God’s will is for every person to be healed. Jesus is the perfect example of God’s will.
God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
What Jesus did was good, healing all who were oppressed of the devil. The Bible reveals that in the last days people will call evil “good” and good “evil” (Isa. 5:20). In Jesus’ day, He said it was good that He healed the sick. Today, there are denominations who contend that healing the sick is of the devil. They’re calling good “evil” and evil “good.” Acts 10:38 reveals that it was the devil who was oppressing these people with sickness. Nowadays, entire denominations are saying, “When you get sick, it’s God doing this to you. He’s humbling you.” They’ve totally flip-flopped, calling good “evil” and evil “good.”
If you cannot discern between what God is doing and what the devil is doing, you won’t know what to resist and what to yield to. If you don’t understand these truths, how are you ever going to see the power of God manifested in your life or manifested in the life of others through you?
Are you blaming God for the tragedies in your life? James 1:2–4 says:
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
These verses have been twisted and misused to teach that God controls everything in your life. If someone hadn’t already been prejudiced with that concept, they wouldn’t get that out of these verses. It’s like an old dirt road that wagons have been going up and down for years. The ruts are so deep you can’t even begin to go down that road without slipping into them. Some of us have thought a certain way so long that when we hear something, we automatically transpose, translate, and interpret it in a way contrary to what the scripture is actually saying.
James 1:2–4 does not say that God puts troubles in your life to give you patience. Yet, that’s what people teach out of these verses. “If you want patience, then be praying for trouble because tribulation works patience.”
Romans 15:4 says:
For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Notice it says “through patience and comfort of the scriptures.” The scriptures are where patience comes from.
Patience is simply faith applied over a prolonged period of time. Instead of a momentary faith, patience is prolonged, enduring faith. Patience is when you just believe and keep believing. Romans 15:4 says that patience comes through the scriptures.
So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Just as patience comes through the Word, so does faith. They are also both fruit of the Spirit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is…longsuffering [patience], …faith.
When you were born again, God gave you faith and patience. They are fruit of your brand-new, born-again spirit.
Patience doesn’t come through hardship. If it did, then the people who have suffered the most would be the most patient. That’s not true. I defy you to show me that people who have had it the hardest are going to be the most holy, godly, and patient. Patience does not come through hardship and tribulation. However, if you already have patience through the Word of God and the fruit of the Holy Spirit on the inside of you, it has to be used before it reaches its full strength.
In 1969, I was drafted into the Army. They sent me through basic training to learn how to be a soldier—how to fire a weapon, throw hand grenades, and many other things. Once I arrived in Vietnam, I joked about people who were brand-new in the country because they were dangerous. All they had was head knowledge, they had never put into practice what they had learned. Even though these soldiers were trained the same as everyone else there, there’s a depth of understanding about how to use that training that comes when you put it into practice. You become a better soldier when you are attacked and have to put your training into practice, than you were when you just went through basic training and only had intellectual knowledge. There’s a difference between intellectual knowledge and experiential knowledge.
However, a soldier doesn’t go looking for experiential knowledge. He doesn’t stand up and say, “Right now, I know that all I have is intellectual knowledge. I really need someone to come along and attack me so that I can become a better soldier.” Then when he sees the enemy coming, he doesn’t run out to embrace and welcome them because this enemy has come to make him better. No, that’s not how it works. You’ll get killed doing that. The enemy does not come to make you better. They come to kill you.
Problems are not given by God to make you better. If you think they are, then you’ll welcome and embrace those problems as being from the Lord. You’ll attribute evil to God, which is wrong, and Satan will use that to kill you.
If you recognize that your problem isn’t from God and say, “I’m going to fight this, and when I overcome it, I’ll be stronger because I’ll have put what I knew in my head into practice,” then, yes, that’s good. In fact, that’s the whole point James 1:2–4 is teaching us. These verses aren’t saying that God puts problems on you any more than it would make sense to say that an enemy comes against you to make you a better soldier. They come against you to kill you.
There are certain things you need to submit to, and others you need to resist.
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Extreme teaching on the sovereignty of God—where He controls everything—renders this verse useless. If God controls everything and nothing happens without Him willing or allowing it, then what’s the purpose in resisting anything? It all came from God and if you resist it, you’ll wind up resisting Him. This wrong understanding makes for passive Christians. Unfortunately, this currently describes the vast majority of the body of Christ.
When it comes to sickness, they waver. They say, “Maybe this is from God and maybe not. Lord, would You please heal me, if it be Your will?” They just throw their prayer out there, and if they get healed, then it must have been God’s will. If they don’t get healed, their number must have been up. What a stupid theology! Nobody’s ever going to receive from God wavering like that.
Actively Fight Against
A certain preacher was asked if he tithed. He answered, “Sure I do. I take every offering I receive and put it in this big bucket. Then I throw it up in the air, praying, ‘God, if You want anything, go ahead and take it. Whatever falls back to the ground is mine.’” You’ll never give a tithe doing that. You have to be a little more deliberate.
To throw your prayer out there, saying, “God, if it’s Your will, then heal me. If it’s not, then it must be Your will that I’m suffering the way that I am,” is just as senseless as trying to tithe by throwing your money up in the air and asking the Lord to take what He wants. It doesn’t work that way. There are certain things that are from God. You submit to those. There are other things that are from the devil. You must resist those.
Resist means to actively fight against. If you don’t actively fight against something, then you have submitted to it. Saying, “Dear Satan, please leave me alone,” is not resisting the devil. You need to get angry and there’s no way you can get angry if you think there is a possibility that God has a hand in your suffering.
The congregation of a little church I had begun pastoring wanted to invite a certain preacher to come and minister. I told them no because I didn’t know him. They argued, “Well, he was here before you were.” I agreed to listen to one of his previous messages on tape. In this message he taught on Romans 8:28, saying that everything comes from God.
This preacher admitted that he had a demonic lust in his heart for women. While preaching, he would be lusting after the women who were sitting in the auditorium. He said it got so bad that he finally told his wife. They decided to go for deliverance to have this demon cast out of him. As he went to get in his car to go to the appointment, he put his hand on the doorknob and a voice he attributed to God (I don’t believe it was) spoke to him, saying, “You couldn’t have this problem if I didn’t allow it. I’ve sent this to teach you patience and to make you holier and better. If you get this demon cast out, you’re going to thwart my will.” So this preacher canceled his appointment and kept his demon because he felt that God had given it to him to make him better.
God Allowed It?
Most people would say that no way would God will for someone to keep a demon in their life. Well, it’s all the same principle as believing that God would will for you to keep sickness, death, or lack in your life. How can you just interpret sovereignty this way up to a point, and then say, “Oh no, I don’t believe that”?
I heard a woman being interviewed on television once. A man had abducted both she and her daughter at gunpoint. He took them out into a remote location and raped them. Then he laid both of them down on the ground and shot them in the back of the head, execution style. The daughter died, but the mother lived, despite having some physical problems because of the ordeal. There she was on television saying, “All things work together for good. God allowed it, and He’s getting glory out of it.”
Most of us would reject this thinking and say that God had no part in that. Why not? If God is truly sovereign in the religious sense of the word where He controls everything and nothing can happen without His permission, that means God is the One who’s in charge of all the terrorist attacks, rapes, deformities, and problems in this world. You can’t just accept this teaching when it’s convenient to your situation and then say, “Beyond that, I believe it’s impractical.” No. Either it’s true, or it isn’t.
This teaching is not true. God doesn’t control these horrible things, nor does He cause them. This passage from James 1 is saying that when you come into tribulation, rejoice. But not because God brought it. You must resist that tribulation knowing that it is from the devil, but it’s an opportunity to put your faith to work. As you work your faith, you’ll get experience, and experience will give you hope. You’ll be stronger and better because you stood against, resisted, and fought the devil. But if you just sit there, roll over, and let these problems dominate your thinking, Well, it must be God’s will, you aren’t going to be better or stronger. You’ll be destroyed by these tribulations.
Good God, Bad Devil
The religious teachings of today completely violate James 1:12–13.
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.
Those religious teachings are saying that our temptation, hardship, trial, and persecutions are directly from God who is trying to build in us patience.
In context, these verses are really saying that these temptations, trials, and tribulations will help your patience become stronger as you put it into practice and exercise it like a muscle. But don’t ever say that these temptations, trials, and tribulations are from God. Don’t ever do that! Yet, the religious teachings today are preaching the exact opposite, saying that God is the source of tragedy. That’s a faith-killer.
Jesus made it very clear:
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
If it’s good, it’s God. If it’s bad, it’s the devil. God is a good God. The devil is a bad devil. Any time you get that confused, start embracing problems, and saying, “Oh God, I know You sent this to break me, humble me, and make me better,” you have just crossed over into the extreme religious teaching on the sovereignty of God. It’s a faith-killer. It will destroy you and render you useless.
People who think that the Lord’s will is coming to pass with or without their input, have to blame God for the bad things that are happening in the world. They think it’s God’s fault that our nation is becoming increasingly ungodly and secular. They blame God for the abortion of more than 42 million babies in the U.S., thinking that they couldn’t have been killed if it wasn’t His will. Not only does this mindset give you a skewed opinion of who God is, it’ll destroy your relationship with Him as well.
If I were the one being blamed for sending hurricanes, tornadoes, tragedies, sickness, disease, divorce, heartbreak, and rebellious kids, would you want to be my friend? If you thought I was the one responsible for killing and maiming people, would you want to hang out with me? Yet religion says that God is responsible for all that stuff and then asks, “Don’t you love Him?” We put on our most religious face and say, “Oh yes, I really love God,” and then we duck, afraid that if we’ve done something wrong, He might put cancer on us to teach us a lesson because we deserve it. That’s double-minded thinking and it’s destroying people’s relationship with God.
One of the leading media moguls in the United States owns a bunch of television networks. He was raised in a religious home. His sister died when they were children and the church people came over and told this boy, “God wanted your sister. It was His will that your sister died.” This man said, “If there is a God, I hate Him for killing my sister.” Today, he professes to be an agnostic and is doing all he can to change the Judeo-Christian ethics of the United States through his television networks. He’s doing a fairly good job by introducing all kinds of ungodliness. Religious people represented the Lord as the One who killed his sister, and he turned against a God who would do that.
There are a lot of people in this nation who are turning against this God who is being represented as the One who sent the terrorist attacks, earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes. Religious leaders publicly attribute these things to the judgment of God. For example, Hurricane Katrina was attributed by some religious leaders to be the judgment of God. If the Lord started judging, He wouldn’t have stopped at New Orleans. Hurricanes and other disasters are not the judgment of God. They are simply part of living in a fallen, sin-scarred world. As for Hurricane Katrina, the senseless plan of building a city below sea level and then building a large lake above the city held back by levies contributed to this catastrophe, too. It certainly wasn’t God’s fault.