God wants to heal our lives. He wants to heal our hearts and minds and bodies.
We know this in the church and for many of us we have made it our habits of church and christianity to declare and pray healing over others.
And yet, we have often made healing a product of church. We have taken what is meant to be a free gift of God to all people and have made it a proprietary (something owned by just a few people) product of the church.
Spiritual Authority is:
- the power of God in our ministry
- the healing of God through our lives
- the Kingdom of God in our experience
- the peace of God over our days
These are found in surrender.
Are deepened in further surrender.
And are ever-present in continued surrender.
We use the word church to indicate the place where we gather. We know church to be the building in which we come for worship, for teaching, and for fellowship in the body of Christ.
When our Bibles tell us to ‘care for the church’, as we read in Acts 20:29, we may immediately think of taking care of the building, the gatherings, the programs, Sunday service, prayer meetings, and such.
“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.” Acts 20:28
When Jesus Christ came to earth there was a well-established religious system. There were the scribes and pharisees, these were the keepers of the law, the ones schooled in the specifics of the keeping of the law.
These were the leaders of the Jewish religion and the ones that enforced and taught God’s ways. They were the ones living their best to be good and right and perfect and by this managed to appear better than anyone else.
At that same time, when Jesus came to earth, there were the common people like you and I. These common people were living their lives trying to do as God might have them do, trying to be as God might have them be. They were working hard but perhaps, in contrast to the religious leaders, felt inadequate and not quite measuring up.
I continue to be caught by the story of the prodigal son. Let’s begin by reading from Luke 15:11-31
11 To illustrate the point further, Jesus told them this story: “A man had two sons. 12 The younger son told his father, ‘I want my share of your estate now before you die.’ So his father agreed to divide his wealth between his sons. 13 “A few days later this younger son packed all his belongings and moved to a distant land, and there he wasted all his money in wild living. 14 About the time his money ran out, a great famine swept over the land, and he began to starve. 15 He persuaded a local farmer to hire him, and the man sent him into his fields to feed the pigs. 16 The young man became so hungry that even the pods he was feeding the pigs looked good to him. But no one gave him anything. 17 “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! 18 I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, 19 and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’ 20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’ 22 “But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him.
Two weeks ago I was meeting with a prayer client. She had been meeting with me for some sessions and was in the midst of facing some hard decisions. As we came before the Lord inquiring of His thoughts it occurred to her that her trouble was that she has been trying to understand every part of what she was facing.
The Lord revealed that the problem was that she wanted to know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, how to go forward; she was looking for a surety within her own mind and understanding.
The Holy Spirit brought to her mind this verse:
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7 ESV
“And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:7 NASB
“Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 NLT
“You can enter God’s kingdom only through the narrow gate. The [road that leads to destruction]ESV* is broad, and it’s gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.” Matthew 7:13-14 NLT *[highway to hell] NLT
I have become convinced that the wide and the narrow roads that Jesus talks about are not in regards to sin per se, but about our response to sin. The Wide Road experiences sin in shame and condemnation and out of that experience works to rid itself of sin.
The Wide Road is where we put in good works and our own efforts to try and make ourselves right with God. The Wide Road is where we participate in religion that appeases the Gods, that focusses on self, that works to come clean.
“If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.” 1 John 4:18b
The Narrow Road, on the other hand, does not experience sin as condemnation and shame but as a matter-of-fact part of our humanity and our fallenness. The Narrow Road despises the shame and condemnation and instead remains turned toward Jesus Christ the Saviour of our lives.