“Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, ‘The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, “Here it is,” or “There it is,” because the kingdom of God is within you’ ” -Luke 17: 20-21
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” –2 Chronicles 7: 14
What does it mean to be healed, and what parts do Jesus’ followers have in bringing His healing to others and themselves? Healing in the Old Testament (marpe, rapha’) refers to more than restoration of physical health. In the verb form, rapha’ means to cure, heal, repair, mend, or restore health. The noun marpe, derived from rophe’ (one who heals) means restoration of health, remedy, cure, medicine, tranquility, deliverance, or refreshing.
In the New Testament, the Greek word sozo, which is translated at different times as healing and salvation, basically means rescued from the devil’s power and restored into the wholeness of God’s order and well-being by the power of His Spirit. Healings, in this all-inclusive sense, are signs of the presence and power of the Kingdom of God (Luke 7: 19-22).
Exodus 15: 26, “For I am the Lord who heals you”, refers to healing from diseases. In Psalm 41: 4, David says “O Lord, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against You.” Psalm 147: 3 states, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Like many other Scriptures, these last two refer to the healing of a soul that has sinned, the restoration of a broken heart.
Scope of Heart-Healing Counseling
Christian heart-healing counseling for the inner man brings Christ’s power to emotional issues such as habitual substance abuse, obsessive thoughts, out-of-control anger, depression, phobias, dissociative disorders, and other life maladjustments.
Relational issues can be current or from the past. Examples are the inability to be intimate, estrangement from family and friends, recurring overwhelming abandonment or rejection feelings, and sexual or relationship addiction.
At times physical problems bring a person to counseling; in other instances physical problems crop up during the course of spiritual healing.
Some forms of healing involve deliverance from demonic power and influence, and are direct confrontations between the two Kingdoms of Darkness and Light. (Matthew 12: 28 says, “But if I [Jesus] am casting out demons by the Spirit of God, then the Kingdom of God has arrived among you”.) Because of the potentially dangerous nature of this type of healing, Jesus stressed the need for compassionate restoration to full recovery “lest the house remain empty and seven other more wicked demons return” (Matthew 12: 43-45).
In Luke 11: 21-22, Satan is referred to as the strong man who guards a house. Satan’s minions are demons, which can be said to nest in dark spots on the human heart. The evil spirits stay, often unbeknownst to the person, to block Christ’s transforming presence from exposing and penetrating pain, sickness and disease, sin and its consequences, or generational curses.
Healing can also be forgiveness from sin. Heart forgiveness, not just mental assent, brings release and recovery to all parts of the inner being affected by sin. This includes the conscience, mind, emotions, and body, as well as the web of interpersonal relationships around a person’s life. True forgiveness, for others and us, comes only through the reconciliation of Christ on the Cross (2 Corinthians 5: 21), as a result of the New Covenant (Matthew 26: 28).
Healing is restoration from sickness. Jesus acknowledged the many reasons for sickness and addressed His healing in an individual to the root cause, using different techniques depending on the situation. In heart-healing counseling, we have found that stuffing extreme pain from childhood can result in physical symptoms, even disease, many years later. Additionally, the body sometimes remembers trauma and abuse, even when the mind does not. This can manifest as physical pain associated with brain adaptations, as in the migraines of DID (MPD) sufferers. The body can’t be separated from the heart; physical sickness is part of the purview of heart healing.
The ultimate healing is eternal life with God. The gift of everlasting life is healing in that it is a resurrection of the spirit from physical pain and death. The progressive expansion of present abundant life into further areas of the inner being can be called sanctification. The more our heart becomes filled with God’s Spirit, the more we become one with God.
After physical death we will be completely spiritually at one or present with God (Ephesians 2: 1-6; John 3: 3-7; 1 Corinthians 6: 17; Romans 6: 23). In Jesus, fear of death is overcome as we taste morsels of His Kingdom (eternal life) within and around us. Fear of death is the greatest intrinsic fear of humankind, and in Jesus that fear can be overcome (Hebrews 2: 14-15).
Healing is sharing with those in poverty, hunger, and dire need. His abundance is revealed when we become part of God’s Kingdom provision. The oppression of great lack is part of the curse of this present evil age. God’s healing presence reigning in the hearts of men can break the curse of poverty and teach people about the blessing of giving freely to others (Isaiah 25: 5; Genesis 3: 17-19; Matthew 11: 5; Matthew 6: 33; Luke 6: 20; Luke 4: 18).
Jesus died poor, broken, and humiliated so we can enjoy abundant life, which offers us both the freedom and ability to give for meeting any need through God’s resources. This does not mean that we are to hoard our wealth like many in this world. Acts 4: 32-37 is an example of early Christian community prosperity: “There was no needy person among them.” This applies not only to financial and material blessings, but also to every aspect of life.
Healing is found interpersonally through the fusing together of God’s people into one worshiping body. This will be fully experienced in Heaven, but is known in part when believers grow into a loving extended family, united in Christ with Him as the Head. The prototype Christian community began when the first disciples responded to Jesus’ call. Through intensive, ongoing relationship with Jesus and one another, they all changed inside and out.
Finally, healing in the global sense is the spread of God’s Kingdom like leaven throughout the Earth, by God’s restored individuals’ exercise of dominion over the manifestations of evil, in the presence of His encompassing love. Adam was given authority over the land and its inhabitants. The Second Adam, Christ, demonstrated that lost dominion. As our hearts are progressively restored to original intimacy with the Father, we are empowered once again little by little to establish His stewardship over this fallen world’s environments and people.