My testimony: Winter of 1992 sinusitis. Went away in summer of ‘93. A tinge of it on a cold day in fall ‘93. “Help!” Vision of myself as a field with satan standing on my waist casting handfuls of seed into my chest, throat, sinuses. “What do I do?” “Rebuke it” was the answer.
Began rebuking and soon realized that my earlier learnings about faith being an act of will came into play. But I felt an unease and when I asked the Lord about it, He reminded me that all my thoughts were negative. When I asked what to do He replied “rebuke them too.” So I did and sinusitis went away and never returned. When I looked up the Greek word for “rebuke” I saw that it’s literal meaning was to strangle.
Symptoms came my way, especially when I was getting ready for a conference or mission.
In Durango: 4 symptoms. The thought “you can’t successfully rebuke all 4!” But did it anyway. Now there was an unease again and when I asked about it the Lord reminded me that I had emotions accommodating the symptoms, especially fear. So I rebuked emotions also.
Thirty minutes later during the sermon my buzzer went off and I checked in with the Lord and noticed that all symptoms were gone.
Been sick about 12 times since ’93.
• sinned and felt I deserved it
• a one-day cold on Brazil plane
• cough in Hong Kong and for next 9 weeks
• vomiting in Uganda
• and 6 or 7 colds
But I’ve had symptoms of illness about 500 times.
I even test positive for TB and may have had some initial symptoms of it, but I’ve never had TB. The Lord has always sent it away, with my collaboration.
I. BIBLICAL ANTHROPOLOGY
A. Paul speaks of three main aspects of mankind when he was concluding his first letter to the Thessalonians: “May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” 5:23b-24.
B. The body is the physical dimension.
C. The soul is the distinctively human part, comprised of mind, will, and emotion. Those three capabilities combine in various ways to produce personality, temperament, intelligence, emotional characteristics, humor, capability, skill, and the like.
D. The spirit is that part of mankind that is made in the image of God. As Jesus said, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24. When you accepted Jesus in your heart, the Holy Spirit came into you and joined Himself with your spirit so that you are one.
E. I have designed the chart configuring all these factors so that the will is seen as the administrator of the spirit.
F. Faith operates in the will. The mind informs the will and one has emotions about a proposed act of will, but it is the will itself in which faith dwells and is enacted.
G. Notice the arrows from the body, mind, and emotions attacking the will. This is spiritual warfare. The enemy does not have direct access to the spirit and the will, but they are his target. He uses his access to the mind, emotions, and body to influence the will. If he can get a human’s will to agree with him, he has won that battle.
II. HOW THIS PLAYS OUT
A. Taking Control of our Thoughts
1. The early church father John Chrysostom said, “I beg you right from the start not to welcome any corrupt thought, for if we do so the seeds will grow inside us, and if we get to that stage, the sin inside us will come out in deeds and strike us dead by condemning us, in spite of all our confessions and tears. For there is nothing more destructive than sin.”
2. We cannot control what comes into our thinking, but we can control whether it stays there
or not and whether it is allowed any influence on our decisions.
3. It must be emphasized that negative/destructive/shameful thoughts do not seem to originate with the enemy; they seem like we ourselves have produced them. So it can feel
rather false to rebuke them, and in fact the enemy will tell you that in order to inhibit you
from controlling your thoughts.
B. How it plays out with illness.
1. When you begin the process of rebuking symptoms of illness as the first step in fending them off, you will soon become aware of thoughts about why this will not work. These thoughts will seem logical, rational, reasonable, even undeniable. They are accommodating the illness. So you must rebuke those thoughts as coming from the world, the flesh, or the enemy; this will keep them from accommodating the illness. Thus the seed of illness doesn’t bear fruit.
2. If accommodative emotions occur—fear, resignation, depression, etc—willfully rebuke them as well.
3. I advise rebuking symptoms, their causes, and accommodative thoughts and feelings out loud for about 2-3 minutes. Then go about your work and check your symptoms a few hours later. If they have diminished but are still present, rebuke them again.
If you need more input on the role of the will in having faith, get my The Mustard Seed Book, which deals with these matters in depth.