Amazingly, there are three genuine paths to the healing of our bodies and these exactly correspond to the three parts of our nature: body, soul and spirit. The world around us focuses upon one area, that of physical healing, and one means for healing, that of doctors and medicine. Before I go any further, let me hasten to say that I love doctors and medicine! I’ve got no beef with them at all, nor am I advocating for any of the “alternative medicine” approaches. I cast a baleful eye upon anything that can’t explain how it works, or where its power is coming from. But using material means to heal physical bodies (as our science-based medical field does) is straight-forward, totally legitimate, and of immense, though limited potential.
As a Christian I naturally believe in the second legitimate path of healing: prayer. By going to God in prayer, we are moving through the spiritual side of our nature to seek God for healing the physical part of us. Jesus has healed me many times over the course of my 33 years of knowing Him. He has also healed others through me, though prayer for physical healing has not (so far) been one of my strongest gifts. Nevertheless, this path to healing—so long as it doesn’t stray into shamanism and the dark arts—is genuine, well-known and unlimited in potential.
There is, however, a third legitimate path to healing that is not as well-known, and certainly not as vigorously practiced as the other two. It costs nothing. It requires no special equipment or training. It is practically guaranteed to work, if worked rightly. Curiously, it always has side benefits that are, themselves, superior to the physical healing which is its goal. And finally, it has scientific support, but best practiced with faith and prayer—an odd conjunction to say the least. What is this mysterious marvel? Nothing other than healing the body through mending the soul!
This is so tasty a truth that I hope you will stay with me as I seek to prepare (what I hope will be) a feast for your understanding. The basic ingredients are ones you are familiar with; the way they combine may surprise and delight you.
1) Three Parts to Our Nature
2) Three Paths to Healing
3) The Order of Creation
4) The Boundaries of Healing
5) A Progression for Healing
That we have three parts to our nature is a truth we draw from scripture, not science. Science can tell us nothing about the most important part: our spirit. The Bible, however, is very direct in listing the three parts and in reassuring us that the Lord desires to fully restore us (“keep blameless”) in all three areas of our being.
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 ESV
This scripture not only tells us that we are body, soul and spirit in our makeup; it also indicates that our complete “sanctification” in all three areas requires a work of God. If we think of sanctification as purifying and cleansing us, we will easily see the connection to healing us, so that we may be re-made “whole” in every sense of the word.
Healing necessarily requires sanctification, because everything wrong in creation traces back to some originating sin, never to God’s good will. That’s good news, because as Christians we know that God dealt with the curse of sin at the cross. Our God of “great grace” is committed to our total healing no matter how the disorder came about. Watch how this plays out in the three parts of our nature.
1. Body. We all know that the body needs healing at times, but let’s break it down into the main categories. Setting the issue of aging aside, there are three conditions that our medical science seeks to remedy: injury, infectious disease, and the so-called “incurable diseases.” The medical field has made huge advances with mending injuries and curing infectious diseases. The real problem is with the third group. From heart attacks to headaches, from constipation to cancer we are vulnerable to a tremendous array of diseases and disorders which our medical science cannot cure, only manage. One doctor told me most of the time all he can do with his patients is assign a “maintenance protocol”—an improvement, but not a solution. There will be more on this as we go on.
2. Soul. I shy away from using this word most of the time, because a) it seems too pretentious to use it, or b) it really can’t be used without explaining just what you mean by it. Once the poets and song writers got hold of it, “soul” became an indefinable quality of life. Let’s set the mysticism aside and go with the classic description of soul as intellect, emotion and will. That pretty well covers the non-physical part of us, so long as we add conscious and unconscious to the mix.
Basically your soul is you, including the stuff in the basement. In the realm of our soul, we need healing like a river bed needs water. We need truth for our minds, right believing for our hearts and yielding to God for our wills. Only then is our soul at peace. All else is dis-ease and that is something we were never intended to experience. Anger, worry, fear, depression, shame and guilt (just to name a few) are genuine and wide-spread diseases of the soul. Our need for healing of the soul is immense!
3. Spirit. This is the side of ourselves that we wouldn’t even know is there, were it not for Christian revelation. We certainly would never have guessed that we were born spiritually “dead”, if scripture hadn’t set the record straight. Yet, the disconnect from God that everyone is born with and everyone senses, confirms the Biblical view. That dead spirit is the seed bed of the flesh—our carnal or fallen nature. Strictly speaking, what our spirit needs is not healing, but resuscitation or replacement. God opted for replacement, telling us long ago through Ezekiel that He was planning to put a “new spirit” within us.
This is exactly what happens when we place our faith in God, believing in and trusting to what Jesus has done for us at the cross. We are “reborn from above”—given a new spirit that is forever alive to Him. From that point on we don’t have to worry about our spirit. God seals us to Himself by the Holy Spirit who now indwells us and seats us (spiritually) with Christ in the heavenly realms. However, our spiritual healing and wholeness can only become complete in this life when we yield to God enough to trust and obey Him in the present moment. Only then do we live in the deep peace our spirit already enjoys.
Isn’t it interesting that we have three parts to our nature and three paths to healing? Of course you may not have thought much about the third path or have had much belief in the second. I would have been totally in that boat, had not Christian conversion intercepted by life over 33 years ago. Since then, I have had the good fortune of seeing all three of them work stupendously for me at different times. As much as I am in debt to the first two, it’s that little-known third path that really has captured my heart. Let’s go through all three.
1. Doctors and Medicine. This is the one we think of first, especially if we live in the developed countries. Naturally, we go to doctors for anything that goes wrong with our bodies and with good reason. Modern medical science is a true science (unlike psychology, sociology, etc.). It deals with identifiable problems in the material realm by experimentally proven material means: surgery, vaccines, and medicines. For the most part it makes no pretense about healing the soul or spirit; it sticks to what it does best, which is concentrating on mending our physical being.
The main problem with this approach, as we have seen, is that there is a whole huge class of disorders for which no cures are available. This pain-filled gap in its progress pushes some people towards seeking cures (or relief of symptoms) through “alternative” medical practices, diet and exercise, or the two remaining paths for real healing.
2. Prayer to God. As Christians we know that prayer works. Only when it comes to healing, it doesn’t seem to work as well as it should. We need it to work with immediacy and with totality—just as it usually did in the Bible. This tells me that we still have a long way to go to recover the faith and Holy Spirit assisted power that was so clearly available to the Early Church. Just as with medical science in the issue cited above, this represents a painful gap in our knowledge and experience.
The statistics from double-blind studies prove that people who are being prayed for have better outcomes from hospital stays and procedures, than those who aren’t. But those who are in Christian healing ministries know that our batting average for divine healing is getting better, but it isn’t out of the cellar yet. Nevertheless, when we go to God directly in prayer, we are clearly attempting to access a tried and proven, totally “legitimate” pathway of healing. Our frustration with it, however, is pressing us towards the third path.
3. Mending the Heart. Because of research into the mind-body connection, we now have a scientific basis for this third path to healing. A landslide of scientific evidence has shown that emotional stress (conscious and unconscious) undermines, even destroys, our physical health. Emotional stress is already a sign of dis-ease in the soul. But it goes further, because the peace God can give us, if it is ruling in our hearts, also upholds our physical health. The one thing that ensures our bodies can throw off any disease, especially infectious ones, is a fully functioning immune system. Stress pulls the immune system down. The one thing that ensures that all of our body systems will be functioning at ideal levels—homeostasis—is inner peace. Stress is the antithesis of inner peace.
I have seen amazing cures happen when people got free of what was deeply distressing them—by carrying their heart to God and getting His release. There’s far more it than this, but even this cursory view is enough to show that if we could mend our hearts and minds, so that we live more fully in the peace of God, our bodies could live more completely in freedom from disease.
Joy, peace and emotional freedom are the greatest boosters of our immune systems! Remember the “incurable diseases” that our medical science is unable to defeat, only maintain? These can also be called the stress-related diseases. If stress isn’t the cause every time, it may be an important contributing agent. Why not deal with it?
These three paths can be taken in any order, though most of us probably go to doctors first. If that fails, we might call on God. If that doesn’t get results, we might in desperation work on the heart. Many people probably don’t know that the third option exists. That’s one reason I’m writing this article.
A greater problem is that people (in my experience) are usually reluctant to work on their hearts. Some of the reasons are: a) we don’t know how to do it ourselves, b) we have tried in the past and failed to get free, c) we would rather bury the past than put the effort into mending it, d) we don’t trust anyone enough to open up, or e) we don’t really believe that God’s ways work. In fact, the Lord has 5 proven ways of mending anyone of past or present emotional pain and mental stress. That’s another article (See “Mending the Broken Heart” at our website). For now, let’s see what the order in creation can tell us about these paths.
Is there a hierarchy to our three-part nature and, if so, how might this impact the paths of our healing? The Bible reveals to us that a spiritual Being, God, created everything. That puts His Spirit squarely into first place in the universe. Our spirit, therefore, takes first place in the ordering of our three-part nature. This is evident in two ways: Unless our spiritual being is mended, our soul and body will never be able to come into proper alignment. In addition, our spiritual being is also the everlasting side of us. According to Jesus, both body and soul can be “destroyed” in hell. Not so the spirit which is left to endure eternal punishment.
Ok, that’s a depressing thought, so let’s quickly turn to see what’s next in line. Our soul, certainly, takes second place, also for two reasons: Our bodies are servants of our soul. Whatever intellect, emotion and decides, the body does, not the other way around. Furthermore, when we do die (let’s say as Christians this time), our soul will rise with our spirit to heaven, though it may need cleansing along the way. Our bodies will be left for burning or burial, clearly indicating their inferior status.
We are spiritual beings who have a soul and who live in a body. There’s the hierarchy: first the spirit, then the soul, then the body. Now, what can this tell us about our paths to healing? This divinely established hierarchy, sets boundaries. If we don’t understand the realities we are dealing with, much heartache or wasted effort can result. Since our God has placed hierarchy and order in creation, we will move most powerfully into His purposes, if we stay attentive to the boundaries He has set.
Now that we have the basic ingredients assembled, let’s see the fascinating ways that they can combine. The divinely created hierarchy sets the boundaries for what is normally possible:
1. Spirit. Our spirit can only be healed by one means: by God directly. It takes God’s Word, faith and the working of God’s Spirit to restore genuine spiritual life, where there had once been only death. Nothing else can accomplish this. The spirit cannot be healed by the workings of our own inner life (soul) or by any physical exertion on our part.
2. Soul. Our soul (our inner life) can be healed by two means: by God directly, or through the mending of our heart. The heart is the deepest thing about us, so deep only the Lord can effectively search its hidden depths. The heart holds images and memory, retains our deepest beliefs, influences our thoughts and releases our emotions. Jesus said that “out of the heart” both good and evil issue forth. Solomon urges us to “guard our hearts with diligence” for that very reason (Proverbs 4:23).
Mending the heart can be done by God directly through prayer alone. More often, however, God works through many things that require our active cooperation to produce the transformations which heal our hearts: the renewing of our mind by His Word and by carrying of the deep thoughts of our heart captive to Christ, especially during times of trial. These are two common means.
Things in our deep heart cannot be cured by merely physical remedies. A pill, for instance, can change the way a person feels, but only as long as the medicine is working. But let a person, effectively deal with any issue before the Lord, and they can resolve that issue forever.
3. Body. Our body can be healed by three means: by God through prayer, through the heart by freeing it of stress and restoring our soul (our inner life) to the peace of Christ, and by natural means (doctors, medicines, procedures, and other remedies).
This ordering of creations explains why there are three legitimate paths for healing our bodies and shows us how we can go about it, fully expecting that the Lord is behind each one. It does show us, however, that there is a progression for healing that we need to understand, if we want to become more fully healed and more completely free.
Turning this dynamic hierarchy around we see that through our spiritual connection to God any area of our life (mental, emotional, physical) can be directly healed or restored by God. This not only gives us our three paths to healing, it also shows us their limitations.
1. First. The first, highest and best path to healing is prayer. God’s power supersedes all else. If we are healed directly by God through prayer, what could be better? This prayer pathway is well-known but underdeveloped in anything like its true potential. However, it does have a drawback. It sometimes happens that, if the cause of the disease of body or dis-ease of soul is not mended, then even the healing God produces by His Spirit can be overthrown. A person’s broken heart may reasserts itself in some other way.
2. Second. The second path is healing the soul by mending the heart. This path has the potential to produce the deepest and most elegant cure. The root issue of many, if not all, disease is the stress effect upon our bodies. Relieve the soul from carrying its burden of stress (either from past trauma or present problems) and the body can spring back into life. Not only is the heart mended, but the body might be as well. That’s a tremendous bargain—two for one!
Admittedly, this is not as easy as it sounds, for we are only at the beginning of tracing the mind-emotion-body connections and mending the interior life. Too few people take this path seriously, though most everyone acknowledges the reality of stress’ effect upon the body. Nevertheless, if a disease has its root in the soul, then the most direct path for healing the body is to heal the soul of that which is wounding it.
3. Third. The third path is seeking to heal the body through natural, physical means. This is the one we spend the most money on: doctors, medicine and natural remedies. We have absolutely nothing against doctors or medicine, provided that the Lord is always consulted first and that a person looks to God to lead the way. However, since this path bypasses the heart, which may hold the true answers, the disease might return, the medicines or surgical procedure might lose their effectiveness, or the nexus of symptoms will show up elsewhere. How much better would it be to “take the axe to the root of the tree” and deal with any emotional stress that might be triggering this disease or this array of symptoms?
You can’t lose: If your heart gets mended and your body doesn’t, you still come out ahead!
Why don’t you consider taking our eCourse for healing? It’s absolutely free and just may be the best investment of your time you could every make.
1. We can go directly to God through prayer—bypassing both our hearts and our bodies.
2. We can go after the root of the problem embedded in the heart. This can lead to physical healing and always leads to spiritual release and freedom.
3. We can relieve the symptoms and sometimes produce a cure by dealing directly with the body itself through doctors and medicine.
May the Lord bless you with fully restored health to your body, soul and spirit!