Christians and sickness

I was recently told that if I live in the Spirit and not my emotions I will not be oppressed by sickness. Can I realistically live a life devoid of illness as long as I pray it daily and believe?

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I don’t see any biblical support for that. What I do see in the Bible is healing so its not impossible for people to be healed. But we do live in a fallen world and some times you get sick. It’s part of life.

There’s nothing wrong with prayer but I do think it’s not safe to tell people pray and that’s it. You do have to take care of your body as well to be in good health. And sometimes as we all know people die from illnesses. It happens every day.

We as Christians have a higher hope though. That death on this side of life is not the end but just a transition. So pray at all times but if God chooses not to heal someone it’s not because one didn’t have enough faith or something like that. But because it’s their time to transition. If he does heal them then to him be all the glory.

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@Brittcasey04, I am not aware of any biblical conversation on the point that you raise except at 1 Corinthians 11:30. In this passage, Paul noted that some people had become sick & others died because they were not careful to treat participation in the Lord’s Supper with the appropriate personal preparation. But there is no general principle of “be spiritual or you will get sick” in the Bible.

If we look closer at the content of your question, we may find an answer that can satisfy better.

You wrote: "I was recently told that if I live in the Spirit and not my emotions I will not be oppressed by sickness. Can I realistically live a life devoid of illness as long as I pray it daily and believe?"

If living by the wisdom & leadership of the Holy Spirit is what you mean by “live in the Spirit,” then this should be the common pursuit of all believers. Much has been written in this, with varying levels of quality, and as usual, the best place to start is in the Bible.

No one should ever live “by” emotions, because emotions follow the facts. In other words, emotions react to fact. Get the facts straight in your life and emotions will follow appropriately. Emotions are how we feel life. We were created with emotions, so experiencing emotions is not wrong, we just need to be sure we have the facts straight. We need to understand accurately the truth of our relationship with Jesus. So ask Him!

Further, we need to understand that sickness is a part of the way this world operates. It is a misstep to think that believers who are correct with the Lord will never get sick. This cannot be proven biblically, and so therefore it cannot be proven spiritually. And insisting on such a thing brings considerable suffering upon people, far more than the sickness brings.

I have seen believers who were stricken with severe illness and then recover. Never once did their faith waver. I have seen believers die from maladies and their testimonies of faith in Christ were outstanding. I have made thousands of hospital visits. Most of my people walked out & went home. Some even became believers while in the hospital. Most were believers all ready.

I hope you never face a health problem. Yet I don’t think such a thing is realistic because of the world we live in. You mention praying daily. I suppose you mean that you are asking God daily to preserve your health. I hope that one day your prayers mature to the point that you are praying for the advancement of God’s Kingdom & trusting Him to watch over your health.

And remember who you believe in. The Bible never says, “All you need to do is believe.” It says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you shall be saved.”

Just remember that sickness is a malady in the physical realm. It’s connection to the spiritual realm, if any, cannot be answered in general terms that always are true. So specific cases have to be handled on their own terms. I hope for you that all goes well and that you find an understanding in this matter that is satisfying to you & honoring to the Lord.

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Thanks for such a detailed answer! Live in the spirit was not explained. I was on a live feed on Facebook and it was an answer to a question of demon possession. When I took issue with this theology I was quoted John 14:14. I am not a fan of one verse answers.
I believe content and context are equally important. I was also told that the only pain in the New Testament was persecution but Paul was shipwrecked and snake bit.
I realize that I wasn’t very forthcoming in my own stance before. I am not comfortable praying over myself on a daily basis except for wisdom,strength and courage to do the Lords work each day. I do trust Him to take care of my health.I try to be
thankful every day for Gods provision I have experienced healing by faith and by medicine in time and my experience tells me sometimes the answer is no but even then God will bring Himself glory. Like you said it makes for a wonderful testimony when someone
remains faithful in the face of adversity or even death.

This person is dean of instructors at a divinity school where my sister attends. Some of her blogs mentioning the prosperity gospel disturb me. I’m trying to learn all I can. I know people who died wondering when God was going to heal them and my
mother does not understand why my grandmother had to go to a nursing home(Alzheimer’s). This was over 20 years ago. I think this theology is very harmful and not realistic. Am I off base?

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@Brittcasey04

Hi Britt,

Thanks for this topic and thanks to the thoughts of those above as well. It is a deep topic of discussion, mostly because of a widespread misunderstanding or pervasiveness of people who distort the gospel.

I think you’re right… this, among other doctrines, can be totally harmful if they are represented incorrectly. I’m wary of any statement that starts with… “If you trust in the Lord you WILL… [insert what they guarantee will happen]”. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there aren’t that many things that we are guaranteed in scripture for putting trust in the Lord… but I’ll name two of them:

  1. If you trust in Jesus you will be eternally saved from the wrath of God.

John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.”

  1. If you trust in Jesus you will face trials and persecution.

James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy, my brethren, whenever you face trials of many kinds” [emphasis added]

Note that James doesn’t say ‘if’ we face trials, but ‘when’ we will face them. There may be a better scripture reference for that, but I think I can say with confidence that scripture is very clear that following the Lord will bring trials and persecution in this life. Put those two scriptures above together and further on in James 1:12:

“Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

I am with those above… ABSOLUTELY the Lord has power over all things and can, has and will continue to heal people according to his will. But I think that to say that if you are a believer you will NEVER get sick or will ALWAYS be healed if you have enough faith is counter to the gospel and destructive in the expectations and pressure it puts on people.

There is nothing wrong (and everything to recommend) to praying daily to the Lord to keep us safe and healthy, or if we are unwell then to ask for healing…

Phil 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God”

… but it has to be balanced with the understanding that we live in a fallen and broken world. It is the next life that we look forward to when there will be no death and no tears. At no point are we promised that in this life… almost the opposite. But that is the reality and joy that we have as Christians… we get to look past the brokenness of this life and look forward to the crown of life that we will receive in the next, sitting under our Lord for eternity.

At least… that is how I see it. Sorry if it seems a bit harsh, what I’ve said above… but the reason I take such a firm stance on it is because of what you’ve brought up; the fact that it causes harm and undue stress if taken incorrectly.

Looking forward to other peoples thoughts.

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Hi, @Brittcasey04. I love all the well-balanced and knowledgeable responses that were given here. I have to tell you, I was absolutely thrilled to read this in your response:

I think you are really doing a great job with handling Scripture and people’s claims and assertions.

One thing I would add is the need to try to look at healing a little differently than we humans tend to look at it. I had a miscarriage between my first and second children, and I worked in the church office with a young girl who thought that any Christian who “declared” healing and really had faith would be healed (and she even went to a meeting of women who had had miscarriages and essentially told them that they had them because they didn’t have the faith that she did when she birthed a child despite the doctors telling her she would never have one). I knew I was going to have to go in and work with this girl, knowing that she quite possibly would stand in judgment of me and my faith, so I prayed and the Lord gave me an approach I never would have thought of on my own. Most Christians that I know believe that when a believer passes, s/he is immediately in the presence of the Lord–with Jesus, and yet when someone dies from an illness, we say the strangest thing: God didn’t heal them. Isn’t that quite the contradiction?

With this is mind, when I went in to the office, the young girl did bring the miscarriage up, and I explained that God did perform healing…that there are times that God heals in different ways. I explained that I think it’s possible to draw from Scripture that from God’s perspective, to pass from illness onto life in and with Jesus Christ is, in fact, the best healing there is. So, I am in agreement with everything everyone else said here, but I think I might also question these people’s understanding of healing.

Just some thoughts…for what they’re worth :slight_smile: