A look at the common word faith distortions used when we are ill.
(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. - Romans 4: 17 (KJV)
Keep your heart with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life.Put away from you crooked speech, and put devious talk far from you. - Proverbs 4: 23-24 (ESV)
There is so much bad Christian thinking out there these days. One can barely walk a city block without tripping over something believed by followers of Jesus Christ that is simply not supported by His Word. Sure there may be a Scripture ripped violently out of context to prop it up but if we do the true work of a Berean, we will know the truth as God intended it, not man. I write often about word faith heresy. Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar; just to name a few. The essential premise of this teaching is that we are in fact "little gods." That our words have power, specifically the power of creation. So just like when God speaks He is able to create with His words, so can we.
Now, one might read that and rightly think it is absurd yet still fall for the same thinking on a smaller scale. For example we as human beings are prone to getting sick. We catch colds. We come down with the flu. We injure ourselves. This is what is known as reality. Thankfully, there are smart men and women who can help us in these difficult times and we call them doctors. I may not be fully embracing of the carnal medical model the world embraces but if I get sick, I am pretty sure I am going to take an antibiotic. Instead however, I see all the time this notion of "speaking to the cold" or "speaking to the body." Just refuse to be sick! Claim the "healing scriptures" over your life. I remember once I had a believer working for me and she clearly needed glasses. She would have to hold the document she was reading a mile away from her just to gain focus. Whenever I said she needed glasses she would respond, "I'm not claiming that." Well beloved let me assure you. It had already claimed her. There is a reason why one of the nicknames for the word faith heresy is, "name it and claim it." Hear me very clearly, we have no such power. We can claim nothing. We can declare and decree nothing. What we are truly doing is usurping God's power and trying to steal His glory.
I am the Lord; that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to carved idols. - Isaiah 42: 8 (ESV)
Wait a minute preacher! What about the bible verses about healing! What about them? They are powerful indeed but the power rests in He who wrote them, not us. The idea is that we rely on His promises through prayer, not by taking His place as sovereign. This teaching is taken to the extreme by false teachers such as Bill Johnson at Bethel Church. He teaches that it is always God's will to heal us. How a man who wears prescription eyeglasses can say that with a straight face is beyond me but putting that aside let's just reason shall we? Who is God when we tell Him what He must do? We are! If it is always the will of God to heal us then how do we explain this verse:
(No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.) - 1Timothy 5: 23 (ESV)
At the end of one of his letters to his protege Timothy, Paul advises him on how to combat his frequent ailments regarding his stomach. Notice he doesn't tell him to speak to his stomach. He doesn't tell him to prophesy over his stomach. He does not tell him to claim his healing, decree his victory, or declare his good health. Ne beloved. He gives him some simple practical advice. Now if it is always the will of God to heal us, Paul never would have instructed Timothy as such. Also when we hear the typical word faith healing claims there are favorite scriptures they like to use. I have highlighted two of them in the key verses for today.
The verse from Romans has been misquoted by Joel Osteen multiple times. Joel believes that we are supposed to "call things that are not as if they were." This means we speak money into our wallets, raises into our paychecks, friends into our social lives and whatever our heart desires. Once again, word-faith-heresy. That our words create, when they cannot. Why is this so deceptive? Because as the key verse clearly states it is GOD who has this power to speak things that are not as if they were. This is once again man usurping the power of God and trying to rob His glory.
The second key verse is an example of citing half the story. You will hear word faith believers quote Proverbs 4:23 but ignore verse 24 even though the 24th verse provides remarkable clarity of context. So someone will tell a sick friend to not "claim" their sickness because after all, "Out of the mouth flow the issues of the heart." While that sounds all biblical and pious, is it actually what God intended when He inspired Solomon to write this Proverb? When you read the context verse 24 brings the answer is obviously no! Proverbs 4:23 is not God teaching us to speak positively into our lives or to not speak negatively about a sickness. It is actually dealing with speaking crooked speech and devious talk. Other versions use words like perverse, corrupt, and dishonest. It is this type of speech that can corrupt the heart. To cite half the verse and draw conclusions that God did not intend is the definition of false teaching. It leads people away from the true Word of God and into chasing myths.
For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. - 2Timothy 4: 3-4 (ESV)
Beloved, do not fall for the distortions of the Gospel that make God have to answer to us. We are the creature and He is the Creator. Can He heal us? Absolutely! Should we pray to Him for healing? Absolutely! I have seen Him miraculously heal people of life threatening illness but I also have attended wakes and funerals because the healing did not come. Sometimes the answer is no. I do not know why and I am not meant to know. Neither are you. That is the deepest essence of faith. So if you find yourself with a fever today, do not "speak to the fever."
Speak to God, the Great Physician. Then speak to your own doctor, the lesser physician.