Our Nature in Christ: Healed

“But he [Jesus] was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his stripes we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:5, New International Version)

(For starters, let me begin by saying that this first paragraph is a little [very] graphic and made me squirm)

“These ‘stripes’ (or wounds) were administered by whipping the bare backs of prisoners whose hands and feet were bound, rendering them helpless. The phrase ‘by His stripes we are healed’ refers to the punishment Jesus Christ suffered—floggings and beatings with fists. Whips made of braided leather with pottery shards and sharp stones affixed to the ends tore the flesh open with each whip. When we picture this terrible, inhumane form of physical punishment we recoil in horror. Yet the physical pain and agony were not all Jesus suffered. He also had to undergo the mental anguish brought on by the wrath of His Father, who punished Him for the sinfulness of mankind—sin carried out in spite of God’s repeated warnings, sin that Jesus willingly took upon Himself.” (GotQuestions.com)

Can I be honest? I am a very visual person so picturing Jesus in these beatings definitely made me uneasy. However, it also made me think of His love for me. I love the author’s point that Jesus had to “undergo the mental anguish brought on by the wrath of His Father.” The first time that I read that, I literally had no idea what that meant.  I was praying and trying to figure out how God measured sin in physicality? Then, the Holy Spirit revealed that He took on the fullness of shame, guilt, and condemnation.

Let’s be real for a second here. The shame, guilt, and condemnation from disobeying God for myself can be bad, and has even proven to be crippling from time to time in my life. In the past, I’ve had panic attacks from being so overwhelmed. I cannot even BEGIN to imagine what it is like to take on the shame, guilt, and condemnation of EVERY, SINGLE person in the name of love.

Just take a moment to take that in.

______________

“Some have taken this [verse] to mean that every believer has the right – the promise – to perfect health right now, and if there is any lack of health, it is simply because this promise has not been claimed in faith. In this thinking, great stress is laid upon the past tense of this phrase – by His stripes we are healed. We can say that God’s promise is perfect, total, complete healing, but we must also say that is is not promised to every believer right now, just as the totality of salvation isn’t promised right now. The Bible says that we are saved (Ephesians 2:8), we are being saved (1 Corinthians 1:18), and we will be saved (1 Corinthians 3:15). We have been healed, we are being healed, and we will one day be healed. God’s ultimate healing is called ‘resurrection,’ and it is a glorious promise to every believer. Every ‘patch-up’ healing in this present age simply anticipates the ultimate healing that will come.

What Christians must not do is foolishly ‘claim’ to be healed, despite ‘mere symptoms’ that say otherwise, and believe they are standing on the promise of Isaiah 53:5. What Christians must do is pray boldly and trust God’s goodness and mercy in granting gifts of healing now, even before the ultimate healing of resurrection” (Guzik).

I LOVE this latter section!!! Haha! I have struggled with everything that the last two paragraphs refer to. Today, I even asked Holy Spirit, “Uhhh, are we sure that Christians can’t claim healing despite symptoms? I think it’s faith!” But I love the rest of this article and this quote from Charles Spurgeon, “‘With his stripes we are healed.’ Will you notice that fact? The healing of a sinner does not lie in himself, nor in what he is, nor in what he feels, nor in what he does, nor in what he vows, nor in what he promises. It is not in himself at all; but there, at Gabbatha, where the pavement is stained with the blood of the Son of God, and there, at Golgotha, where the place of a skull beholds the agonies of Christ. It is in his stripes that the healing lies. I beseech thee, do not scourge thyself: ‘With his stripes we are healed’ (Spurgeon).”

I love the humility of this.

Resources
https://www.gotquestions.org/by-His-stripes-healed.html & https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/archives/guzik_david/StudyGuide_Isa/Isa_53.cfm

Fear No Longer Lives Here

“For God has not (not even once) given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and of a sound mind,” -2 Timothy 1:7

Let’s see…

Can I be completely honest? Fear has always been a problem for me. Fear of the future, fear of the present, fear of the unknown, fear of the known, fear, fear, fear! Weirdly enough, though, the thing I’ve always feared the most is success, and actually believing that I am 100% who God says that I am. I’ve always loved seeing success stories of people who just did it! Fear, and all, these people just went after their dreams and succeeded! However, when it came to my own life, I’d always been too afraid to even sit and write out the vision! It was too big, too expensive, no one else around me has ever done that, etc! Every excuse there was, I’d mastered it!

A few mornings ago, I was looking for a song to listen to, and I found a Youtube video of Steffany Gretzinger’s, “Letting Go”. The video was of her telling the story behind how that song came out of a process of the Lord working fear out of her. She didn’t mind singing spontaneously in a live worship set, because it was spontaneous. However, when it came to writing songs, and having other people listen to them, she felt so uncomfortable. Like, what if the songs were really bad? What if she bared it all, and looked stupid? Outside of the fact that [in my mind] Steffany is my BFF, I really understood what she meant. For me, it has always been easy to know that God has given me gifts and talents, and those gifts are fine in corporate settings with other people, but when it came to something that He was instructing ONLY me to do, I didn’t know how to not be paralyzed by fear.

  • Fear of going all-in. What if I miss God? What if I don’t hear Him correctly?
  • I know the Lord keeps telling me to put words to paper, starting with a blog, but how am I supposed to do it? Everybody has a blog! Why is mine any different? Plus, I haven’t been very consistent. Am I sure?

This past weekend I was in a conference with one of my leaders praying over me. I felt her grip start to loosen on my hands towards the end of the prayer, and as we were nearing the “Amen” she said, “I keep hearing this, the Lord wants to break the spirit of fear off of you.” I knew in that moment that it all had to change. It wasn’t that I would never deal with fear again, but that I’d have an approach of victory when it came to fear. My stance would be different because this time I’d had the revelation of WHO I’d lean into when my flesh gave way, and WHO I was. I realized that paralyzing fear had attached itself to things that God had for me!

Priscilla Shirer says it best, “We know that God doesn’t give a spirit of fear. So, if we have a spirit of fear in any area of our life, we know it must have come from the enemy. If I’m afraid of something, (since I know that God doesn’t give a spirit of fear) it must mean that there is something embedded in that thing that the enemy does not want me to have. If he can distract us with the size and the depth of the thing, we won’t traverse it. He doesn’t want you getting past that Red Sea, friend! Because on the other side of that Red Sea is milk and honey. It’s the blessing of God, and the favor of God and the promises of God experienced in your life! On your current side of the Red Sea, you only get to hear about what God is doing. Satan doesn’t mind when you read a verse a day to keep the devil away, that’s not what he minds. What he minds are [believers] who actually go back home with a holy confidence, face the battle, not be afraid of it, and traverse it so that they move forward with God. He is going out of his way to stamp fear to anything that he knows on the other side of it is God’s best for you.”

Isn’t that SOOO good?!? When we realize that there is purpose and breakthrough on the other side of the thing that fear has attached itself to, it changes everything!

  • So, I won’t fear going all-in. With my heart is really set on God, even when I take a step that I’m not so sure about, He’s right there to make sure that I’m on the path. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21).
  • I won’t fear writing, or whether or not my voice is significant! Steffany said it great, “I have a voice. I am a mouthpiece, and God has given me something to say.” We have no reason to fear. God has anointed us with gifts and talents to do the very things He’s calling us to. “May the favor of the Lord rest upon us; make our efforts successful. Yes! Make our efforts successful.” (Psalm 90: 17) Plus, it’s really not about us, and we never have to do it alone. In whatever capacity He’s called you, He’s using you to reach someone! That’s all that matter. In humility, let us put ourselves aside. In boldness, let us press forward into what God has called us. “That is why I remind you to fan into flame the gracious gift of God, [that inner fire—the special endowment] which is in you through the laying on of my hands [with those of the elders at your ordination]. For God did not give us a spirit of timidity or cowardice or fear, but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of sound judgment and personal discipline [abilities that result in a calm, well-balanced mind and self-control].” (2 Timothy 1: 6-7)

So, my personal testimony is that I stopped running.

I leaned into the Holy Spirit.

I picked up my holy confidence from where I left it.

I turned around to face my fears.

He’s already promised us that we are more than conquerors, so I will traverse in whatever is thrown at me,

and I’ll continue to move forward with God.

Fear no longer lives here.

Heal With Love.

These three words have never had as much relevance in my life as they have now. Seasons have come and gone, and there have been times when the Lord has asked me to let some relationships go. There have also been times when the Lord has blessed me with very dear relationships, and unfortunately, those have also gone downhill. Some of those relationship losses were easy to cope with, while others were painstakingly hard. But, throughout them all, I’ve learned how to lean into God, allow Him to break pride, and heal with love.

Prayer is key. Healing never looks the way we want it to look. Sometimes healing means praying for the other person to keep move forward, even if you can’t be there to celebrate with them or encourage them in their endeavors. Prayer causes us to truly die to our flesh and come to grips with the ultimatum, “It’s either what we want, or what God wants.” We can’t have it both because God is going to lead us into some very painful things to pray. It will test our level of patience. It will reveal the ugly things rooted in our hearts, but ultimately, it will get us to a place where we can pray the purest prayers, rooted in love, and truly be okay with the outcome.

“Love is patient, love is kind,” (1 Corinthians 13: 4a)

Don’t tolerate pride. During the healing process, the Lord has walked me through extremely hard moments of vulnerability. Nothing kills pride and hastens the healing process more than humility and vulnerability before the Lord. Pride has two extremes: It either wants to constantly remind you of how badly others have hurt you, or it tries to convince you that you’re okay and that it didn’t hurt. Tolerating either is not okay. Those painful thoughts are going to come because… well, it hurt! However, healing comes in those moments of humility. To God, you recognize, “Father, this situation really did hurt me. It hurt so badly. Pretending like it didn’t doesn’t make me tougher. It only helps to build barriers. Because I know that forgiveness is a choice that is not based on my emotions, I choose to forgive all those involved. Heal me in the deepest parts of where hurt has resided. I give you permission to touch and heal the root of the pain. In Jesus’ name, Amen. ”  Pride is not your friend, and it’s not “protecting” you. Not only will pride create a divide between you and others, but it will also divide you and God.

[Love] does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud,” (1 Corinthians 13: 4b)

Ask God to silence the wrong voices. During healing, this is crucial. Just because people love you doesn’t mean that their heart is always in the right place to speak. Sometimes another’s “love” (or their need to defend us) can cause them to speak/act from their flesh. In those moments, the voices we’re allowing to speak into us are actually reaffirming pride that the Lord is trying to break. Often times, they’re helping us to keep rehearsing the offense. Ask the Lord to highlight voices that aren’t helping you to heal. Then, ask for boldness to walk away. When God does a healing work, He’s not just working on the problem at hand, He’s healing the deeper root issues, as well. Wrong voices have the power to help you to keep rehearsing the offense without ever actually dealing with it. Ask God for help. He’ll give you the grace. 

Love is warfare. “[Love] always protects, always trusts, always hopes,” (1 Corinthians 13: 7 NIV). Love always protects the other person involved, and for me, the Lord has been showing me that that means that I will protect their name and their character. I won’t talk bad about them, entertain a bad thought about them, and I won’t allow others to either. Love is making the choice to trust what God says about people, and not what our distorted reality says about them. I was praying recently, and the Lord told me that, “love is warfare.” Not saying what you really want to say in the heat of the moment is warfare. Standing still, not giving into what the enemy wants is warfare. Choosing God’s perspective is warfare. Speaking life is warfare. It makes the enemy so mad when we choose to not give into conflict, even when conflict is coming at us. 

Learn to let the relationship go. This has been the hardest for me, personally. Frequently, I’ll be bombarded with thoughts of, “No! I’m believing for restoration! The Lord can restore!! You’re not fighting hard enough! You’re just going to let it go? Just like that?!” Letting people go doesn’t mean that you are giving up on them, or on what God can do. It’s an incredibly, brave act of love that says, “God, I cannot do this. We had all of the knowledge as to how to fix this, yet we STILL couldn’t make this work. I choose to give this to You to do what only You can do. I choose to relinquish control.” 

Keep moving forward with a pure heart. While the previous was the hardest for me, I know that for some, this may feel like the hardest thing. Satan wants to tell you that you’re abandoning the person. He wants to lie, and tell you that they’re not moving forward, and that they’re going to be bitter with you for doing so. Or, he’ll try to convince you that it’s some type of competition. So, yes, you can move forward, but the goal is to beat them in life. Regardless of the tactic, it’s a lie. Of course moving forward isn’t always easy. The lies will come, and sometimes looking ahead makes the days feel like an eternity, but it’s one prayer at a time. 

It’s dispelling one lie at a time. 

It’s leaning into God, one step at a time. 

It’s trusting that God is going to take care of you. 

It’s trusting that when He says, “Don’t defend yourself,” that He is your vindicator. 

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness,” (2 Corinthians 12: 9)

Keep your love on. Their actions shouldn’t determine yours. It doesn’t matter if the person never wants to talk to you again, or if they hate you. Even when it’s hard and you feel stupid, keep your love on. Seek God on whether or not it’s His will for that relationship to have a place in your life in the future. From the purest place, pray for them. Trust that God is doing a work in them just like He’s doing in you. Ultimately, it’s the old saying, “Healing isn’t for the other person. It’s for you.” When you allow the Lord to show you how much those relationships shaped the good in you, it’s hard to turn your love off. It actually helps you to love them, and others, in a greater measure. It helps you to heal. One day, you’ll be able to see them without your heart skipping six beats. “Love endures (suffers something painful or difficult, patiently) all things,” (1 Corinthians 13: 7).

Be patient with yourself. Don’t rush it. Trust the Lord’s timing. I think sometimes we are so “big picture” focused, that we grow impatient, not allowing God to heal us fully. When you’ve been hurt, it’s a natural reaction to want to act out of fear, anxiety, and throw up walls of defense. You may think you’re completely healed until you see the person. There’s no need in beating yourself up because you went out of your way to ignore them so they couldn’t see how badly you were hurting, but you should be more realistic with the timing of your healing. (Haha! You may need more than the one week of healing you’ve set for yourself!) However, it’s in those moments that we truly get see God be God because He’s close to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18)! Lean in on His perfect love that casts out fear. 

Again, it’s one day at a time.

Is it going to hurt some days? Yes. Sometimes, badly.

Will you still miss those people? Of course.

But healing comes so much faster when we allow God to do the work.