When to Live is NOT Christ (2): Testimony 7

If God’s will is for health and life, then what has gone wrong?
Why has my health failed to such a serious extent?

If I could sum this up in one word, I’d probably say “compromise”.
If I had to sum it up with a more accurate word, I’d have to say “disobedience”.
In reality both reflect the same truth.

It doesn’t matter how much Bible someone reads.
It doesn’t matter how much a person refers to the Bible.
It doesn’t matter how much a person points to the Bible as God’s word and ultimate doctrinal authority.

Blessed are those who HEAR the word of God and OBEY it (Luke 11).

Reading and promoting scripture are fruitless activities IF we ourselves are not hearing it AND obeying it.
It has to be LIVED, not merely read and taught.

Importantly we need to be sure of what IS the word of God and know how to distinguish it from man’s interpretations and traditions, and then we have to live as if the word of God can REALLY be trusted to be THE authority upon which our beliefs and actions have their foundation.

So why has my health failed to such a serious extent?

Because I allowed far too many other things take priority over obedience to Him and His word.

I prioritised man’s trivia instead of God’s commission.
And the promise of health and a full life is conditional.

do not forget my teaching,
but keep my commands in your heart,
for they will prolong your life many years…

…Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord and shun evil.
This will bring health to your body
and nourishment to your bones.
(Proverbs 3)

18 thoughts on “When to Live is NOT Christ (2): Testimony 7

  1. There was a statement you made at one point, at another of your blog sites, that it’s important for people to read fiction — in order to develop empathy. What do you think of that now?

  2. My view of reading fiction (and also non-fiction) was that it helps to counter insularity. Too often Christians have their own little insular world, based on their own church situation, that makes them oblivious to what goes on outside of their particular spiritual circle.
    I realised the effects of that insularity when I started to frequent Christian forums and became more aware of how drastically different beliefs can be across the spectrum of Christian theology.

    That ignorance of difference increases when its extended to outside of the Christian community.
    Reading some fiction can give insight into what is outside, but should be handled with caution and restraint.

  3. Thanks for your answer.

    The forums have been quite illuminating {*}. I was already somewhat aware of Christian differences, due to my variety in background, but the online world demonstrated a multiplicity beyond… and, yes, more of us need to be aware of people beyond our own corner and, then, English-world Christianity and Christianity overall. And people of all walks can do with expanded understanding.

    I personally think fiction is okay — not necessarily sinful and sometimes educational — and even so if, at times, there is sinful behavior included in a story. I usually prefer non-fiction reading… plus audiobooks now. Yet, I spend more time on news. And there are peoples’ lives in general, or experience. This helps in dispelling rigid ideology that has been sometimes mixed in with theology.

    * I think this is part of knowledge increasing (Daniel).

  4. Fiction can be both “okay” and not okay. But the difference can’t be determined according to simplistic genre judgements as some seem to insist.
    Currently I have no desire for fiction of any kind, having important things to focus upon.

    Reading of anything needs to be approached with caution. I often had more concern about Christian writings than a lot of the non-Christian stuff.
    With Christian writings there can be the expectation that they are expressing (or at least shaped by) some kind of truth -but too often the opposite is the case. With non-Christian writings there isn’t that same expectation and there’s less opportunity to be misled by unfulfilled expectations.

    I’ve mentioned elsewhere how a Christian novel I read had its “Christian” crime solving heroes shooting criminals as part of their crime solving. That had NEVER arisen in any of the secular crime fiction I read – although the main difference is that the “Christian” novel was American and my other reading was primarily British writers. Gun culture attitudes are clearly different between the US and the rest of the English speaking world.

  5. Fiction can be both “okay” and not okay.

    For sure.

    But the difference can’t be determined according to simplistic genre judgements as some seem to insist.

    I agree.

    Currently I have no desire for fiction of any kind, having important things to focus upon.

    Totally understand.

  6. Pingback: When to Live is NOT Christ (3): Testimony 8 | Onesimus Files

  7. Onesimus, don’t you think sickness happens because of the curse of the Fall? How can you overcome the curse at this time? Paul showed us that God is sovereign in these things. He even called his problem (whatever it was) a “thorn.” God didn’t take the thorn away in Paul’s case. Did Paul not have enough faith? No, God didn’t remove the thorn—the effect of the curse—because He wanted Paul to know that His strength is made perfect in our weaknesses. Death still happens to all of us. Our charge is to trust our Father in all things, knowing that we can’t always control much in this life, but God loves us and knows what is best for us. We can ask Him to heal us, or change our circumstances, but if the answer is no…though he slay me yet will I trust Him.

  8. Hi Diana,
    Yes sickness occurs because of the curse of the fall. So did spiritual death – did God leave us under the condemnation of spiritual death?
    No – He provided a way to receive forgiveness of all our sins. Likewise, He has provided health and healing. Scripture makes that absolutely clear, as I have tried to show, and will continue to address.

    I find absolutely no biblical evidence that it is God’s will to leave His people suffering sickness, or dying prematurely from sickness. In fact the opposite is true – HE wants us to live full and fruitful lives and has made countless promises in that regard.

    As for Paul’s thorn I have written about that. It was not sickness – it was demonic attack, and there was a reason that God didn’t intervene. https://onesimusfiles.wordpress.com/2018/06/09/thorny-thoughts-related-to-grace/

    Yes, death happens to all of us, but it should not be brought forward by sickness.

    Psalm 103 instructs:

    Praise the Lord, my soul;
    all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
    Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits –
    who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases (Psalm 103)

    (I’m posting more about this Psalm in a couple of days.)

    We are happy to remember and expect forgiveness of all our sins – but for some reason forget (ignore) the other named benefit, the healing of ALL our diseases.

    If we don’t accept that healing of all diseases is a benefit given by God, how can we accept that forgiveness of all sin IS?

    Yes we can ask Him to heal us. but we should not accept the possibility of a no answer. That is NOT asking in faith. A prayer of faith STARTS with knowing God’s will.

    If we ask anything according to His will, HE hears us, And if we know HE hears us -whatever we ask – we know that we have what we asked of Him.

    My purpose in all of these recent blog posts was to share my own journey in finding God’s will regarding healing. I thought it would be much more difficult to find a definitive answer and was totally surprised by how clear scripture is in revealing that it IS God’s will to keep HIs people in health.

    I can’t stress enough, if there’s any conviction that God answers a prayer for healing with a “no” – then that conviction prevents the prayer from being a prayer of faith.

  9. I realize that the “thorn in the flesh” may not be a physical illness, but Paul’s choice of words still reveals that he was living under the consequences of the Fall. To me this means that the world—and believers who are in the world—are still prone to aspects of the curse. Physical death (not just spiritual death) was also a result of the fall, and we are still under the curse of physical death until the rapture. King David wrote Psalm 103, but his own child was ill and died. (I can almost hear you saying, “Get thee behind me Satan!”) If nothing else, this conversation will strengthen your faith and help both of us to flesh out our position on the subject. By the way, I’ve been ill all week with the flu. 😷

  10. Yes, we are all living in a fallen world that is affected by the consequences of the fall, but there are countless promises of God, where HE reveals HIS will for His people, that are being ignored, which would give us victory over those effects if only we believed God more than we believed church teaching, tradition and even our own experience.

    Avoiding death altogether is not one of those promises – but a full life span, not cut short by sickness, is promised many times.
    The only biblical exception, where life may be shortened within the Lord’s will, would be in the case of martyrdom.

  11. David wrote Psalm 103, but his own child was ill and died.

    The promise of life and blessing and God’s clearly stated will regarding that promise (“now choose life so that you and your children may live”) was conditional on obedience.
    David’s act of adultery that resulted in the conception of that child, and the subsequent murder of Uriah were clear infringements of those conditions – and not minor infringements either.

    Under the new covenant, the benefit of God’s promises also have a condition: faith, something we can’t exercise if we keep ourselves ignorant of, or ignore, God’s will regarding those promises.

    And back to Paul’s thorn – the important thing to note is that God’s answer to Paul’s prayer was not a “no” answer – God answered by giving Paul understanding, pointing him to the reason he was being attacked, and how he could deal with it himself. That God’s grace (given to the humble) was sufficient to give Paul victory over that messenger (angel) from Satan that was buffeting him.


  12. What do you think about the warning that some people have become sick and died because they took communion in an unworthy manner? It seems that sickness is a way of punishing for sin.

    James said we must confess our sins to one another for healing to occur. I guess the best we can do is pray in faith, making sure our hearts are pure and right with God, to the best of our ability.

    Side note: If a young Christian still dies, we should all judge him/her and assume they failed in some way.

    Doesn’t your view lead people to make that implication?

    I still believe it’s best to trust in God’s sovereignty. Wasn’t the story of Job a lesson in not understanding God’s purposes?

  13. As I’ve said, God’s blessings, including health are conditional. With conditions not fulfilled, there should be no expectation of receiving the promises.

    There should be no need for a young Christian to die – but we know it happens all the time. Does that mean its God’s will they die? Or could it just be that they were unaware of the promise of healing – thanks to the teaching they’d been subjected to? Teaching that robbed them of the faith to believe for health.

    We REALLY have to be honest with ourselves – are we more willing to attribute death and sickness to God (and HIs sovereignty) than we are willing to confess that our own shortcomings prevent us from receiving what HE has made clear HE wants for us?

    As for Job – it seems scholars tend to think he lived close to the time of Abraham and was not associated with Israel and was never a party to the covenants that God made with Abraham or Israel that included the promises that have continued into the New .

    Wasn’t the story of Job a lesson in not understanding God’s purposes?

    But God has made KNOWN HIs purposes and His will regarding the health of HIs covenant people.
    But His will and purposes are ignored or denied by man’s traditions and teaching.

  14. Job was God’s servant. He made burnt offerings for sin. He was blessed by God. Yet his children were killed by a storm. He had no idea why this happened. He didn’t know about the drama that happened in heaven. It may be God’s will for his people to live long lives, but He allowed the death of Job’s children. And Job’s friends took the position of accusing Job of sin as the reason for their death—instead of trusting in the sovereignty of God. This angered God.

  15. Job was not part of any of the covenants that led through the Abrahamic line and through to the New Covenant, where there were and are clear covenant promises, and where God HAS revealed His will.

    We cannot use “the sovereignty of God” as an escape clause to avoid human responsibility and human choice. That would be too much like the extreme doctrines of Calvinism that make God “sovereignly” responsible for the choice of who is saved and who is damned (through giving or withholding “irresitible grace”).

    To see Him as sovereignly determining who is healed and who is left to to die prematurely isn’t very much different to that false “irrestible grace” doctrine, especially considering forgiveness of ALL sin and healing ALL disease are specified as benefits that should not be forgotten.

    We as individuals are responsible for how we respond to God and His provision of forgiveness and healing, and if we respond in the way required to obtain them, through faith: that is knowing God’s will via His word and holding on to that instead of man’s traditions and theologies.

    Surely it is far more profitable to consider the overwhelming amount of biblical revelation regarding God’s provision of healing and His desire to give it, than to use so much time and effort trying to find tenuous escape clauses?

  16. Am I being rebellious to the Word? Am I lacking faith? I don’t know. I take every other scripture at face value. But I also recoil at the thought of judging things I may not understand.

  17. Hi Diana,
    The Word needs to be the foundation of our faith, believing the Word above anything else.
    Human tradition has eroded faith’s foundation in our lives..

    If the Word says God forgives all our sins do people try to find reasons to discount that promise?
    No Christian that I’m aware of does that.
    But for some reason, when the Word promises to heal all our diseases, there is resistance.
    And yet throughout scripture, particularly the NT, forgiveness and healing are preached and exercised together.

    All believers have faith – but we can only exercise that faith according to our understanding. We can be strong in faith in one area of life, but not so strong in others.
    One of the most important things I’ve learned is that it’s impossible to exercise faith to receive anything from God if we don’t know that it’s God’s will to give it.
    God’s will regarding most things are revealed through His word – and that includes healing.

    I recall my own initial (vigorous) resistance to what I’m rediscovering now about healing.
    The “evidence” I kept using to argue against it continually relied on the examples and experiences of others who weren’t healed. Eventually something clicked into place, that my beliefs should not be based on the experiences, or teachings of others, but entirely on what God’s Word reveals about God and His will.

    I got into my current situation because of my complacency – my personal neglect of faith in my life.
    In other words, I lived a life lacking faith – not meaning my faith wasn’t there, but that I had failed to exercise it.
    I was given a window of opportunity to turn that around to have my health restored.
    The only hope of that happening is through the promises and provision of God. But hope isn’t enough – faith needs to be added to give that hope substance.

  18. Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.

    Faith assures before the evidence of experience is realised.
    God’s Word is is the foundation of faith – believing His Word even when our circumstances try to tell us otherwise.

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