If You Are Able!
PREVIEW Frances MacNutt's Healing: Revised and Expanded
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE SUCCESSFUL HEALER
Here is the case of a boy who is seized by an evil spirit. The manifestation include convulsions, deafness and dumbness. The scribes couldn't touch it, nor could the disciples. It was cast out through the preparation of prayer.
Prayer precedes relationship with Father, which leads to faith for healing and deliverance. The attitude that empowers faith is compassion; in fact, no other attitude is acceptable.
(1) Faith developed through relationship with Christ
+(2) Boldness -- the initial evidence of "Spirit Baptism"
+(3) Compassion -- the greatest of spiritual graces
=(4) Ability to cast out all evil successfully.
Successful ministry increases faith in God. Jesus admonishes the faithless generation in Matthew 12:38-39. They sought a sign, but were neither willing
There is the matter of willingness to work. Some of our temperaments are such that we are scarcely willing to do pleasurable things, and much less unpleasant things, like casting out demons. Some will hide their talents under a napkin and not practice the authority of Christ out of fear but mostly out of laziness. A napkin is much more convenient than a bank or a brokerage firm. Arno wrote something like, "How many potential St. Pauls never became because of their inborn temperaments?"
Faith overcomes both inability and slothfulness. It is "the substance and evidence of unseen hopes." Compassion tells us the suffering boy must be healed. Faith then is our Christ-gifted ability to see the boy as whole. Faith thus becomes "action in scorn of (perceived) reality." Faith that has been exercised in healing and deliverance, even 'botched jobs,' leads to trust, "a higher realm of faith." Trusting God then leads to the boldness of knowing God's mind and will so well that a healer finds himself flowing in the stream of God's will and purpose.
I had an old chemistry set when I was a child. The instructions were gone. There was one test tube labeled "stain." It was an ugly rusty color. I mixed part of it with a few more chemicals, corked up the bottle, and left the concoction on the table beside the bookshelf. Needless to say, the bottle exploded in short order, and every one of the antique books on the shelf were permanently stained rust color, as were the walls, the upholstered chair, the carpet, and everything else round about. The mixture of chemicals caused a reaction that built up pressure that exploded the bottle of "stain."
There was also a human reaction. I was introduced to my grandmother's infamous "green stick."
Faith mixed up with the rhema word of God is like that. If it doesn't explode in action (if it is 'corked'), it explodes in self punishment of disobedience to God's direct commandment to you that you loose somebody. Jesus was always uncorked. He was the rhema word and his faith was strong due to prayerful relationship. So he is incredulous when the unbeliever tells him "if you can."
Jesus exclaims, "IF I CAN?!!!"
The man can't be blamed. Obviously, Jesus was this father's last ditch effort. He had already tried the disciples. (He certainly consulted doctors and every other healer.) So now the man prays apologetically, "I believe. Help my unbelief." Maybe this prayer was not apologetic, but a strong command, who knows. Jesus may have replied, "OK, buddy. How about this for help." And the boy is set free.
This adds even more light to the attitude of the sideline healer. You haven't boldness or faith or compassion or relationship to step out? You don't know what to do? You're afraid? Then pray to Jesus. He will say to you, "OK buddy! All things are possible for the believer."
Just step out and read a prayer over somebody. Just lift the napkin. Give yourself the right to fail a few times. Even if you succeed, even when the miraculous happens, the signs of God are often attributed to other causes these days.
A FEW RELEVANT PRACTICAL CONCEPTS
Authority does not demonstrate itself through the loud-mouthed showoff. The authority that I respect emanates from one who can tune out distractions and quietly and confidently command evil spirits of sickness to depart. Authority demonstrates itself in an assurance that even transcends failure. Those closest to Jesus failed here, yet they never quit trying, for they were authorized by the Savior and they knew it.
Utterance, in this case, consists of a "rebuke" which is a reprimand. The spirit is identified by its function, is told to exit by command, and then is told not to return. The spoken word itself indicates authority. It is commanding.
"Demonized" is the correct New Testament understanding of demonic oppression. Charles Kraft likens demons to rats at the trash, whether the trash is disease, sin, or mental illness. To be demonized means to be "infested."
Very often demons will speak to the healer and tell they why they are not authorized to act in Jesus' name (i.e. "You have sin in your life"). We who are weak in faith must convince the demon we are authorized by proving over and over again Christ's authority through his Word, or at least make it uncomfortable enough to want to go. In only one instance do I recall a demon leaving with just a command. Routing rats is tiresome, dirty work unless you happened to be Jesus or completely filled with faith.
Touch - Jesus lifted the young man. For the deaf, his fingers are placed in ears. For the dumb, the tongue is touched. Touch is in itself therapeutic.
Jesus practiced Therapeutic Touch Therapy. And today, Longevity tells us, it is being practiced in the secular hospital establishment, though it is not AMA approved.
BACK TO ATTITUDE
Jesus' reply to the anxious father, "If I am able!" is a perfect example of the attitude we must have for ministering to others. It is another way of affirming, "Yes. I am able." For "Nothing shall be impossible for those who believe!" If you belong to God, and you believe that God heals, then you are good enough to be a healer and called to healing ministry. The method is secondary to attitude. Use any means or every means you feel comfortable with in Christ! Only DO step out in faith to heal. The Lord will be faithful to give you a sign of approval.