Spiritual Gifts- Healing
The fourth gift listed in 1 Corinthians 12 is “healing”, literally “gifts of healing.”
Healing refers to the supernatural ability to restore to wholeness a person who is broken in some way. Paul probably refers to this as gifts of healing because there are many ways in which people may need to be healed- physical, emotional, psychological, relational, social.
There are also many ways in which healing may be administered- laying on of hands, anointing with oil, prayer in the person’s language, prayer in tongues. Jesus once spat in the dirt and made mud to apply to a blind man’s eyes (John 9:6). In Acts, we are told that people would bring the sick onto the streets so that Peter’s shadow might fall on them and they would be healed (Acts 5:15).
At the heart of the ministry of healing is the fundamental fact that God did not create human beings for sickness and death. It was Adam and Eve’s sin that brought death and sickness into the world, but now Christ’s death has reversed this curse.
When God recreates the heavens and the earth there will be no more sickness, death or grieving. We will once again live in perfect fellowship with God and sin will no longer impede the relationship.
In the meantime, christians have the blessing of healing gifts through the presence of the Holy Spirit. Because we are imperfect and are still affected by the law of sin and death, people still become sick and people still die. Unlike Jesus who had a perfect track record with healing, we don’t always get it right and we don’t always have the necessary faith to see complete healing take place. That does not mean we shouldn’t try and learn to work in this gift.
For many years, I have prayed against colds and flu each winter. Most years, I remain free of these conditions, although some years they sneak through. I have found that if I pray in faith, binding the disease as soon as symptoms show up, I prevent it from developing into something more severe.
This gift, perhaps more than other gifts, relies on both the faith of the healer and the faith of the person being healed. Placing hands on the person or anointing with oil are ways of building faith by providing a visible connection between the healer, the healed and the Holy Spirit.
It helps after praying to ask the person if there is any noticeable improvement, perhaps asking them to do something they previously could not do, or if there is a change in pain levels. If there is partial healing, we can pray again. Even Jesus did this at least once (Mark 8:24).
Some healing ministers say that we should not pray to the Father, but directly address the disease or the affected body part. They say that this is the way Jesus worked. That probably is not so important, as long as we have faith that Jesus is present to heal.
The test of faith for healing is not “Do you believe God can heal?”, but “Do you believe God wants to heal you of this condition now?” That is the level of faith that God responds to. Too many people profess a theoretical belief in healing, but even the Devil believes that. Healing happens when we believe God is here right now to heal this problem.
So how do we grow in this gift? By doing it! Start by asking God to lead you in the ministry of healing. Then when a friend or relative is ill, offer to pray with them. Don’t rush for the Panadol when someone gets a head ache, but pray first. Learn some key scriptures about healing and soak them into your heart.
This gift works in concert with other gifts such as faith and word of knowledge. As you step out in faith and believe that God is able to heal, you will find times when you work in the other gifts as well.
Don’t be discouraged when people are not healed straight away. This is not your fault. Ask the Lord to give you more insight into how He heals and how you can work with Him.
The gifts of healing are as important as ever, even though medical science is much more advanced than in Biblical times. God is still present to heal people.