Luk 13:11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.
Luk 13:12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.
Luk 13:13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.
INFIRMITY: G769, astheneia, as-then'-i-ah
From G772; feebleness (of body or mind); by implication malady; moral frailty: - disease, infirmity, sickness, weakness.
I do not believe that every time I stub my toe that it is a demonic attack. However, I do believe that the influence of spiritual forces in our physical trials and tribulations is a lot more common than most people think. I wrote last week that I believed spirits were literally swirling around us all the time…that includes demonic and angelic spirits.
A giant, hard to miss, clue that you are being attacked by a demonic spirit is LENGTH OF TIME! We see this woman in the Book of Luke had a spirit of INFIRMITY for EIGHTEEN (18) YEARS! This is a very, very, long time to be suffering from any illness.
Let me give you an example. Suppose you stub your toe. We expect it will hurt for a little while, but we also EXPECT that it should stop hurting in a day or two just from past experience of stubbing our toes. As an interesting side note, Bob Marley, the great reggae singer, and author of “I Shot the Sheriff; No Woman, No Cry; Babylon System; and Jammin’”, died from a cancer that started in his toe.
Frankly, the first thing I do when I feel sick or when I am injured is say, “I command the spirit of INFIRMITY to leave in the name of Jesus Christ!” Why not? It can’t hurt and if there is some demonic enemy at work behind the scenes, it must leave.
Second, I quote the following Bible verse: Isa 53:5 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. (EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD MEMORIZE THIS VERSE.)
I doubt that naming and claiming a jet or Rolls Royce is correct theology but I absolutely believe we can name and claim healing by the stripes of Jesus Christ. All the promises of Jesus Christ are for His Church and we MUST believe and claim them if we are His children.
Third, I take communion. The main reason to take communion is to meditate on the COMPLETE work of Jesus Christ on the cross. His payment is TOTALLY sufficient for all of our sins and for all of our ancestor’s sins. There is no reason that we need to suffer the penalty of sin any more. The penalty of sin is separation from God, sickness, and eventually physical death.
1Co 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
1Co 15:56 The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.
1Co 15:57 But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
However, believing Christians have been completely ransomed from the consequences of sickness and death. I believe many people reading this will never experience death.
When I take communion, I simply take some “original Triscuits” (unleavened bread) and a small amount of grape juice (wine). Why? Jesus taught His disciples and His Church that communion is a necessary act of remembrance.
Unleavened bread represents the pure, and absolutely perfect, sacrifice for our sins…past, present, and future. We MUST NOT ADD anything to what Jesus Christ has already done. We do not need to have the right haircut, or right clothes, or right manners, or right relatives, or even perfect doctrine, to receive God’s FREE salvation and grace. We simply need to BELIEVE that God has provided a perfect and complete sacrifice.
1Co 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?
1Co 10:17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.
Grape juice (wine) represents the blood of the Lamb of God that was sacrificed for OUR sins. Satan, the angel of death, and demonic powers, have no legal right to accuse us before God ever again. Jesus Christ has taken all of OUR punishment…our debts are more than paid in full. Demonic power MUST PASSOVER us when we remember that Christ paid for our sins and we boldly declare we are the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ!
Now I am going to say something that may be considered controversial. INFIRMITY is sin. Let me attempt to explain myself. First, let’s get a correct definition of sin.
SIN: G264, hamartanō, ham-ar-tan'-o,
Perhaps from G1 (as a negative particle) and the base of G3313; properly to miss the mark (and so not share in the prize), that is, (figuratively) to err, especially (morally) to sin: - for your faults, offend, sin, trespass.
Sin simply means to MISS THE MARK! I know the Babylonian Church likes to beat people up over sin, but in actuality EVERYBODY misses the mark…EVERYBODY SINS! However, the more you fellowship with Jesus Christ, and the closer you get to Jesus Christ, the less you will miss the mark (the less you will sin) because Jesus Christ IS THE MARK! There is an interesting story in the Gospels that may help me illustrate something about sin (missing the mark).
Joh 5:13 And he that was healed wist not who it was: for Jesus had conveyed himself away, a multitude being in that place.
Joh 5:14 Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple, and said unto him, Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
Joh 5:15 The man departed, and told the Jews that it was Jesus, which had made him whole.
Jesus had healed this man while he lay by the pool of Bethesda. The Book of John said that he had an INFIRMITY for thirty eight (38) years. It is really a testament to the man’s faith that he continued to hope to be cured after so many years. How many other people have given up hope after a much shorter period of time? Jesus told the man something that has confused me for a long time.
Sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
Let me do my own translation using the Strong Concordance definition:
Miss the mark no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.
Was Jesus saying that the man’s infirmity was because of his sin (missing the mark)? I believe Jesus was saying exactly that, but I also know I need to give a better explanation.
When I think of a “MARK”, I think of a target and somebody trying to shoot an arrow at a bulls eye. However, a better description might be a target that somebody is trying to hit with a guided missile. The missile may need adjustments depending on the wind, or depending on bad calculations (information), or because there is an enemy trying to stop the missile from getting to the target.
I have always been against legalism. Call me arrogant, but I knew that if I had a problem with sin, then everybody else probably had a problem with sin. Anybody who was browbeating me about my sins probably had plenty of sin of their own…just better hidden. I did not want to be a hypocrite; therefore, I leaned towards being a hedonistic Christian.
Ecc 2:10 And whatsoever mine eyes desired I kept not from them, I withheld not my heart from any joy; for my heart rejoiced in all my labour: and this was my portion of all my labour.
Ecc 2:11 Then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labour that I had laboured to do: and, behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit, and there was no profit under the sun.
I believe if you are raised from childhood in a charismatic environment, you are exposed to spiritual influences and tend to shy away from hypocrisy. You recognize your own failures with a clarity that is intense and painful. You are caught in a trap that Paul the Apostle described so well in chapter 7 of the Book of Romans.
Rom 7:22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man:
Rom 7:23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
Rom 7:24 O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?
I am going to tell you how to escape from the trap. Are you ready?
1Co 6:12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
Here is the Young’s literal translation:
(YLT) All things are lawful to me, but all things are not profitable; all things are lawful to me, but I--I will not be under authority by any;
ALL THINGS ARE LAWFUL TO ME….BUT….ALL THINGS ARE NOT PROFITABLE….I WILL NOT BE BROUGHT UNDER THE POWER OF ANY!
When you STOP telling yourself to touch not; taste not; handle not; you are immediately set free from the temptation…it’s difficult I know: Our flesh always wants to glory in the law and the strength of the flesh.
Col 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances,
Col 2:21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not;
Col 2:22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?
Once you can honestly say to yourself I can eat this food, or take this drug, or drink this drink with the umbrella, or wear this red jump suit, etc., etc., etc., and God will still love me, God is not going to punish me, I will not go to hell…then you are free indeed!
However, it is obvious that even though all things are lawful, we can still be brought into bondage if we do not make wise decisions.
Therefore, we need to ask ourself, “Will this food, drug, drink, or red jump suit interfere with, or take the place of, my fellowship with God?” Is this person, place, or thing PROFITABLE to my relationship with God? Will my actions and decisions lead to bondage?
We can then begin to make rational and GODLY choices.
I never say never, BUT I do say, “By the power of His might, I am going to avoid these certain people, places, and things.” Jesus Christ set me free…so why would I put myself back under bondage to anyone or anything?
When I say there are certain people I try to avoid, I do not mean drug dealers, prostitutes, or gangsters…I am mainly trying to avoid doctors, lawyers, and religious “leaders” who are trying to put me back under bondage to the Babylonian system.
By the way, I do not drink alcohol, take drugs (except an ibuprofen every blue moon), or worst of all, wear a red jump suit! Hopefully the Lord will deliver me from my occasional reliance on ibuprofen someday.
Perhaps I can give a rather benign example in my own life. When I was younger, I liked to watch “horror” movies. However, I noticed that I began to have nightmares whenever I would watch a horror movie. I came to realize that either I would have to give up horror movies or give up having a good night’s sleep. I chose to make an adjustment in my life and stop watching horror movies.
Let me give you another example in my life. When I was a teenager, I spent a lot of time with doctors, and worrying about whether I had enough “medication” for the month, or worrying whether I had forgotten to take my medication. My life basically revolved around my medical problem. I was definitely under bondage to INFIRMITY! Doctors told me that I would need to take medication for the rest of my life. Eventually, I was baptized with the Holy Spirit and was completely cured of my infirmity. Thank God, I put more trust in the Word of God than the negative prognosis of doctors.
I believe we ALL have at least one demonic spirit that we will have to deal with from time to time throughout our lifetime. We all have a specific demonic adversary or what the Apostle Paul called a “thorn in the flesh” to keep us reliant on God. I think I could read through the Bible and identify the specific demonic spirit that each saint dealt with during their lifetime.
You can either rely on God, and overcome your demon by faith in His Word, or you can rely on your own strength and be overcome. Let me try and paraphrase what Jesus was saying to the lame man by the pool of Bethesda.
You have been delivered from the spirit of infirmity, but if you do not flee evil and rely completely on God to protect you, there are a lot worse demonic powers out there that can put you under even worse bondage.
We need to be constantly vigilant that we do not allow demonic spirits to gain a foothold in our lives after Jesus Christ has set us free. There may be activities that may seem very benign at first but God will later make it clear that we need to “adjust” our behavior in order to avoid bondage.
Mat 12:43 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.
Mat 12:44 Then he saith, I will return into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept, and garnished.
Mat 12:45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
Last week I said that if you had difficulty with FEAR than there was a high likelihood that you probably had the gift of FAITH…or should probably be operating in that gift. I believe that if you have difficulty with INFIRMITY throughout your life than there is also a likelihood that you should be operating in the gift of HEALING.
Oral Roberts nearly died of tuberculosis when he was seventeen and later started one of the world’s most famous faith healing ministries.
Another famous faith healer, Smith Wigglesworth, also had an interesting healing story when he was a young pastor. Let us read the story in his own words:
All night I was praying, pleading for deliverance, but none came. My wife was sure it was my home call and sent for a physician. He said that there was no possible chance for me-my body was too weak. Having had the appendicitis for six months, my whole system was drained, and, because of that, he thought that it was too late for an operation. He left my wife in a state of broken-heartedness.
After he left, there came to our door a young man and an old lady. I knew that she was a woman of real prayer. They came upstairs to my room. This young man jumped on the bed and commanded the evil spirit to come out of me. He shouted, “Come out, you devil; I command you to come out in the name of Jesus!” There was no chance for an argument, or for me to tell him that I would never believe that there was a devil inside of me. The thing had to go in the name of Jesus, and it went, and I was instantly healed.
Hopefully, I have made you consider the possibility that there might be demonic spirits that can and will afflict you…even if you are a mature Christians. Also, hopefully, mature Christians will begin to recognize these demonic influences and start dealing with them like the Bible tells us how to deal with them.
Next week, the Lord willing, I am going to write about the spirit of divination vs. the gift of prophecy.
Eph 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Eph 6:11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
Eph 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.