You need to be able to adapt as appropriate.
In writing these articles, my primary aim is to encourage faith in Christians, rather than looking at alternatives to faith. Having said that, I do realise that Christians are at different levels of faith and that situations are different, so you need to be able to adapt as appropriate. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9:22 from the English Standard Version, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some“. The article ‘How To Handle The Curse‘, explored how we should be seeking to live above the curse, not put up with living under it. As an example I referred to a testimony I had heard of someone who had been born ‘maimed’, and who was sharing how they live with their affliction and even were thanking God for it. My purpose in writing the post was to emphasise that God is not behind things like this, so we certainly should not be thanking Him for afflictions etc. (but thanking Him in and through difficulties etc). Also, I wanted to show that God does not want us to live under the curse, and that through Jesus’ death and resurrection we have been redeemed from the curse.
Why does Paul seem to be taking a different approach to Jesus?
In this article I want to focus on how to deal with people, who are not (yet) at the level of faith to receive healing or any other form of deliverance that is freely available to us as Christians. Several times Jesus used the phrase, “O ye of little faith“, as a rebuke to His disciples. Whereas in Romans 14:1 in The Message, Paul seems to take a gentler approach towards those with less faith: “Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently“. So what’s the difference? Why does Paul seem to be taking a different approach to Jesus? The answer, is that Jesus was dealing with His disciples, He was dealing with a group of people that He wanted to build up in their faith, a group of people that had been around Him for a while, and for that situation, the ‘softly, softly’ approach was not appropriate. Paul, on the other hand, was referring to dealing with people on an individual basis. People who were perhaps not ready to be told, “O ye of little faith“.
Jesus preached faith and He got results, we should be following His example.
In writing articles for this blog, I look at the Bible solution to every situation, because that is God’s best way of dealing with things. The same principle applies when you are speaking to a group of people, large or small. For example, if you are speaking on healing, one way that is guaranteed to impede people’s faith to receive healing, is if you mention that not everyone gets healed. You can explain why: lack of faith, etc, but a lot of people are going to be thinking that they’ll be one of the ones who doesn’t receive. Instead, it’s important to build up their faith, focus on giving people verses about healing and faith. Focus on why healing is always available to them; rather than on why, possibly, they might not receive. Jesus preached faith and He got results, we should be following His example.
We need to display the Father’s heart of compassion towards them.
When dealing with people on an individual basis though, a different approach is sometimes required. You may know that the person has not been exposed to much teaching on faith, or you may not know, but in either of these cases you need to meet them where they are, at their level. Of course you may know, that the person has been around faith teaching for some time and needs a gentle push in the right direction, in order to progress – in which case, the ‘O ye of little faith’ approach may indeed be appropriate. So how do we best help people who are of ‘weak’ faith? Well firstly, we need to display the Father’s heart of compassion towards them. God sent Jesus to suffer an horrific Roman scourging (described below), in order that they could be healed and we would be remiss if we did not make them aware of this. However, God also knew that some people would struggle to receive their healing by faith, and so he provided doctors and the medical profession. The healing power of Jesus’ stripes is unsurpassed, there is no sickness, disease, disability or whatever, that cannot be put right by that power. The same, of course, cannot be said of the medical profession. Doctors do not know everything and they cannot put everything right, their power is limited. But they can help and we should be grateful for them.
Healing has been called the ‘dinner bell’ of the gospel.
I hardly need to mention why receiving healing via Jesus is by far the better option, but let me give you a few reasons:
- Medical science is limited, Jesus is not.
- Many medicines & vaccinations have serious potential side effects.
- What Jesus offers is free, in many countries using medical services is not.
It is certainly possible to receive healing, without having heard any previous teaching on healing or on faith. Healing has been called the ‘dinner bell’ of the gospel. Healing serves as a sign to unbelievers. But for Christians, although at first we may receive healing with relatively little faith, over time God expects us to mature, and to apply our faith to receive healing (or whatever else it may be that we need). The trouble is, many Christians have stunted growth in the area of faith for healing, others in the area of faith for finances and others in other areas. These are the people that we need to meet where they are. Long term, we need to be encouraging them to read their Bibles, listen to faith teaching etc, in order that they can receive whatever it is they need. But in the short term we need to relate to them at their level.
To have a positive attitude is far better than having anger and resentment towards God.
In the example from my other article, it is great for a person who is ‘maimed’ or disabled in some way, to have a positive attitude and to be praising God. I would certainly advocate pointing out though, that their affliction is not from God. To have a positive attitude, is far better than having anger and resentment towards God. They may not be at the stage to believe that God wants them to be whole now, but their attitude is certainly going in the right direction. Let’s be clear, there is nothing wrong with using doctors, or hospitals, or taking medication, and if that is where people are with their faith, then support them all you can in this. Display a heart of compassion towards them. But do not shy away from letting them know, that there is a better way. No matter how unlikely it seems right now, one day they may be ready for it.
If you have any further questions or thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment.
If you have never received Jesus as your Lord & Saviour, if you have gone away from God, or if you have any doubts regarding your salvation. I encourage you to click on the link below. Clicking on the link will not secure your salvation, but praying the prayer you find, from your heart, will.
For the salvation prayer, please click here.