2 mile. Then you increase it to 3/4 mile. Then after a few days at 3/4 mile, you increase it to a mile. After you have hit a mile, you might want to work on walking it faster. If it took you 1/2 hour to walk your mile, shoot for 25 minutes, then for 20 and then for 15. As you get the pace up, you can begin to increase the distance again, which may slow down your pace a bit. Alternate between increasing distance and increasing pace until you average a brisk walk of about 15-20 minutes per mile and you can shoot to walk for 3 to 4 miles a day in an hour.
You are free to choose other exercises, it doesn't have to be walking. I just used walking as an example of how to start modestly and then gradually and sensibly build up your exercise level. Aerobic dance workouts uses a similar principle. You start by just trying do the leg movements until you begin to learn the patterns and build up endurance. As the workout begins to feel easier, you add in the arms. At first that will make it much harder and you may use the arms some of the time but not all of the time. As you continue, the arms become easier and you begin to add in the wrist or ankle weights to increase your resistance work out. You start simple and build up gradually over time to the ideal workout goal.
Once God has healed you, you should try to take good care of your body. And for most people, sensible exercise is an important part of taking good care of your body.
This teaching series will explore how to take good care of your body once God heals you. In some cases, you won't even need a supernatural healing if you take proper care of your body -- sometimes just changing unhealthy eating patterns will eliminate the problem. We will also take a brief look at spiritual and emotional conditions that can make it difficult to keep your healing. The goals of this teaching series is to share practical ideas of how to stay healthy after a supernatural healing occurs. However, the principles here are also good principles to help those who are not in need of a supernatural healing to stay well.