What is the Gift of Healing?

Have you ever wondered what the gift of healing is?  Some people believe the gift of healing is something doctors and nurses possess because of their natural inclination to learn science and practice medicine.  While God certainly uses the medical profession to help people heal, this is not the gift of healing the Bible talks about.

Before we examine the gift of healing, I want to briefly address what the gifts of the spirit are so as to verify these are supernatural giftings and not just natural talents that people possess.  1 Corinthians 12, which is commonly referred to as the gifts of the spirit chapter says these are manifestations or revealings of God. The gifts of the spirit are one of the ways the invisible God shows Himself to His people.  

If you’ll think about it, as great as medicine and the people who practice it are, no one has ever been given a treatment in a doctor’s office and said, “I just met God!”  The gift of healing, which is supernatural, however, has this effect on humanity!  It’s something that goes beyond the natural into a supernatural realm that brings us to a place of faith!

So what is the gift of healing:

1 Corinthians 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit,

The word Greek word for healing is íama and means to cure.  It comes from a root word that was used 28 times in the New Testament to mean physical healing or wholeness. All of these healings were done without the aid of medical science.  They were supernatural in nature.  And the best part is they were all gifts.  The Greek word for gift is cháris which means unmerited favor.  These gifts are all unearned expressions of God’s favor.  

It’s important to realize we can’t work for or earn any of God’s gifts.  We don’t have to read large portions of the scripture, pray a lot of hours, or get sin out of our life to get God to want to move.  He doesn’t move because we earn it, He moves because He is good and He wants to use the gift to draw us to a place of deeper intimacy with Him.  

Before I share a scriptural example of the gift of healing, I also want to distinguish how the gift of healing is different than the the primary way healing comes which is through faith in the word of God.  The process of hearing the word of God and stewarding it in our heart so we walk in the promise of healing is what Mark 4 talks about.  For more information, click here.

All Christians should study the word of God to find out the promises God has made for us through the atonement of Jesus at the cross.  Sometimes, however, stage 4 cancer comes on a baby Christian and they don’t have time to develop their faith in the promise of healing that comes through the word.  They need a gift of healing from God. 

Other times God wants to reveal His goodness to unbelievers so God will heal their body through a gift of healing that operates in the life of a believer. That believer will impart healing through the laying on of hands and the unbeliever is healed even though they haven’t studied scriptures on healing and confessed God’s promises. Many times this is what turns them to Jesus.

A great example of a gift of healing in the Bible is the lame man who regularly laid at the gate of temple in Acts 3.  One day as Peter and John were going to pray, he asked for money from them and Peter said:

Acts 3:6 “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”

What did Peter have?  He had a gift of the Holy Spirit to bring healing. When Peter gave the command to walk, the man immediately stood up and walked.  This was a supernatural gift of healing. It didn’t come through medicine and it didn’t even come through this man’s faith. Think about it, the man sat outside the gate of temple.  He wasn’t in the temple hearing God’s word preached on healing and developing his faith.  From what we can tell he had absolutely zero faith for healing which is why he asked for money when he met Peter and John.  

Now, look at the man’s response when he was healed:

Acts 3:8 So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.

The man turned to God.  The gift of healing often operates to turn unbelievers to God or to ignite a passion for God in believers who have turned cold in their faith.  Kenneth Hagin used to say healing was God’s dinner bell that called people to Jesus!  

The other interesting thing about this story is this healing created a major stir in the city because the people who saw this man regularly sit at the temple gate were filled with wonder and amazement.  Peter then shared the gospel with them so they had the opportunity to believe in Jesus.  

This gift of healing made the religious leaders angry because they were afraid many more people were going to turn to Jesus and they began to persecute Peter and John.   I bring this up because many Christians today criticize the gift of healing and say it is not for modern times or sometimes Satan is the one who brings the healing. 

The next statement I’m about make is really strong, but I feel like I must say it in order to deal with a criticism Satan has stirred up in the body of Christ about the gifts of the spirit, especially healing.  The religious leaders, the Pharisees, who persecuted Peter and John were the same people that Jesus said were of their father the devil.  When Satan’s kingdom was threatened by this gift, he stirred criticism through his spiritual children, the Pharisees.  I believe when people criticize the gift of healing today, the criticism is really stemming from Satan because every time someone is healed and turns to Jesus, his kingdom is threatened.  It’s a modern day Pharisee spirit.

So how do we threaten Satan’s kingdom and operate in the gift of healing?  

  1. Desire – According to 1 Corinthians 14:1 the key to operating in the gifts is desire. Begin to ask God to increase your desire for the the supernatural.  God’s eyes roam the whole earth desiring someone to show himself strong through.  He just needs you and me to have the same desire!  
  2. Action – The next time you see someone who needs healing, step out in faith and pray for them.  There is always a temptation to worry about how you will look if the person doesn’t get healed.  I’m sure Peter felt it in Acts 3, but I can assure you 100% of the people we don’t pray for won’t be healed.  We have nothing to lose by acting on our faith and praying for the sick.  God gave the gift of healing and He wants people healed more than we do.  Rest in that fact. You’ll be shocked at how many are healed and turn to Jesus.  I have been in my journey of faith!

As I close I want to assure you that God is a good God and He is looking for ways to pour out His goodness throughout the earth!  Let’s obey Him and begin to earnestly covet the gifts of spirit so our world can see a greater expression of His goodness!

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