Healing Begins With Sanctification
– A Biblical review by Tom Lessing
SANCTIFICATION – An incensed reader wrote a comment complaining that the author of “Neuroplasticity, A science falsely so-called” misrepresents Dr. Michelle Strydom and her teaching on sickness and healing. Instead of responding to Masadi in the usual comment section, I decided to write a follow-up article proving that she is misleading multitudes of people with her erroneous teaching.
I too wonder whether you have actually read the whole book or attended a conference. I have just been to Dr. Michelle’s conference a few days ago. Never did she say or imply that you can heal or change your destiny just by changing your thoughts. The first step is always salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ. What the course teaches is the next step: sanctification, becoming the bride of Jesus for His return. Putting on the armour of God, becoming Love. Regarding healing, the message is repentance from sin and turning away from it. Dr. Strydom’s calling was to be a doctor, and I believe that through her relationship with Jesus Christ it was revealed to her what the Bible teaches about healing.
Like so many Christians who are poorly versed in Scripture, Masadi is horribly deceived. Jesus never taught or even slightly implied that He had come to heal every conceivable disease and that those who are not healed must themselves carry the blame, for they have failed to be sanctified of the heart which, according to Michelle Strydom, is the beginning of healing.
If an unsanctified heart and sin were the cause of diseases, then every single unbeliever who rejects Jesus Christ must of necessity suffer from some kind of disease. Furthermore, every believer must also suffer from some kind of disease because it is impossible to be completely sanctified and sinless in this life unless you are a super Christian like Joyce Meyer who claims not to be miserable, poor and a sinner. I wonder how she would have viewed Lazarus if he’d lived today and sat outside her church begging for a crumb of bread. She would probably have regarded him as a miserable sinner who deserved to suffer so much.
Jesus very distinctly said that He had come to seek and to save the lost (Matthew 18:11; Luke 19:10). He prioritized the healing of souls infested with sins, transgressions, and iniquities, and not the healing of the body, ingested with all kinds of diseases.
Many Christians, and especially those who are nurtured in Pentecostal and Charismatic churches, when they see the words “healing,” “healed,” and “sick” in the Bible, immediately think they always refer to physical infirmities and very often quote Isaiah 53:5 to prove their views.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5).
Sadly, many people who have sought salvation and were told that the cross secured the healing of the body, had been so desperately disappointed when they were not healed that they turned their back on Jesus and his cross, thinking that He is a liar. Why would the Holy Spirit, who inspired every word in Scripture, use words like “transgressions,” and “iniquities” and suddenly change the main topic, which is the healing (salvation) of the soul, to physical healing?
The most disturbing aspect of Masadi’s defense of Michelle Strydom is that he/she associates healing with steps (levels of degrees) you have to take before you can be healed. The following picture illustrates these steps. Masadi refers to the last step to healing as ‘BECOMING LOVE.” How does one “become love?” Is he/she speaking in terms of becoming the essence of love? In that case, Masadi, under the influence of Michelle Strydom, is saying that we can become God who alone is the essence of love.
Not only does this malign the blood of the cross but also depicts the blood of Christ, together with all the other mentioned holy fidelities in the Bible, as the proverbial dangling of a carrot before someone’s face, so that the sick may ultimately claim their healing. The primary purpose of the shedding of Jesus Christ’s blood is to save lost sinners and not to heal their bodies.
In fact under the Law almost everything is cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness [neither release from sin and its guilt, nor cancellation of the merited punishment]. (Hebrews 9:22; Amplified Bible).
The main reason why Jesus performed so many miracles when He walked the earth was to convince his people, the Jews, that He was their Messiah who had come to establish his Kingdom on earth. Bear in mind that the Gospel was presented first to the Jew and then the Gentile (Romans 1:16: 2:10), and that the Jews in particular always demanded signs and the Greeks (Gentiles) wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:22). However, when his signs and wonders had little effect on the majority of the nation of Israel to inspire them to repent and believe the Gospel, He impeached them with the following words,
Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas: (Matthew 12:38-39).
Does it mean He has no compassion for the sick and deliberately disregards their maladies and the pain and suffering they endure? Perish the thought. In fact, He often deliberately allows Christians to suffer from sickness to accomplish something exceedingly more glorious than physical healing. Consider, the following Scripture.
He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain: So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat. His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out. Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers. (Job 33:19-22).
Paul who pursued the sanctification of the heart with all his heart (Philippians 3:9-12) wrote the following anti-Michelle Strydom truth:
And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10)
It is not necessary to review Job’s excruciating suffering and how his three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. (Job 2:11). Suffice it is to remind ourselves that their counsels were not according to the will of God, and instead of alleviating his pain, they augmented his suffering. Only when the younger Elihu began to counsel Job did he understand God’s sovereign dealing with man in times of sickness and suffering.
Elihu chided Job for his statement that God was unfair though Job was innocent (Job 33:9). Job charged God of being silent and therefore unresponsive and indifferent to his dilemma (Job 13:13; 33:13). Elihu confronted Job by telling him “in this, you are not right” (Job 33:12-13) and continued to explain to him that God often gets peoples’ attention by allowing them to suffer pain in sickness. In fact, sometimes God even allows Satan to attack Christians to provide them an opportunity to overcome him and to win a crown of glory when Jesus returns. (Job 1:6-12).
Some may argue that it all happened in the Old Testament. We are now living in the dispensation of grace and Christians are not supposed to suffer any disease because “No disease is incurable,” according to Michelle Strydom. The book of James which Michelle Strydom and her protagonists love to refer to in their defense of physical healing was written before Paul advised Timothy to abstain from water and to rather drink a little wine for his stomach and his recurring infirmities (1 Timothy 5:23).
Paul must have known about Brother James’ advice to summon “the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” (James 5:14-15). Why didn’t Paul advise Timothy to follow James’ instructions, instead of taking a little “medicine” for his infirmities? It is because most Christians misinterpret James 5:14-15. We shall examine this passage more closely later on. Another New Testament example of physical suffering is Paul who suffered from a thorn in the flesh, with which we shall deal later as well.
What Triggers Disease in Your Body?
Masadi who attended one of Michelle Strydom’s conferences affirms that she never once said or implied that you can heal or change your destiny just by changing your thoughts. She may not have said anything relating to the brain and thoughts being the conduits to good health at the conference Masadi attended, but she sure does so in many of her videos and books. In her Vimeo video “Sanctifications of the Heart” (Part 1), she says the following:
“Your brain is converting those thoughts (negative thoughts) to a physical reaction that is leading to the development of disease in your body.”
I wouldn’t put my foot in Dr. Michelle Strydom’s consulting rooms whenever I fall ill because she seems to be horribly ill-advised on what causes disease. Many brilliant physicians have done time-consuming research to determine what causes various diseases. Without becoming too technical, it is enough to say that most sicknesses are caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. These are all living organisms that can cause havoc to a person’s health. If negative thoughts in our brain are able to trigger a physical reaction that leads to the development of disease in your body, these little culprits must have learned how to read and interpret our thoughts.
Like all false prophets, she then resorts to God’s Word to corroborate her diagnosis. She continues to say,
Let’s take a look at John 3 verse 2, “Beloved I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers. After studying the brain, I received a tremendous amount of revelation from that Scripture. Biblically, your soul consists of your mind, will and emotions. Next I will be explaining to you how the brain works and how thoughts form. You will learn that your mind is physically in your brain. There is an area in your brain that has been discovered where your free-will is. It is the area in your brain where you choose to meditate on a though or disregard it. So your free will is physical a part of your mind.
If your free-will is physically a part of your mind, it follows that your thoughts and actions will always be governed by physical impulses. Consequently, it won’t be possible for you to discern and understand spiritual truths, for the natural man who is physically and not spiritually inclined cannot understand the things of God. (1 Corinthians 2:14). The aptitude to distinguish between truth and error resides in the will. You can either receive it or reject it which is a spiritual and not a physical decision making process. In other words, if your free-will is physically a part of your mind (brain), your physical impulses will govern all your spiritual actions. This is blatantly at variance with what the Bible teaches.
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2)
Truth, and by definition biblical truth alone, can renew the mind. To suggest that free-will is a physical part of the mind is like saying that God’s good and acceptable, and perfect will can be known physically by means of the physical part of your mind which is your free-will. This is precisely what Paul warns against, – “not to be conformed to this world.” (I will elaborate on this particular malady among end-time Christians later). No physical substance whatsoever, including the free-will of man (if it had been a physical part of the mind, according to Michelle Strydom) has the ability to know and discern truth. If it had the ability to know and discern truth, we would have had no need of the Holy Spirit to guide us into all truth (John 16:13).
To illustrate, let us briefly recap what Michelle Strydom says at the beginning of her video. It clearly demonstrates how she discerns God’s perfect will “physically,” if you will, instead of spiritually. It is obvious that she quoted 3 John 2 to validate her views on physical healing. However, was physical healing uppermost in the Apostle John’s mind when he said, “Beloved I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers?” The context in which he expresses his wish reveals whether John had physical healing in mind or not. The very next two verses prove beyond any doubt that he was not referring to physical health. Pay attention!
For I rejoiced greatly when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth. (3 John 1:3-4).
Please note that he mentions “truth” three times. Strong defines the word ὑγιαίνω (hugiainō – health) as follows:
From G5199; to have sound health, that is, be well (in body); figuratively to be uncorrupted (true in doctrine): – be in health, (be safe and) sound, (be) whole (-some).
Truth has everything to do with doctrine and never with physical health. You may be as sick as a dog physically and still as healthy as a horse doctrinally, or as healthy as a horse physically and as sick as a dog doctrinally. The choice is yours. However, please do not use your free will that allegedly is a physical part of your mind because that would force you to choose the latter and keep you in bondage to a malady that is far worse than any physical infirmity – spiritual deception.
I promised to elaborate on Brother Paul’s warning “not to be conformed to this world.” The Amplified Bible says it thus,
Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind
What do these superficial customs that are so perceptibly alien to Christian doctrine, look like? To answer this question, I would like to quote from Dave Hunt’s book, “The Seduction of Christianity.”
It is now recognized by most researchers who have studied the exploding revival of mysticism that the Western world has its own witch doctors. They wear business suits, clerical collars, or white smocks, and many of them have M.D., D.D., or Ph.D. degrees. Nearly all claim that what they believe and practice is truly scientific; and many deny the existence of God, Satan, angels, or demons as independent entities. As a result, they attribute the source of the psychic powers to the unlimited human potential that allegedly lies within the unconscious of each of us. Their “mind magic” is powerful and it works. In his introduction to William Fezler’s book “Just Imagine: A Guide to Materialization Using Imagery,” Beverly Hills psychiatrist William S. Kroger says:
As modern day fields of psychology and medicine grow we become more and more amazed at just how much power the mind really does exert. . . . Nowhere in man’s writings has it been explained how to imagine something strongly enough to produce a concrete result in reality. Just Imagine fills this gap. It describes definite ways to structure a new and better reality. The method involves using images. . . that can be developed and embellished in a progression till they influence reality to such an extent that they become reality! Over the past ten years I have worked with and watched Dr. Fezler teach patients how to produce images strong enough to materialize. . . .(Fezler, Imagine, Introduction.)
Sorcery: The Unrecognized Enemy
Ancient sorcery’s mind-over-matter techniques often seem to work and are radically changing our world-from science and medicine to psychology and education. Nobel laureate Roger Sperry recently said,
“Current concepts of the mind-brain relation involve a direct break with the long-established materialist and behaviorist doctrine that has dominated neuroscience for many decades.” (Brain/Mind Bulletin, Dec. 10, 1984, “New Story of Science: including mind in the world,” p. 1.)
Physicist George Stanciu, coauthor of The New Story of Science, states:
“Physics, neuroscience and now psychology are throwing off 19th century materialism.” (Brain/Mind Bulletin, Dec. 10, 1984, “New Story of Science: including mind in the world,” p. 1.)
Physics is becoming metaphysics once again as science turns to mysticism. Developed behind the Iron Curtain by Bulgarian Georgi Lozanov and catching on rapidly in the West, “Superlearning” is one example:
Drawing from yoga, music, hypnosis, autogenics, parapsychology, and drama, Lozanov put together what he called suggestology, which applied altered states of consciousness to learning, healing and development. (Human Potential, Dec. 1984, Marta Vogel, “Superlearning: Making the Most of What We’ve Got,” p. 4.)
What the secular world calls “mind power” many Christians confuse for “faith.” Likewise, the impersonal “Force” that occultists also refer to as Universal Mind or Nature is naively accepted by large numbers of both Christians and non-Christians as just another way of referring to God, when in fact it is a substitute for Him. Consequently, what often passes for “the power of the Spirit” in the church can scarcely be distinguished from the alleged “mind-powers” of psychics. Parapsychologists have been conducting scientific experiments with psychics for years, and the idea of “psychic power” is gaining credibility.
Professional psychics are no longer as unique as they were only a few years ago, but now number in the hundreds and are being taken seriously by a large segment of society. Moreover, similar “mind powers” are being developed by the general populace through a smorgasbord of psychological methodologies. These are not only taught by well-known mind over-matter cults such as Scientology, the Forum (formerly est-Erhard Seminars Training), Lifespring, and Silva Mind Control, but are the standard fare at today’s PMA (Positive Mental Attitude) motivational and success seminars. The ability to exert “mind over matter” is no longer considered to be something weird or occult, but is now thought to be part of a natural, normal, yet infinite human potential that can be experienced by anyone who follows certain alleged “laws of success.” (or levels of degrees / steps).
These New Age techniques are not new at all, however, but are the same old sorcery under new labels. Many modern practitioners, including leading Christians, seem unaware of the true nature of the dangerous mind-game they are playing. Sorcery called by any other name is still sorcery, and it is everywhere in today’s space-age society, seeking to hide its true identity behind scientific or psychological terminology and success/motivation and self-development labels. An occultist himself and one of the world’s leading occult authorities and historians, Manly P. Hall has declared:
. . .there is abundant evidence that in many forms of modern thought-especially the so-called “prosperity” psychology, “will-power building” metaphysics and systems of “high-pressure” salesmanship-black magic has merely passed through a metamorphosis, and although its name may be changed, its nature remains the same. (Manly P. Hall, Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy (Los Angeles, 1969, Sixteenth Edition), pp. CI, CII.) (Emphasis added)
Michelle Strydom disseminates the same old cultic positive confession subterfuges of the New Apostolic Reformation under the guise of scientific medical research. The most dangerous appeal of all false teachers is their copious use of Scripture, but with a deliberate twist to deceive their followers. They deceive others because they themselves are deceived.
Consider another example of how she twists Scripture to support her views. She quotes from Proverbs 23:7 but uses a translation – which only she knows from whence she got it – that says something completely different from what the Holy Spirit intended.
“As a man thinks in his heart, so does he become.”
That is NOT what the verse says. It says the following.
For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.
The “he” is not even you yourself doing the thinking but the person who invites you to enjoy lunch or dinner with him or her. The verses flanking verse 7 explains its real meaning. So let us quote them as well.
Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats: (Proverbs 23:6).
The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words. Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of thy words. (Proverbs 23:8-9).
Here’s the Amplified Bible’s rendering of this passage.
Do not eat the bread of a selfish man,
Or desire his delicacies;
For as he thinks in his heart, so is he [in behavior-one who manipulates].
He says to you, “Eat and drink,”
Yet his heart is not with you [but it is begrudging the cost].
The morsel which you have eaten you will vomit up,
And you will waste your compliments.
Do not speak in the ears of a fool,
For he will despise the [godly] wisdom of your words.
God despises the sin of hypocrisy. The passage deals with a heart that feigns generosity. While it feigns kindness and an open-hand attitude, it counts the cost because it is more concerned about its own pocket than with other people.
Strydom continues to say,
Thoughts are powerful. They have creative ability. They shape your life. . . . What you think, is what you get, for better or for worse. It is ENTIRELY up to you. If you want your life to change; if you are not happy with the state of your health, you’ve got to change your thinking.
It’s a real pity that Job, Timothy, and Paul never knew about the mind-body connection and how they could have avoided so much pain and suffering if only they knew it was ENTIRELY up to them to control their thoughts which ultimately would have shaped their lives for the better.
Entirely Up To You
In the Disclaimer to her book Healing begins with Sanctification of the Heart” Michelle Strydom writes,
This book is intended for your general knowledge only to give valuable insight into disease from both a medical and Biblical perspective. It is not a substitute for a consultation and proper care by a medical doctor and should not be used as a tool to make a diagnosis. You must seek prompt medical attention for any health problems.
Yet, she asserts that your healing is ENTIRELY UP TO YOU. She may as well have said, I am not saying “You are little gods with a small ‘g’ but that’s actually what you are.” She admits that it is God who heals all our diseases (Psalm 103: 3), but then in the same breath says, “It is entirely up to you.” These kinds of irreconcilable contradictions make her “thoughts” (pun intended) so ridiculously farfetched and implausible. How can she say “God heals all our diseases” but it is entirely up to you whether you receive your healing or not? Is God subservient to our thoughts? Must He first honor and acknowledge our positive thoughts and erase our negative thoughts before He can heal us?
God never once said to Paul who had a thorn in his flesh, pleading three times with God to remove it, “It is entirely up to you, Paul. Stop sinning so much and get your thoughts in sync with a sanctified lifestyle, and you shall be healed immediately.” Here’s what God actually said and Paul’s positive response.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).
Listen up Paul, you must have been totally out of your mind and completely insane to glory in your infirmities (maladies, sicknesses). Nonetheless, we cannot fault you on your infamous fickleness and thoughtlessness because you never had the glorious opportunity to read and study Dr. Michelle Strydom’s excellent book, “Healing begins with Sanctification of the Heart. No disease is incurable.” Just think of it, Paul. Had you been so fortunate to buy her book at CUM Books and read it from cover to cover, you would never have had to waste your time praying three times for God to heal your infirmity. And by the way, your claim that it was due to a sickness that you had an opportunity to present the Gospel to lost souls, is a lot of baloney.
Believers, I beg of you, become as I am [free from the bondage of Jewish ritualism and ordinances], for I have become as you are [a Gentile]. You did me no wrong [when I first came to you; do not do it now]. On the contrary, you know that it was because of a physical illness that I [remained and] preached the gospel to you the first time; and even though my physical condition was a trial to you, you did not regard it with contempt, or scorn and reject me; but you received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus Himself. (Galatians 4:12-14; Amplified Bible).
Brethren, I beseech you, be as I am; for I am as ye are: ye have not injured me at all. Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first. And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus. (Galatians 4:12-14; KJV).
Fancy that, if you want to be received as an angel of God or even as Christ Jesus, make sure you are physically ill when you preach the Gospel so that lost sinners may be saved. However, I doubt whether you will be received as such because modern-day Christians in the Pentecostal and Charismatic fold will probably scorn you for being sick because they regard it as a sign that you have not yet been “Sanctified of the Heart.”
Bildad’s Sanctification of The Heart
It is rather eerie how history repeats itself and more so when we see how deceptive doctrinal errors repeatedly recur throughout history. No wonder Solomon said there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
One of these recurring doctrinal errors is that sin causes illness and that sanctification (holy living) is the key to the healing of incurable diseases. Michelle Strydom is guilty of the same error Bildad committed. Like Eliphaz, Bildad attributed Job’s calamities to his sins.
“Remember now, who, being innocent, ever perished?
Or where [and in what circumstances] were those upright and in right standing with God destroyed?
“As I have seen, those who plow wickedness
And those who sow trouble and harm harvest it. (Job 4:7-8)
“Does God pervert justice?
Or does [a]the Almighty pervert righteousness?
“If your children have sinned against Him,
Then He has handed them over to the power of their transgression and punished them. (Job 8:3-4; Amplified Bible).
Bildad argued that if Job had not sinned, God would have been unjust in his ways. To Bildad that would have been unthinkable which proves that Job had indeed sinned because God was just in his punishment of Job and causing him to become so sick. Michelle Strydom comes to a similar conclusion when she writes-
Fear, anxiety, unforgiveness, bitterness, self-hatred, a low self-esteem, guilt, jealousy, envy, anger, rage and resentment are now referred to in the medical feld as “toxic thinking patterns” because they cause disease. The Bible calls these toxic thinking patterns sin. Therefore what medical science has just proven is that most of the time, disease is a consequence of sin – particularly in our thought life. However, the Bible explained that disease is a consequence of sin thousands of years ago. We think of sin as the big issues such as murder, adultery, stealing, lying and so forth.
However, what about the more “socially acceptable” sins that are going on in our thought life? Would you consider fear and anxiety to be a sin? Would you consider a low self-esteem and self-hatred to be a sin? What about bitterness, unforgiveness, anger, rage, resentment, jealousy, envy and competitiveness with others? The Bible says that these things (even if just in our thought life) are sin and in the medical field I am seeing that we are paying a high price for it in the area of disease.
I often get a lot of “flack” from people for having the audacity to teach that there is a connection between sin and disease. These people haven’t read their Bibles in a very long time. In fact, they haven’t read their Bibles at all because the Bible is full of the connection between sin and disease . . . (Healing begins with sanctification of the heart, p. 24)
If self-hatred and a low-esteem had been the result of toxic thinking patterns, which, according to Strydom, the Bible calls sin, then God Himself advocates and promotes sin. Listen carefully to the Word of God.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. (John 12:24-25)
Dave Hunt writes:
Success Is the Name of the Game
Success is the name of the game today, not only out there in the world, but inside the church as well. Humility is out and self- esteem is in, even though we are urged in Scripture, “Let each esteem others better than themselves” (Philippians 2:3 KJV). It used to be common knowledge that the besetting sin of the human race was pride. Now, however, we are being told that our problem is not that we think too highly of ourselves, but too lowly, that we all have a bad self-image, and that our greatest need is to build up our self-esteem. Though Peter wrote, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time” (1 Peter 5:6), we are being urged to “visualize” ourselves into success. (The Seduction of Christianity, p. 14).
Denis Waitley writes:
Perhaps the most important key to the permanent enhancement of self-esteem is the practice of positive self-talk. Every waking moment we must feed our self-images positive thoughts about ourselves and our performances, so relentlessly and vividly that our self- images are in time molded and modified to conform to new, higher standards. (Denis Waitley, The Winner’s Edge, p. 80).
In another of his books hailed by top Christian leaders, Waitley suggests that “positive self-talk” be recorded and listened to repeatedly to improve “health, self-esteem, and creative growth.” (Denis Waitley, Seeds of Greatness, pp. 60-61.) The seductive manner in which shamanism is deliberately masqueraded, as “science” in order to give it wide acceptance can be understood from the following statement in New Thought magazine:
Something wonderful has been happening behind the scenes in both science and non-denominational worship … researchers are able to show that we ARE spiritual beings, creatures of light and cosmic substance, and that our lives are the product of our thinking apparatus and how we use that computer-like device to create holograms of our “reality”…. (New Thought, Autumn 1983, Ann B. Martin, “The Great American Educational Blackout,” p. 6.)
Michelle Strydom’s indictment of those who criticize her, as “ . . . people [who] haven’t read their Bibles in a very long time [and] In fact, . . . haven’t read their Bibles at all because the Bible is full of the connection between sin and disease . . . fits her like a glove, simply because she consistently misinterprets Scripture. We have already seen how she misinterprets several passages in Scripture. Let us now look at James 5.
James 5 Misinterpreted
The isolation of verses from its context always tends to lead to serious error. It is imperative to read verses together with other verses directly flanking them or in conjunction with passages in other books and epistles. In addition, certain Hebrew and Greek words often have different meanings and should be interpreted against the backdrop of the context, and not in isolation to fit your own agendas and pet doctrines.
In chapter 5: verses 7 to 12 the Apostle James warns believers to guard against murmuring, grudging, and rancorous complaining, especially in the midst of their suffering. The sin of murmuring among the Israelite on their way to the Promised Land prompted God to punish them very dearly.
Persecution, suffering, and hardship are all part of a believer’s life (2 Timothy 3:12), and the only antidote for despondency is the hope of Christ Jesus’ glorious return. The word for patience is “makrothumeoÌ„” and comes from the compound of two words, “long” (makros) and temper (thymos). It conveys the idea that your temper is like a timer, which you must set to endure for an unknown duration of time. No one knows when Christ Jesus is going to return (Mark 13:32) but believers must at all times keep their eyes fixed on his return and not on their own suffering here on earth. Note carefully that James mentioned Job as his prime example of patience, which proves that everything I said about Job can be trusted.
However, there are believers who are so greatly affixed to their own suffering that they fail to look up and lift their heads up from whence their redemption (from suffering and persecution) will come (Luke 21: 28). The Apostle James had these believers in mind when he wrote,
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:14-16)
Though the word (astheneo) is used for physical maladies it is used in Acts and the epistles to describe a weak faith or a weak conscience (Acts 20:35; Romans 6:19; 14:1; 1 Corinthians 8:9-12). James is not referring to the bedridden who need physical healing but to believers who had grown weary in the midst of persecution and suffering, due to their weak faith and feeble consciences. Moreover, his advice that the weak and weary in faith summon the elders of the church to pray for them and anoint them with oil has nothing to do with anointing as many believers understand it in the context of the healing of incurable diseases.
The word for “anointing” James uses here is (aleipho) and not “christ.” The former is used in a mundane way and the latter in a religious one. (Richard Chenevix Trench writes in his Synonyms of the New Testament, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdemans Publishing Co. 1950, pp. 136-7). James is not signifying a ceremonial or ritual anointing for divine healing. He is merely referring to the use of oil as a means of bestowing honor, refreshment and grooming (Daniel R. Hayden, Calling the Elders to Pray, Bibliotecha Sacra 138. July-September 1981:264). Consider the following passages in Scripture – Luke 7:38; Luke 7:46; Matthew 6:17).
A Time of Refreshing and Healing
Believers are exhorted to be patient. The word “patience” hupomoneÌ) appears 34 times in 33 verses in the New Testament, which is enough for each day of the month, plus an extra four days for those of us who tend to lose our patience in times of sickness and suffering. Patience, as we’ve seen from James 5, alludes mainly to the patient waiting for the Lord’s return.
So wait patiently, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits [expectantly] for the precious harvest from the land, being patient about it, until it receives the early and late rains. You too, be patient; strengthen your hearts [keep them energized and firmly committed to God], because the coming of the Lord is near. Do not complain against one another, believers, so that you will not be judged [for it]. Look! The Judge is standing right at the door. As an example, brothers and sisters, of suffering and patience, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord [as His messengers and representatives]. You know we call those blessed [happy, spiritually prosperous, favored by God] who were steadfast and endured [difficult circumstances]. You have heard of the patient endurance of Job and you have seen the Lord’s outcome [how He richly blessed Job]. The Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. (James 5:7-11).
When will these blessings be established in the believer’s life who patiently waits for the coming of the Lord? When Jesus establishes his 1000 year kingdom on earth . . .
Isaiah 33:24; Jeremiah 30:17; Ezekiel 34:16
- All kinds of deformities will cease.
Isaiah 29:17-19; 35:3-6; 61:1-2; Jeremiah 31:8; Micah 4:6-7; Zephaniah 3:19
Do I hear a HALLELUJAH, PRAISE THE LORD?