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:

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This is an amazing question and I have gone through it before. Before my diagnosis of Cancer I had suffered from fibromyalgia for 5 years and I went to many doctors and the pain was killing me with no clue why it is happening. In this time I met people who claimed that sickness is all spiritual matter and God wants us to be full of health and they used the verse of Isaiah 53 by His stripes we are healed.
I started to struggle a lot and crying before God to reveal for me where is the truth.
After long journey of searching I figured that this belongs more to the prosperous bible teaching
God wants you to be healthy , wealthy and happy.
Although the journey was hard but during our search for the truth our minds get renewed and the truth set us free.
We are part of a falling world which is suffering in different ways one of them is disease and pain.
In God’ mercy the pain in His hands turns to an eternal glory and the pain and suffering become our way to know God who suffered for us and to experience His presence and comfort so we can encourage others who are going through the same situation.
Until one day God will redeem that falling world and there will be no more tears, pain or suffering but everlasting joy.

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@Brittcasey04. I think we should always approach the throne of grace with boldness. So, I will ask GOD for what I would like. But always asking with the understanding that what GOD allows is the very best for me. In that sense, I believe the power of natural sickness is not oppressive. Definitely uncomfortable and even painful. But in all situations, the Lord is more than faithful. I trust that over the discomfort of my natural living. Truly all things work together for the good of those who love the Lord.

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Forgive me for not responding sooner. I let myself get too busy and I wasn’t sure how to respond. I will say this, I I hate to hear you’ve had to suffer these maladies. You seem though, to have handled them splendidly. I believe stories like yours, stories of faith in adversity are more powerful to new and nonbelievers than ones of never experiencing sickness if you just have enough faith. I am neither of those and I’m inspired!
We live in a world that daily seeks to harm us. I don’t think its realistic to believe we will never suffer sickness.Humans seem to learn best and more thoroughly when pain is involved. I’ve noticed that if you look we will always see God bringing himself glory in all situations. It might be,and especially here in America that we are just impatient and have a hard time grasping that our true healing comes when we get to see Jesus and spend eternity with God.

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I agree we should approach with boldness but not demanding. The people I’ve referenced here believe that approach is incorrect. They believe it is Gods will that you always be healed. For them it is a question of sovereignty. God, to them is not sovereign here on earth. Since Jesus came and defeated death we with the power of the Holy Spirit are as best I can tell. Just have enough faith seems to be their answer to pain. We know God’s will because it tells us in the Bible so we just have to have enough faith. It seems to me to be faith in faith. When I posited that God is sovereign and we live in a fallen world and that there would be pain but if you look you will see God bringing himself glory in the midst of that pain I was accused of promoting fate. I don’t believe God causes us to be hurt but I do believe He allows it. We are tempered by fire after all. I think it’s a fine line to walk and just a little outside of our understanding.

@Brittcasey04. I agree. Unless the Lord provides balance to our health or wealth as we define it; we assume it is because we lack faith. Or we begin to lose faith in the God of our concepts.

The notion that the evidence of GOD’s presence can only be known when our expectations are met is short-sighted. It serves to lock us in a cycle of frustration and disappointment. We waste time and energy trying to be “deep enough” or something enough to command healing and prosperity. But GOD, who is in control of all, uses every circumstance and situation.

I inhabit a body that since Eden, at its conception marches towards demise. We are mistaken to believe that how our physical world fares, is the purpose of serving GOD.

The benefit is realized not when my life goes as planned, but when despite living in a fallen world I realize I can trust the heart of GOD concerning me.

I can trust the Lord through the discomfort and misery of my physical body. I can trust Him in the discomfort of needs and desires. I can trust Him when the blessings of this life flow. I can trust His plan for me because His banner over me is always love. I am a traveler on my way home.

Your loved ones and friends will have to learn this truth within the scope of their living. I am confident in the love GOD has for each of us. People belong to GOD whether we live like we do or not. I know the persistent reach of the Lord in my life. I know it is there for others.

In the halls of prayer before the Throne of Grace, we can stand in petition for the people that GOD places in our path. We can engage in the only warfare that brings results. And we can follow His leading.

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Hey @Brittcasey04 :slight_smile: This is a great conversation and I love the responses from everyone. Just a little something to add … I had someone close to me try to force that belief down my throat about we shouldn’t be sick. They even tried to encourage my Mum not to take her medications that she really needed (by the grace of God, I was able to talk her around to ignoring that advice). I went to a church where there were some people of that persuasion, that said that we shouldn’t even confess our sickness, as that is giving the devil a foothold in our lives. I said to one of these people one time, that I couldn’t do my ministry that day as I had a bad cold and wasn’t feeling well (couldn’t talk properly). They told me that I was being ridiculous and I shouldn’t say things like that, for the reason I mentioned above about giving someone a foothold. Funny thing was, 2 weeks later, they were coughing and spluttering, and sick and going for their tissues and their voice was unusually deep. I said, so you are unwell today?!? And their response was, “no I’m not sick cough cough” etc. You know, there’s just something about that whole Christians not being sick thing that just doesn’t sit well with me. It never has, and it never will. About that person who was spruiking to me about not being sick, about 10 years later, something happened to them and they needed to visit a physio because their hamstring had snapped. It was interesting to see the change in their ‘doctrine’ when they asked me which physio I used. It was almost humbling for them and a little embarrassing to admit it. I think I could safely say, ask those who are telling you this in a few years time, and see if they still think the same. We all get old and we all get sick, and there is no shame in that as a Christian. We can enter heaven with a maimed body, but we can’t enter heaven with a sick soul. I would be more concerned about the latter rather than the former. I’m happy to say that I am sick and have health issues, and I don’t feel guilty saying that. God still works through me and I’ve learned a lot of life lessons through this. Would I like to be well. Absolutely!! :slight_smile: Can God heal me? He sure can!!! Has He yet? No, and that’s totally fine with me. My faith in Him is great and it doesn’t bother me that I’m not. What would bother me is if I didn’t read the bible, or my prayer life stunk, or if I wronged someone today, how is my attitude at work — did I live like Jesus today? Those things to me are more important than me being well. It’s just how I look at life. Not afraid to have ill—health :slight_smile: So much more to add, but will leave it there :slight_smile: Allow God to grow you in your circumstances, whatever they are. He is bigger than what this life can throw at you. God bless you, and take good care of you always. Xox

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