Somewhere in the teachings of Oswald Chambers, deliverance from sin or sickness was attributed to "the expulsive power of an over-riding affection".
The man with the vile tongue wishes that he could stop cursing. Time and again he has embarrassed himself in public, or sullied his private thoughts with an obscene or irreverent phrase. He tells his friends that he has "this foul mouth".
The woman with the excruciating lower back pain wakes up afraid of the day's demands. She has had months of interruption of activities because of sudden paralyzing attacks. She wishes and she prays that the affliction would leave. In conversations she constantly refers to 'her bad back'.
In attending to the problem, in possessing it, these people have effectively established a dwelling-place for the sin or suffering. What is needed is something more compelling to captivate their thoughts and attention.
I can think of nothing more beneficial than the four Gospels and the noble Elder Brother, Jesus, therein portrayed. Time and again in the story, mercy triumphs over judgment, loneliness, need, despair and affliction.
The heart and mind of blind Bartimaeus had become occupied with the reports of the sympathetic, powerful, healing rabbi, Jesus. (Mark 10: 46-52). When he heard that the Galilean was passing by, he cast off his beggar's cloak, his public badge of disability and need, and approached Jesus. His love and hope in the report of the man of mercy would not be disappointed.
This is what Paul means in Philippians 4 when he says, "Rejoice in the Lord always."
I remember the testimony of a man I knew in Chatham who had vision problems and crossed eyes requiring glasses. He was a Christian and a solid student of the Word. He entered into a season of prayer, fasting and receipt of ministry with the specific intention of getting his eyes healed. Nothing happened. After absorbing his initial disappointment, he resolved to keep on his program of praise and study of Jesus. The intimacy and the affection grew. The scripture promise in 1 Peter 2 became more and more real:
24Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes (wounds) ye were healed.
Months later, one morning he was late for his factory job and rushed out of the apartment and down the highway to the neighbouring town. During a break in work he went to wash up, and noticed in the mirror that he had forgotten his glasses and that his eyes were 20/20 and completely straight!
Throughout the trial he had maintained the right focus, the right confession and the right affection. He had ignored his problem to death. Paul tells us in Colossians 3 to "mortify" the things in us which tend toward sin and handicap. We are to undergo a change of raiment:
8But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.
9Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;
10And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:
(Picture by Laurie Homan)
(See also our blog posted 3 spots below entitled, "Healing in His Rays")