Three Paths to Healing
Just as we have three parts to our nature, so too we have three paths to healing our bodies. This is because there is a hierarchical order to our tripartite nature: first the spirit, then the soul, then the body. We are spiritual beings who have souls who live in bodies. See Healing Body, Soul and Spirit. If we don't understand the realities we are dealing with, much heartache or wasted effort can result. Since our God has placed hierarchy and order in creation, we will move most powerfully into His purposes, if we stay attentive to the boundaries He has set.
All scripture citations are from the English Standard Version (ESV) unless otherwise noted.
Healing Body, Soul and Spirit - Three Distinct Approaches
For any physical illness there are three paths to healing that we can pursue:
We can go upward to God through prayer - bypassing both our hearts and our bodies.
We can go inward after the root of the problem which often is embedded in the heart.
We can relieve the symptoms and sometimes produce a cure by dealing directly with the body itself.
Healing Body, Soul and Spirit - The Boundaries
The divinely created hierarchy of spirit first, then soul, then body sets the boundaries for what is normally possible:
1) Healing the Spirit
Our spirit can only be healed by one means: by God directly. It takes God's Word, faith and the working of God's Spirit to restore genuine spiritual life, where there had once been only death. Nothing else can accomplish this. The spirit cannot be healed by the workings of our own inner life (soul) or by any physical exertion on our part.
2) Healing the Soul
Our soul (our inner life) can be healed by two means: by God directly or through the mending of our heart. The heart is the deepest thing about us, so deep only the Lord can effectively search its hidden depths. It is where images and memory are held, where our deepest beliefs are retained, where thoughts are influenced and emotions are released. Jesus said that "out of the heart" both good and evil issue forth. Solomon urges us to "guard our hearts with diligence" for that very reason.
Mending the heart can be done by God directly through prayer alone; more often God works through many things that require our active cooperation to produce the transformations which heal our hearts: the renewing of our minds by His Word and by carrying of the deep thoughts of our hearts captive to Christ, especially during times of trial. These are two common means. Things in our deep heart cannot be cured by merely physical remedies. A pill, for instance, can change the way a person feels, but only as long as the medicine is working.
3) Healing the Body
Our body can be healed by three means: by God through prayer, through the heart by freeing it of its deep stress, and by natural means (doctors, medicines, procedures, and other remedies).
Healing Body, Soul and Spirit - the Pathways
Turning this dynamic hierarchy around we see that through our spiritual connection to God any area of our life (mental, emotional, physical) can be directly healed or restored by God. This gives us our three paths to healing.
1) The Spiritual Pathway
The first, highest and best path to healing is prayer.
God's power supersedes all else. If we are healed directly by God through prayer, what could be better? This prayer pathway is well known but underdeveloped in anything like its true potential. However, it does have a drawback. It sometimes happens that if the root cause of the disease of body or dis-ease of soul is not mended, then even the healing God produces by His Spirit can be overthrown if what is broken in a person's heart reasserts itself.
2) The Emotional Pathway
The second path is healing the soul by mending the heart.
This path has the potential to produce the deepest and most elegant cure. The root issue of many, if not all, disease is the stress effect upon our bodies. Relieve the soul from carrying its burden of stress (either from past trauma or present problems) and the body can spring back into life. Not only is the heart mended, but the body can be as well. That's a tremendous bargain - two for one!
Admittedly, this is not as easy as it sounds, for we are only at the beginning of tracing the mind-emotion-body connections and mending the interior life. Too few people take this path seriously, though most everyone acknowledges the reality of stress's effect upon the body. Nevertheless, if a disease has its root in the soul, then the most direct path for healing the body is to heal the soul of that which is wounding it.
3) The Physical Pathway
The third path is the seeking to heal the body through natural, physical means.
This is the one we spend the most money on: doctors, medicine and natural remedies. We have absolutely nothing against doctors or medicine, provided that the Lord is always consulted first and that a person looks to God to lead the way. However, since we are neither doctors nor druggists, we leave mending the body by natural means to others.
On this site you will find a tremendous amount for mending your heart and gaining emotional restoration and mastery over your inner state. This could also lead to a physical cure for your body. It will certainly lead to greater peace and freedom, more ready access to joy, and a closer walk with the Lord. What are you waiting for? Go now to explore Emotional Healing.
Next Healing Essential
Physical Healing When the body breaks down, it rightly cries out for our attention. Displaying a tremendous heart of compassion, Jesus healed everyone brought before Him. He didn't just do it once. He did it on every recorded occasion. This shows us our Father's heart as well: No matter how or why we get sick, God wants us healed! Because Jesus is the same today as He was yesterday, you can count on it that He is just as ready and willing to heal us now as He was then.
Interested in Going Deeper?
Consider taking our free eCourse for Healing. We have designed a complete series for personal transformation, "Matters of the Heart," to help Christians gain emotional freedom and inner healing. In all there are 24 Main Healing Lessons and 24 Head to Heart Guides to help you bring your heart to God and receive His Great Heart for you in return!