Give a boy a hammer and the whole world looks like a nail. And Christians can fall into the same trap. One group of techniques shows benefit and it’s easy to think every problem will respond the same. But that doesn’t always turn out to be true. Healing or deliverance? Both are needed.
Bible study and spiritual disciplines are indispensable, life-changing. Without that, believers would remain spiritually immature. But is that the complete answer to everything?
Prayer, entering God’s presence, and inviting God to intervene – can anything be more important? And yet there are times that doesn’t seem to “work.”
Dealing with your story and the wounds you have experienced, Biblical counseling or therapy, has dramatically changed many people’s lives. Yet some people still remain stuck.
Deliverance and spiritual warfare rescue souls from the grip of the enemy. He came to set the captives free! (See Isaiah 61:1) Then why doesn’t that always lead to long-term freedom?
As life-and-death critical as any one of these elements are to one’s Christian life, none of them is “enough” in itself. As with physical food, your body absolutely must have protein. Without it your body cannot function. But if that’s all you eat your brain, kidneys, and more would gravely suffer; you need healthy fats and complex carbohydrates also, not to mention vitamins and minerals.
In your Christian life you need all that Jesus came to bring.
Diagnosing the Problem
A physician can only recommend a cure when the illness is accurately diagnosed. What is our problem? What’s going on here?
There are many Biblical images of our problem.
- Our souls are sin-sick, and we need the Great Physician’s healing. (Isaiah 1:6, Mark 2:17)
- We are alienated from God, and need reconciliation. (Isaiah 59:2, 2 Corinthians 5:18-20)
- Our hearts are wicked, and we need a heart transplant (new heart). (Jeremiah 17:9, Hebrews 8:10)
- We have been enslaved by sin and Satan, and need deliverance. (John 8:34-36, Acts 10:38)
There are more we could list. And when it comes to the solution Jesus brings, some have described Jesus in three primary dimensions: our Suffering Servant, our Divine Example, and our Victorious King. He is all of those, and more!
Various ministries have focused on certain aspects of what we need. Wonderful Bible teachers have expounded on God’s Word. Healing prayer ministries and altar services in church have blessed many. Christian counselors and therapists have helped many experience dramatic growth. Deliverance ministries have helped many find real freedom. And sadly too often those promoting one modality disparage those specializing in another.
Individual Christians have done the same. When facing troubles, some “spend time in the Word.” Some bathe in worship music. Some tighten their spiritual discipline belt. Some seek therapy and counsel. And some exercise spiritual warfare.
And all of these things are good – sometimes. But are you experiencing all God has for you, all that you really need?
If what you have is a nail, you need a hammer! But if what you have is a screw, a hammer will be frustrating, and perhaps more destructive than helpful. To switch metaphors, drinking a protein shake won’t cure a vitamin deficiency.
The point is that in order to experience the full benefits that Jesus came to bring, to live Fully Alive, we need “all of the above.”
And if you’re stuck, it may be most helpful to look into an area you may have previously overlooked.
I’d like to propose two broad categories of which we all absolutely need “both-and.”
We all get wounded. Every human being has experienced “stuff.” You didn’t wake up one morning and decide, “I think I’ll mess up my life today by [angrily harming my friend, watching porn, getting addicted to drugs, or whatever].” The traumas you’ve experienced, the stuff done to you and the ways you responded, have created scars in your soul. Your story is significant.
Jesus sees all that, and He desires to bring healing and restoration. You are limited in growth and usefulness until you deal with your “stuff.”
Doing that takes time. Restoration takes time. It takes looking under the surface. Usually it involves others – in a safe vulnerable small group, a counselor/therapist, a recovery program.
At the same time we are living in a world at war. The enemy of God and of our souls is out to “steal, kill, and destroy.” (John 10:10) Your restoration will be opposed.
And failing to deal with that reality will limit or even sabotage your growth and restoration.
Doing that takes learning about spiritual warfare, about the armor of God that He has provided, about the power in the name of Jesus, about the protection and power in applying His blood. (Ephesians 6:10-18, Revelation 12:10-11)
What Employing Both-And Looks Like
In my own history, I was desperately dysfunctional and messed up by the time I became a young woman. I had a history that explained some of that, and I had to invest serious time, energy, and resources in getting professional help to deal with my “stuff.” And I did. For years.
But little truly changed until I learned about spiritual warfare, and about pleading the blood of Jesus. Once I embraced that aspect of what God has available I could start to grow. The enemy’s power was broken, and the other investments I was making in growth could make a difference.
And over 20 years later, I still employ both of these aspects. My own daily life with God includes pleading the blood of Jesus over my own life – every single day! And it also includes daily employing the mental, physical, and spiritual wellbeing tools I learned during that time and since.
What’s important for you may not look identical to me, but it will involve both of these aspects in some way.
If you’re stuck, ask Jesus, “What’s going on here?”
And then consider whether you’ve been focusing on one “side” of this process too much, to the point of ignoring the other.
Dealing with your stuff, and using healthy spiritual warfare to push back the opposition of the enemy. Do both, and you will grow and thrive much more effectively. Healing or deliverance? It’s both!
Your Turn: Which of these two “sides” have you tended to ignore – dealing with your “stuff”, or spiritual warfare? Which do you need to invest in specifically right now? Leave a comment below.
Tweetables: why not share this post?
- If you’re stuck, ask Jesus, “What’s going on here?” You may need some inner healing, some spiritual discipline, some Biblical understanding, or some spiritual warfare. Try something you haven’t tried before. Your restoration needs it. Tweet that.
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