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The Trial of Sickness

As we continue our look at Paul’s letter to the Galatians, we come to a point where the Apostle makes a personal comment.  He speaks about his first visit to that area.  He was the first to bring the message of Christ to these people.

I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong.  As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you.  Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn.  Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself.  What has happened to all your joy?  I can testify that, if you could have done so, you would have torn out your eyes and given them to me.
Galatians 4:12-15 (NIV)

Paul brought the Gospel to this region.  When they heard it, they accepted it as from the Lord, Himself.  They turned to Christ wholeheartedly and were saved.  Paul has a fond memory of this time.

But there is a controversy surrounding this passage.  There are those who use it as a proof text to show that God doesn’t want to heal everyone.  They say that this verse shows that Paul suffered from an ongoing eye problem that was never healed.  And, therefore, healing isn’t for everybody.

I believe that Jesus Christ paid for our healing on the cross.  It’s freely available to all who believe.  For a more in-depth look at this subject, you can read my Healing 101 Series and my Healing 201 Series.

For now, I simply want to look at what Paul is actually saying in this passage.  Normally I like the NIV translation because of its simple language.  In this case, however, it hasn’t been very accurate with the original Greek.

I believe that the NKJV is closer to the original.

You know that because of physical infirmity I preached the gospel to you at the first.  And my trial which was in my flesh you did not despise or reject, but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
Galatians 4:13-14 (NKJV)

In these verses, Paul refers to the sickness in two ways.  He first calls it an infirmity in his flesh.  The next thing he calls it is a trial in his flesh.  This is a very important statement in understanding sickness.

Remember this – trials are NEVER meant to be permanent.  Paul said that it was – past tense – in his flesh.  By referring to his sickness as a trial that happened in the past, he is also testifying that his healing has already manifested.  He has no permanent, ongoing eye problem.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.
James 1:2-4

What is the end goal of a trial?  To bring you to the place where you’re not lacking anything.  Are you lacking health?  Consider it a trial bringing you to a place where you’re physically healed and whole.

Christ is the Healer.  Paul believed it.  James believed it.  I believe it.  Don’t let anyone, who doubts the Scripture, steal your joy.  Jesus paid the price for your healing.  Trust Him to bring it to pass.

Question: Do you have a testimony of God’s healing power?

© Nick Zaccardi 2017

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Posted by on September 6, 2017 in Faith, Healing, The Gospel

 

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A Soul at War

mhXQFuIHow healthy is your soul? I’m taking a few posts to talk about soul health and prosperity. Most people ignore the health of their soul. It’s just like the health of your body.

Some people just assume that they’re healthy. They go to the gym, but then smoke 2 packs a day. There are Christians who treat their soul the same way. Yet it’s the most important part of my being.

My soul determines who I am. It decides whether I listen to my spirit or my flesh. It’s important that my soul be healthy and attentive.

Your environment plays a big issue. What do you allow yourself to be exposed to? The Apostle Peter had this to say about Lot, Abraham’s nephew.

…for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard.
2 Peter 2:8

Because he moved into the wicked city of Sodom, Lot placed himself in a position of constant attack on his soul. Many of us do the same things. The movies we watch, the music we listen to, and the friends we spend time with all have an effect on us.

In Lot’s case, it caused him to compromise and eventually he lost everything he held dear. That’s because when we chase after the world system, it affects the health of our soul.

Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.
1 Peter 2:11

We need this attitude. The knowledge that this world system is not my home. I belong to a different Kingdom. I’m simply a stranger passing through. I live by a different set of laws.

The word abstain in the above verse literally means to keep your distance from. We need to understand that the closer we get to the world, the more we want what they have. These desires cause a conflict in our souls.

Unfortunately, it’s not a fierce fire fight that we can win with one decisive strike. No, instead it’s a constant siege. It wears down our strength little by little until we find ourselves in a position we never thought we would ever be in.

If you want to maintain the strength and health of your soul, then you’ll need to be careful how close you get to the world. Obviously, we can’t live like monks. We need to go to work, school, and other daily activities.

What we don’t need to do is adopt their standards. We can’t live by their lifestyles. Our foundation for living is in the Word of God and our strength is in the Holy Spirit.

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
Psalm 62:1-2

That’s why time with the Lord is so important. It’s where we find rest from the constant siege of the world. As we remain in Christ, we find that our soul has the health we need to overcome in this life.

Question: How often do you find your rest in Christ?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2014 in Prayer, Spiritual Warfare

 

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Your Soul is Important

MirrorIt’s important to keep our soul healthy and prosperous. Probably even more than the physical. That’s because what happens in your soul is the foundation for the rest of your life.

Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers. (NKJV)
3 John 2-3

Soul prosperity is the basis for physical prosperity and health. Of course there are those who say that this is just a greeting. They teach that you can’t trust God to perform this in your life based upon this verse.

Wasn’t it the Holy Spirit who inspired John to write this? If so, then it should be applicable to my life. What about the Apostle Paul? When he greets the church by saying “Grace and peace through the Lord Jesus Christ,” does that negate the truth of it? The truth is that the blessings we experience in our Christian walk are directly tied to how our soul prospers. That brings up a question. What is my soul and how does it prosper? I want to post about this for a bit.

So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual.
1 Corinthians 15:45-46

In the above passage, the word natural is the word soulish in the Greek. Right now we have inherited a soulish body from Adam. That means that our body responds to commands from our soul – which is our mind. It’s who you are. The soul includes your personality and all of your memories.

It’s the Greek word psyche. It’s where we get our English word psychology, which means the study of the soul. Your soul is the real you. That’s why the Scripture refers to people as souls.

When I speak or write, it’s your soul that I want to communicate with. I don’t just want to stimulate your eyes and ears. It’s the person on the inside that matters.

Even animals have souls – but they don’t have a spirit. That’s what sets us apart from them. Yet without using the spirit, our lives are not much better than the animals.

When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.
Psalms 73:21-22

That’s what humanity is like without Christ. We end up storing up nuts like squirrels. Or constantly searching to mate, like dogs.

The fact is that if you want a good life with health and prosperity, then you need your soul to prosper. Our problem is that we usually don’t take good care of our souls. We let things slide and then wonder why our lives get messed up. I want to take a few posts to look at what it takes to get your soul in shape.

Question: What are the characteristics of a healthy soul?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2014 in Healing, Revival

 

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Healing 101 – Where Does Sickness Come From? #Christthehealer

MissIn my last post I showed that sickness is not a part of the curse and therefore, not authored by God.  If that’s the case, then where did sickness and disease come from?

Before the fall, Adam and Eve could not get sick or die.  Sickness and disease were never in God’s plan for mankind.

It didn’t come from Satan either.  He can’t create anything.  The enemy can only use sickness if it serves his purposes.

Where did sickness and disease come from?

Think about it – when Adam chose to walk the path of sin, all of creation fell from the perfection of God’s original plan.  Humans, plants, and animals all fell into imperfection (Missing the mark).  Sickness was birthed as a direct result of that fall.

It turns out that all disease can be fit into one of three categories:

1. Animal Attacks – All viruses and bacteria are microscopic animals.  God never intended for them to attack the human body.  But because of sin entering the world, they have missed the mark of God’s perfect will.

2. Genetic Imperfections – Many diseases are passed down from generation to generation.  They’re not a part of God’s original plan, but because our DNA is now imperfect, there are genetic sicknesses.

3. Mistreatment of the Body – It’s a fact that alcoholism, drug addiction, smoking, gluttony, and sexual sins can cause or pass along many deadly diseases.  It’s beyond question that these actions miss the mark of how God wants us to treat our bodies.  There are also things that we do to hurt our bodies that we don’t even know we’re doing.

It’s clear that all sickness misses the mark of God’s perfect health.

Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Matthew 5:48

How perfect is God?  Does He get sick?  That may seem like a preposterous question, but if He can’t be touched by sickness, why would He ever want us to be sick?  It was never a part of His plan for creation.

Sickness and disease came upon the earth as a part of the total package of sin.  When Adam chose to miss the mark of God’s glory, he embraced all that sin had to offer.  We usually only think about the evil side of sin – things like adultery, lies, and murder.  Remember, Adam and Eve ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil!

God created Adam perfect.  He had a perfect memory.  His DNA was perfect.  Everything about him was perfect.  The “sin package” changed all that.  Now, because of the “sin nature”, we forget things, get sick, and do evil, as well as a host of other symptoms.

Sickness is a part of the sin package.

BE CAREFUL!  I did not say that every sickness is caused by some sin committed by the person.  The disciples thought that and were rebuked by Jesus.  Sickness and disease are not caused by the sins we commit, but are a manifestation of the sin nature that Adam embraced.

As I close this post, let me summarize.  Sickness was not given as a part of the curse.  Rather it entered the world through sin.  Now mankind has inherited the tendency to “miss the mark” of the perfect health that God had created Adam to enjoy.

In my next post we will begin to look at the association between sickness and sin throughout both the Old and New Testaments.

Question: What happens when we want to keep part of the sin package (like greed) and get rid of other parts (like sickness)?

© Nick Zaccardi 2014

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2014 in Healing

 

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Are You Setting Yourself Up for Offense? #wordofGod

RockyI’m posting about the different “heart soils” in Luke 8.  Today I’ll deal with the rocky soil.  This is about rocks with only a thin layer of dirt to cover them.  The seed germinates and springs up quickly.  But just as quick, the sun comes out, scorches the plant, and it withers and dies.

Jesus explained the spiritual application this way.

“Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.”
Luke 8:13

This verse literally says is that these people receive the Word in the middle of joy.  It sounds like camp meeting to me.  There’s excitement in the air.  The whole atmosphere of the meeting is charged with a heavenly joy.  It’s easy to believe in a place like that.

We’re not talking about people who don’t believe what they hear.  They believe it’s for them.  The problem is that what has sprung up so quickly, also withers just as quick.  What is it that withers?

For, “All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you.
1 Peter 1:24-25

What withers is the glory of man.  This type of person hears the Word and believes that it’s “all about me.”  That’s why there’s all the joy and excitement.  They think that the Word is for my blessing, health, and prosperity.  Forget about what God’s ultimate purpose is.  It’s me that’s important.

The Lord says that in this rocky heart there is some faith exhibited for a while, but it doesn’t last long.  Eventually trials and testings will come.  When this happens, Jesus literally says that they will become offended.  Why does Christ use this word?

When I go through a time of testing, I realize that it’s not all about me.  I get offended that I’m not the center of all the attention.  I don’t want the spotlight on Christ and what He’s trying to accomplish in me.  I want the priority to be my comfort and happiness.  The result is that I get offended and walk away from the Lord and His plan for my life.

If I want my heart prepared for an abundant harvest, I must assume that the Word of God spotlights Jesus Christ.  I must desire to know His heart.  There are many who read the Bible and pursue God only for what they can get from Him.  The big question on their minds is, “What’s in it for me?”

Instead, we should be focusing on God’s eternal purpose – to draw all humanity into His kingdom.  The blessings of God are great, but they’re not an end in and of themselves.

God has promised us prosperity, but it’s to finance the spread of the Gospel.  God has promised us health and healing, but it’s so that we can minister the Good News of His love to the best of our ability.

All the promises of God should be viewed through the filter of God’s will and plans.  That’s what’s missing in the shallow faith of rocky soil.  We need to keep our hearts clear of the rocks of self-centeredness.

Question: How is God working through you to bring about His purpose?

© Nick Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on October 15, 2013 in Word of God

 

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