By Chris WittsTuesday 15 Jul 2014Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes
‘Stupid!’ barked Naaman,Commander-in-chief of the Syrian army when Elisha the Prophet told him to go to the Jordon River and dip in it seven times if he wanted to be healed of leprosy. Having heard about Elisha,the miracle worker in Israel,Naaman,armed with a letter of recommendation from the King of Syria,and thousands of dollars in silver and gold,came to Elisha with the hope of being healed of his dreaded disease of leprosy. Elisha,however,wasn’t influenced by Naaman’s rank and didn’t even come out to greet him. Instead,he sent a messenger to tell Naaman,’Go,wash yourself seven times in the Jordon and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.’ Naaman was furious. ‘”Look”,he said,”I thought at least Elisha would come out and talk to me! I expected him to wave his hands over the leprosy and call upon the name of the Lord his God and heal me! Aren’t the Abana River and Pharpar River of Damascus better then all the rivers in Israel put together? If it’s rivers I need,I’ll wash at home and get rid of my leprosy.” So he went away in a rage.’
Fortunately Naaman’s officers had better sense. They said,’If the prophet had told you to do some great thing,would you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply to go and wash and be cured!’ So Naaman swallowed his pride and did as Elisha instructed him. The result? He was completely healed! He was so grateful he returned to Elisha and implored him to accept the gifts he brought but Elisha would not accept a cent! Had Naaman not been prepared to let go of his dignity he never would have been healed. Neither will those of us who are stuck in an unhappy existence,relational conflicts,or are emotionally or physically sicker than we need to be,unless we are prepared to let go of our dignity and pride and come to God on his terms. His terms are that He will always confront the one thing in our lives that is causing our problems and making us sick.
Applying the following principles can help us face the things in our lives God wants to confront to help us overcome our personal problems and find a greater measure of physical,mental and spiritual health,and to help us fully live and fully love.
First: We need to be childlike (not childish). Jesus said to His disciples,’I tell you the truth,unless you change and become like little children,you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.’
Children,unless they have been squelched,are in touch with their true selves. They don’t hide or stuff their feelings. They don’t put on a false or pseudo-dignified front. They’re real. If we want to overcome our problems and be healed of physical ills,we need to be the same.
Second: Many of our problems and physical ills are symptoms – the fruit of deeper roots. For example,ulcers are not caused by what we eat but by what’s eating us. The ulcers are a symptom of a deeper problem. To be healed we need to ask God to give us the courage to see and deal with the root cause or causes behind our problems and lead us to the help we need to resolve these.
Third: If we have relational conflicts,these too,are often the symptoms of deeper unresolved issues and need to be confronted and resolved.
I was speaking to a divorcee recently who was complaining bitterly about her former husband. ‘And what did you contribute to the marriage break-up?’ I asked. To which she replied,’Nothing. It was my husband. He had an affair.’ What this woman refused to do was to look at herself and,for no other reason,see why she was attracted to the man she married. The reality is,there are no innocent parties in any relational conflict – even if some of us are too ‘nice’. This really means that we are too afraid or too cowardly to be true to ourselves,honest with our feelings,and stand up against evil! Fundamentally,we are as sick or as healthy as the people we are attracted to.
Fourth: We need to get in touch with any repressed negative emotions. Many of our problems and ills are caused by stuffing down feelings we don’t like. For example,some of us when we are angry,smile sweetly and pretend to be someone other than who we are. Consequently,we may become bitter,negative,resentful,passive-aggressive,saccharine sweet or physically,emotionally,spiritually and/or relationally ill.
Fifth: Not only is it imperative that we resolve super-charged negative emotions such as anger,but also guilt,shame,hurt and grief. And then,we need,as the Bible teaches,to forgive any and all who have hurt us.
The negative emotions need to be resolved first. This clears the way for genuine forgiveness which then becomes a choice. Until we forgive,we are bound by the past and will bring all past unresolved issues into our present relationships. In one way or another we will take out unresolved issues on the ones we are closest to – either in an outward hostile manner,through passive-aggressive behaviour or withdrawal (which,with passive-aggressive behaviour,is a devious way of acting out negative emotions and a dirty way to fight).
Sixth: James,the brother of Jesus,points out that if we want to be healed,we need to ‘Confess our sins and faults to one another and then pray for each other to clear the way for our healing.’ Confession of sins can be tough but this too,is essential for total well-being and healing.
Applying these six principles also opens the door for finding true love and intimacy. For finding total wholeness there is one more principle to consider. It is the most important of all.
Finally: Even more tragic is that some of us are too proud or too dignified to acknowledge our sinfulness and come to God on His terms to receive His forgiveness and His gift of eternal life. We reason that if we don’t steal,beat our spouse,etc.,and outwardly live a basic good life that will get us into God’s heaven. What we fail to realise is that in God’s sight,’We have all sinned and fallen short of His standard of perfection’ and that the only way to get into heaven is by coming to God on His terms. That is,by confessing our sinfulness,believing that Jesus,God’s Son,died on the Cross to pay the ransom price for our sins,by thanking Him for doing this and by inviting Him into our heart and life as personal Lord and Saviour.
The fact is God has a plan for every one of us. He wants us to become whole in every area of life,to overcome our personal problems and receive His gift of forgiveness and eternal life. The important thing is to get in on God’s plan which is the only way to total healing,wholeness and receiving eternal life.