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There are two different types of sicknesses. One is where we don't take care of ourselves properly and as a result we get sick. And there is when something outside of our control happens to us to make us sick. When the latter happens, we look to the Lord for supernatural healing, and most of the time He will heal us. But when we are sick because we are not taking proper care of ourselves, well, that is a different story.
God does not always heal us when we make ourselves sick because we don't take proper care of ourselves. For instance, many of us are overweight and that weight carries all sorts of health risks. But when we get sick, we expect God to heal us without making us deal with our weight. So we don't change our lifestyle and we stay unhealthily. Think about it. We do things to our bodies, day in and day out, that our doctors warn us are dangerous to our health. Then we eventually develop the health problems that our doctors warned us about. Then we begin to cry out to God, "Oh God, I am sick. Please heal me!" But it seems like our prayers go unanswered, as if God did not care that we were sick.
Depending on our theological background, most of us develop one of two explanations for this. The first is "It must be God's will for me to be sick." We decide He is either trying to teach us something though suffering or He is punishing us or whatever. And the second theory is "I am under spiritual attack and the devil is making me sick." And we blame the devil for what we've done to ourselves.
Please don't misunderstand. I am not saying that the devil doesn't make us sick... because he does that as often as he can get away with it. He has demons called Spirits Of Infirmity, and their entire job is to make a person sick. In fact, many of the times when Jesus healed someone, the way He healed them was to cast out a Spirit Of Infirmity. And when the demon left, then the sickness or medical problem left as well. I am an avid believer in taking authority over any Spirits Of Infirmity and casting them out. Jesus has given that authority and there is no reason we should not use it to get rid of sickness.
But you know what? Casting out Spirits Of Infirmity only works when there is a demon causing the sickness/problem. If the sickness is caused by something else, then try to cast out a demon won't help at all.
The Western Culture has developed a lot of unhealthy habits, and those habits reflect on our health. For instance, when someone person drinks excessively, they will probably develop liver problems. If someone smokes, they will probably develop lung problems or maybe even lung cancer. If people overeat and eat a lot of fatty foods, they tend to have a lot of circulatory and heart problems. In short, if we take prolonged wrong care of ourselves, we will usually develop a health problem.
And at that point we will run to God and ask Him to heal us. And He might say "No." He might say something along the lines of, "Ok, show Me that you mean business and then we can talk healing. Start taking better care of yourself so you don't redevelop the same problem after I heal you. Make the changes in your lifestyle, then we can talk about Me giving you a physical healing." And sometimes just making those changes in our lifestyle eliminates the problem without the need of supernatural healing.
About now you are probably wondering why I am talking about this, since this is a prayer school, not a healing school. The reason I am talking about it is because there is frequently a tie between our physical health and our spiritual health. The Apostle John addressed this in 1 John 1:2, where he said, "Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers."
Jesus wants us to experience abundant life, both physically and spiritually. That is why He said "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." And Jesus demonstrated that by teaching us how to have a right relationship with God and also by going around and healing the sick. And yet He did not heal all the sick. For instance, there were a whole bunch of sick people hanging around the pool of Bethesda, waiting for the angel to stir the water so the first one in the pool could be healed. John 5:3 says there was "a great multitude of sick people, blind, lame, paralyzed, waiting for the moving of the water." There were all sorts of people there, but Jesus only healed one person at that pool. Why do you think that was?
Jesus gives us the answer to that question in John 5:19. "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner." Jesus only did what the Father was doing. Obviously it was not God The Father's will to heal everyone at that moment, because Jesus only healed one man. So we know that there are times when it is not God's will to heal us -- at least not at that particular instant in time.
Yet on the other hand, 1 John 1:12 makes it sound like God wants us to be in health. It almost seems like God is contradicting Himself, but He is not. Let me explain what is going on here, using my own life as an example. (I already shared some of this in lessons 1 and 2, so please be patient with me, as part of this is repetition.)
I got so busy with ministry in 2004 that I let my body get really run down. I was not eating or exercising properly and I was not getting enough sleep. As a result, I got very sick frequently, especially after returning home from an international ministry trip. And I was exhausted and low energy all the time. And after a while, my physical condition began to effect My emotional condition and My spiritual one. Little problems started seeming like overwhelming major problems and my ability to cope reduced. Also, my physical weakness and exhaustion made it harder to press into God, to pursue Him. Therefore, my spiritual walk and intimacy with God began to suffer as a result of my physical condition. You see, that relationship in 1 John 1:12 is a true relationship. When our body/health is not doing well, then after a while our spirits begin to not do as well either.
In my case, I developed dangerously high cholesterol, and my blood pressure had gone up a lot. I saw my doctor last December, and he really scared me because he made it sound like I was at very high risk for a heart attack. I thought to myself, "how can that happen to me?" I mean, I spent three months that year on the mission field, and saw all sorts of people healed when I prayed for them. How could I be in a dangerous health situation? Wasn't God taking care of me?
So I began to cry out to God and ask Him to heal me. I expected Him to just release some supernatural anointing and I would be all better. But God had other ideas. First, God told me to take the rest of December off to just rest and give a priority to my own family. I was so exhausted that I did not even realize I was exhausted until I'd rested about three weeks. Then I began to see what it felt like to not be totally exhausted all of the time. And as I became rested, it got much easier to hear Him speak to me again, and I began to have more of those deep intimacy experiences with God again. Then in early January, He told me that I need to get in shape. I understood that to mean that I needed to loose weight, change to healthy and nutritious eating habits, and also to start working out to build strength and endurance in my body. After a week of prayerful research on the internet, I came up with an eating plan (a germinate change of eating habit) tailored to my physical needs. So I started that diet and I joined a gym and started working out.
Within a few weeks, I was feeling much healthier and had more energy, and was loosing weight. I noticed that as a result, I felt happy and upbeat a lot more often. And I also began to feel even closer to God in this. You might say that My spirit started to prosper as my body started to prosper. My prayer times got longer and more powerful because I wasn't worn out and sick all the time -- now I had energy to pray. Supernatural revelation and visions and being in God's presence also started to increase. But the most marked thing I noticed was how I was constantly filled with His joy. It was like I had this inner reservoir that overflowed my banks and rushed out from me. And when someone cut me off on the freeway, making me slam on my breaks and nearly avoid an accident -- well, I did not get mad any more. It was much easier to have grace for other people and to bless them. And it because easier to find ways to bless God in my daily walk with Him.
God wanted me to make adjustments to life lifestyle before He began to fix my problem. He wanted me to live in health, not just to experience a healing. And in order to do that, God needed me to stop doing things to myself that would make me sick. (E.g., He wanted me to change poor eating and exercise habits.)
The reason that I have shared my story is because there are many believers who are unknowingly sabotaging their own health, and that effects their spiritual well-being. God wants us to prosper in both body and spirit. That is His will for us. But He requires us to be active in that process. We need to take proper care of ourselves both physically and spiritually. And as we do, then God will meet us and will bring us into new depths of relationship with Him.
It is time for you to prosper in Him. God will do His part if you will do your part. Why not stop and ask God what (if any) changes He wants you to make in your eating, in your exercise or in your sleeping patterns. The begin to put those changes in effect in your own life, and see if your walk with God doesn't improve as a result.