A few years ago, I had a sore back just above my hip. At times the pain was so intense that I could barely move. I tried everything I could think of to fix it: strengthening exercises; leg and abdominal stretches; sitting on a swiss ball at work. Nothing I did seem to fix it. Then I mentioned my struggle to a friend of mine and he told me to visit a chiropractor. I had tried just about everything else, so I thought it couldn’t hurt.
The chiropractor I visited was amazing and quickly diagnosed that one of my legs was shorter than the other. He gave me a bit of padding to put in my shoe and voila! my legs were the same length. This was great! The pain would still come back occasionally but it was certainly more manageable.
God had a better solution
Not long after this I was among a group of other believers for a Bible study. One of the young ladies said that she felt that God had given her a healing ministry. I explained about my legs and told her that she could pray for me. I sat with my back against a wall and showed her my uneven legs. She was a bit nervous because she had never done anything like this before but agreed to pray for me. I stood up while she prayed a slow, nervous prayer along the lines of, “Legs, be healed in Jesus name!” I felt nothing. Then I sat back down to check my legs and they were now the same length.
A few weeks after my leg was supernaturally healed, I bumped into an old friend whom I hadn’t seen for years. I used to play cricket with him and I remember he had to stop playing because he had a sore back. I shared with him what had happened to my leg and he was blown away. Then I said this:
“My friend can pray for you for healing for your back. Meet us at a certain time and a certain place and she can pray for you.”
It didn’t cross my mind to pray for him myself. I thought I had to take him to the person who healed me, because she was gifted. Was I right? Is it only certain people who have the gift of healing?
Are some people specially anointed or called by God or can anyone heal the sick?
These sorts of questions are common in Christian circles regarding the use of spiritual gifts. A lot of people believe that only certain specially ‘called’ or ‘anointed’ people can use spiritual gifts.
This blog will focus on who can use the ‘gift of healing’ but the principle is the same for all spiritual gifts.
What did Jesus say? Who can heal people in his name?
The answer is found in Mark 16:16-18:
“Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.””
According to Jesus, the only requirement for supernatural signs is belief.
You don’t need a special anointing or calling or ministry. You just need simple belief.
Now, I know what some of you are thinking right now. Doesn’t the Bible talk about the gift of healing and that only some people can heal? Let’s look a little closer at this. The gift of healing is mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 along with a list of other gifts.
“For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.”
Notice the word ‘the’ in bold above. This word is in English to help our understanding, but it is not in the Greek. The trouble with the word ‘the’ is that it implies there are limited amounts available. This could then lead us to believe that only certain people are given ‘the’ gifts whereas others miss out.
If we have a look at the verse prior to this list of spiritual gifts, we can see what Paul had in mind when referring to these gifts. I will use an expanded translation which more clearly brings out the meaning of each Greek word.
1 Corinthians 12:7:
“To each one there is constantly being given the clearly seen operations of the Spirit with a view to the profit of all.” (Wuest – An expanded translation)
The gifts of the Spirit are not in short supply. They are constantly being given by God to ‘each one’, which means to everyone. Just like the wind constantly blows and everybody feels the effects on their face. It is not just special people who feel it. Anybody can be blown by the wind.
Now that you understand that, here is a paraphrased version of 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 which may help you to see more clearly what Paul meant:
“For to one is given through the Spirit an utterance of wisdom, and to another an utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of a miracle, to another prophecy, to another an ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another an interpretation of tongues.”
Now again I can hear your mind ticking over. “I thought it was God who gives gifts as he wills?” “Surely we can’t choose which one we get?”
This is another huge topic and I will deal with it in my next blog. The blog will shed some more light on the use of spiritual gifts and also ties in 1 Corinthians 14:26, which is one of the favourite verses for those involved in home, simple and organic churches.