I love this guy’s incredible insights on so many subjects. Here, he shares many useful things about contemplative prayer as a means of finding peace within.
Restoration in Christ Ministry (RCM), originally led by Dr. Tom Hawkins and now by his widow, Diane Hawkins (an SRA survivor herself) has been heavily working with DID and such since the 1980’s (if I remember correctly). They have been one of the early pioneers to teach ministry to fractured parts and certain related subjects, such as the courts of heaven, to the widespread body of Christ.
Their approach seems to be focused on the most extreme end of the scale, rather than on ministry to the common fractured parts everyone has which I’m usually talking about in my posts. Nevertheless, the principles are often the same.
I can’t promise that all the healing approaches taught would be something I would endorse. I’ve run into widespread use of approaches I don’t endorse, usually called “memory work” or “memory healing,” which I’ve found to be unnecessary and unnecessarily traumatic for people when working with their more significant fracturing. I’m a bit concerned that this ministry may still be teaching that approach, by the looks of the names of some of their seminar modules.
Still, they are going to have tremendous wisdom and insight into the general subject of understanding DID and ministry to it, even if my suspicions are correct. I expect that I could learn a ton from their decades of intensive experience.
Education is helpful here, and I don’t think it’s healthy to only get your info on such a thing as this from only one source.
Here is a link to an upcoming RCM training webinar on Feb 17, 2017 ($40 charge):
And here is a link to their more in-depth materials ($95 for Mp3 format):
An Encouragement for Those in a Healing Process:
You don’t need to have this all figured out. This isn’t about figuring out an equation to get yourself healed. The Lord is healing you. It is your job to rest and receive, nothing more. HE is your healer, just believe it and let him continue to do it.
Let him love you. He wants to take the burdens from you. This isn’t about you having to perform or have all the answers. You never possibly could, but he does, and he is leading you in them. He is perfectly faithful to complete that which he has begun in you and will do it. Again, your job is just to receive.
Many times we can get all caught up in thinking we have to figure out how to get healed, work the equation, learn everything, make it happen, but redemption doesn’t work like that. Redemption is a gift from the lover of your soul, and he is redeeming you piece by piece, whether you see it all happening now or not. Just let him do it. If you could do it yourself there would be no need for the cross.
It is good to learn from others, to learn wisdom about how the spiritual and human internal realms work, and about how the Lord often works in those realms. At the same time, let him be your guide. Let him be your source. Just let him do what he wants to do, what he has already given everything he had so that he could do for you.
We’re probably used to thinking of God as requiring people to trust him or to believe in him so that they can qualify for his help or his salvation. What if I told you that God doesn’t require faith from the unbelieving, but instead gives faith to unbelievers by proving himself trustworthy in their lives first? What if “saved by grace through faith, and that the gift of God,” actually means faith is something God builds in us as he reveals who he is to us, while not requiring it from those who don’t yet have it? Would this change the very foundation of much ministry as we know it? Let me explain a bit from an example of the Lord ministering to someone’s deep woundedness:
I was praying with someone who came from a great Christian family. She described her upbringing as very healthy, loving, and free of abuse. Like many church kids do however, she rebelled against Christianity as she got older, getting into drugs, dabbling in Eastern religions, running with the wrong crowds, etc. She was looking for something “real” as opposed to the lack of substance she had found in the Western Evangelical church. Despite her wholesome upbringing, she had just never encountered God in a way that was real to her.
After she found the Lord experientially as an adult, I ended up walking her through healing of some of her fractured parts which contained some of her issues. These ones seemed to come from more difficult, later times in her life, and had been created during times when she didn’t believe in Jesus. They still didn’t believe, even though the core of this woman was now strong in faith.
I think she was well adjusted overall when I first met her, and she had a strong, interactive relationship with God. Regardless of her wholesome and safe upbringing, current spirituality, and “well-adjustedness,” she still benefited significantly from healing her fractured parts.
WILL THE REAL JESUS PLEASE SHOW UP?
The morning before our scheduled prayer session, she believed the Lord was highlighting some specific issues from her past he still wanted to heal. I prayed at the beginning of the session and was shown a certain adult part of her who was driven to perform and to protect in certain ways. At first, it seemed we may have been getting conflicting directions since nothing was apparently lining up.
I quickly prayed over this part I was seeing and called it to the surface, to share anything which was on her heart with us. I made sure to let the woman know not to analyze her past or her emotions, that we didn’t need to figure all that out, but that we only needed to let the fractured part of her share what was on her (the part’s) heart.
It turned out that the pains and concerns the part was sharing from within this woman were very related to the issues in her past which the Lord had highlighted to her that morning. This was a time of great turmoil when she had felt very unsafe.
Like many fractured parts, this one was found in a spiritual house within the woman, and this house was actually a place of captivity representing the trauma she endured at the time. (Parts can be found in many different structures, such as dungeons, caves, corporate buildings, etc., but a house is probably most common.) When I asked the part how she felt about Jesus, she replied that she didn’t have faith in him, saying “I’m not sure if he’s real.”
Since I’ve run into this so often, where parts don’t believe in the Lord (and many times even hate him or aggressively refuse to trust him) and have seen these things resolved in the same ways over and over again, I reassured her that this would be no problem. I told her that Jesus doesn’t need her to believe in him, but that he would come and prove himself to her if she was only willing to give him a chance.
I started out by asking her if she knew of any gods or spirits who were already in the house. The words came back, “Pharmakia and Rebellion.” I asked how she felt about those spirits. She replied, “I’m only trying to make friends.” It turned out that these spirits were what the “cool” people were into at the time. I asked if she knew they were demons and that they were there to kill her. She said, “yes.”
I asked how it was going with these spirits helping her to make friends, and she said that she still felt very lonely. She agreed with me that these bad spirits weren’t doing their job very well, and absolutely agreed to have them removed. (Permission is usually all you need) As I told them to go, the part (and the woman overall) suddenly felt much more peaceful.
The reason why I went straight from talking about Jesus showing up and proving himself to asking about other spirits is because I’ve found the presence of other “gods” to be the main reason people’s parts end up encountering the wrong spirit when inviting the Lord in. No sin on the part of the person or their parts is going to stop the Lord from ministering to them (if they are willing to receive), but intentional agreements with other spirits in place of the Lord, where those beings have become “gods” or guides to the person and their parts, do tend to produce counterfeit encounters.
In other words, I’ve found that the Lord will reveal himself no matter what hurts or sins the parts are carrying (as long as they are truly willing for him to do that), but that literal relationship with other gods/spirits tends to be a blockage needing to be resolved before he will show up.
I believe this all just comes down to free will. Grace is absolute, but the Lord also respects our will absolutely.
I was asking the part what form she would be most comfortable with the Lord showing up as since he can take any form one is most at ease with. The important thing is the eyes of whatever shows up. Is there love in the eyes or are they cold, mean, and/or empty? Is everything in the eyes good, or is there something negative in there? That’s how you can know it’s the Lord or not. The Lord always allows the parts to see his eyes. Other spirits may look great everywhere else, and even can look just like Jesus in every other way, but will hide their eyes to hide their true nature.
You can also tell by how the spirit treats the parts. Is it helping and healing the woundedness, or only reinforcing the woundedness? The counterfeits are often passive and powerless, giving promises of healing but not actually doing anything, or they may be mean and aggressive, literally causing more problems. Hopefully though, you will check the eyes first so that you don’t need to let them go that far. If in doubt, you can always use your authority in Christ to expose or restrain counterfeits, and that will work if they are really counterfeits.
While I was still talking with the part and as she was sharing that she would like the Lord to come in a certain form, she noticed that something was already in the room seeming to take that form. It had wings like an angel and had blue light shining from all around it. It sounded like it could have been a real angel. It got down on one knee and began ministering to the part, consoling her, telling her that she was OK, that everything was fine. I kept urging her to check the eyes. She said they were green and blue, but I wanted her to tell me what emotions or qualities were coming from those eyes, not just what color they were.
The woman told me that this part wasn’t willing to trust this being, wasn’t willing to extend faith that this “God” was really good. I replied that she doesn’t need to extend any trust. I actually told her not to trust at all, because that wasn’t what we were doing. We were trying to discern the being, not trying to trust it.
I asked the part to look into its eyes again and to report what she saw. The woman began to relay to me that she was getting images of dead things with empty, dark eyes as her part was examining the eyes of this “angel.” As she realized that her job was not to automatically trust whatever showed up, she began to get some discernment about the being, that it was a fairy, not an angel. Fairies are a mythological (but actually spiritual) creature known for rebellion and mischief.
I walked the woman and her part through a generational renunciation, breaking any agreements ancestors may have made with fairies or with folk religions which would have invited relationship with fairies. I’ve found generational renunciation to be necessary and effective on certain occasions where, regardless of how many personal agreements with evil spirits were broken, people’s parts just kept on running into counterfeit after counterfeit as they were inviting God to reveal himself. As in those situations, after this renunciation, the fairy disappeared. The woman felt led to have her part break agreement with a certain form psychedelic drug use which could have been related to fairies, and she did that as well.
When we invited the Lord to reveal himself to the part now, Jesus came in the room in the form he is portrayed in Akiane’s paintings. The part said she always liked that image of Jesus, and was most comfortable with it. As she examined him, looking into his eyes, she could see love there, and could see no bad qualities, only good.
Jesus took her hand and began leading her out of the house, which had been her place of darkness and captivity. She felt great peace and freedom as she escaped that building. As they walked outside, Jesus began to hold her, allowing her to cry on his shoulder. He talked to her a little bit and asked her, “Do you trust me?” She exclaimed, “Yes!”
There was a little bit of further healing if I remember correctly, and then the part was integrated into the whole woman. She felt wonderful.
SOME THINGS TO PONDER
After the prayer session, I shared with the woman how smooth and easy her healing was going. I run into plenty of rougher cases. She was sharing how good her childhood had been, how little trauma there was, how loving her parents were, how she was raised in such a wholesome Christian home, etc. Those are all good things. She shared that her wayward times just came from her own rebellion.
I can’t give God credit for this with certainty, but I started to see the typical “Christian upbringing” from a little bit different perspective. I spontaneously began to share something with her which was coming out of that.
I shared that I was impressed with people I’d known who had grown up in really strong Christian homes, who had seemed so well rounded, relationally healthy, and balanced. I could clearly tell that their upbringing was vastly different than mine, where I had one parent emotionally absent for a little bit before soon being dead, and then the other parent too overwhelmed with survival to be there much, neither of whom were very churchgoing (So I was not either). On the other hand, I said that growing up in the church is often traumatic in its own way.
I referred to the Western Evangelical church as “a cult,” where great fear and shame are used to push people to agree with beliefs they have personally seen little or no evidence for, and where people are demanded, under threat of great punishment, to act like someone who knows God when they don’t actually know him.
I shared that she was never rebelling against God in her search for “forbidden” experiences. This was because she hadn’t known him yet. She had only been rebelling against the control tactics of a cult. She had done what any human being tends to do when intensely pressured to swallow and conform to standards and beliefs without any evidence, reacting in the opposite direction.
I pray with people who have grown up in church and in committed Christian homes who have come away with severe issues. People have had their very personhood taken away, turned into doormats for lifelong abuse in the name of submission and obedience to “godly authority.” Women have been convinced to submit to their husband’s beatings “as unto the Lord.”
People have formed “good” (complicit) parts and “bad” (rebellious) parts in an effort to cope with a home where they had to comply with control or abuse to be “good,” or at other times have had to accept a label of being “bad” to maintain their own sense of worth and individuality.
People have been condemned and terrorized by a god who “righteously” threatens eternal torture for those who fail to line up to a standard they just can’t meet. If you don’t agree with the right doctrines, if you don’t behave the right ways, if you sin differently than the accepted group, you are one of “them,” not one of “us.” But, what if God doesn’t work that way? What if he doesn’t shame and terrorize people into accepting his doctrines? What if he earns our trust by his actions before he expects us to believe something about him?
There was a popular evangelism method, “The Way of the Master,” which was spread through the churches not too many years ago. I think it was based on traditional Methodist theology or something like that. It was created by this open-air street evangelist, an incredibly gifted public speaker, who I don’t think saw more than a couple conversions per year. I could be wrong on that, but most of the examples I saw were of people just getting pissed off and deciding he was full of crap.
He would start by condemning the unbeliever because they don’t measure up to the law of Moses (which law was never God’s will in the first place if you look at the context it was given, an answer to a rebellious people who had refused the Lord’s offer of relationship, demanding rules to keep according to their own slavery mentality and barbaric culture of some 4000 years ago). Then, he would proceed into quoting some completely mistranslated and out of context verse, sentencing the unbeliever to an eternity in a torturous flaming hell (a doctrine not found in the original languages of scripture and not very well accepted among Christians until Catholicism took control in the fifth century AD).
All along, this preacher would be insinuating that the person who genuinely wasn’t sure yet if Jesus was the way, really did already know and was “without excuse,” based on a verse out of Romans 1. The idea presented in Romans 1, that mankind has some kind of connection to God within and a conscience about right and wrong making us accountable for our moral choices, was used to demand a leap of faith into swallowing all of this man’s beliefs about a condemning, child abusing God worse than Hitler and Freddy Kruger combined. This was obviously leading into a fear based life of strict denial of most of one’s own thoughts, feelings, and spiritual process of discovery.
Somehow, despite its dismal results in most places it’s been applied, that method of evangelism was spread throughout the church, even across denominational lines. Maybe it fit right in with the culture already in place? Maybe someone smarter than me can offer a better explanation for such strange events.
What if real evangelism isn’t meant to look anything like that? What if God simply never treats people like that? What if we are meant to patiently love people and introduce them to a direct encounter with God so they can know him for themselves? What if spiritual leadership is meant to lead people into knowing him directly instead of merely being controlled by man? Maybe we’d end up with some different statistics than the current ones which say most churchgoing kids drop out of their faith as soon as they leave for college.
I’ve tended to share basic, introductory concepts related to what I do in deeper healing on this blog. Here, I’m offering a glimpse into a little more advanced possibilities. I’m going to share examples of:
-parts within parts -half-human/half-demon parts -gender bender parts
Examples are shared with permission, omitting identifying info.
Parts Within Parts
I was walking someone through healing a fractured part from deep rejection. In both simple memory healing and deeper work with fractured parts, I’ve consistently found it necessary to resolve anger and shame first to fully resolve other negative emotions (such as rejection.) I find that the Lord will consistently remove all the anger, shame, and remaining negative emotions if the parts carrying them are only willing to give him permission.
Parts may require some conversation with you and/or the Lord to become willing to give this permission. Once you have permission, you can command the bad stuff out (using your authority in Christ), or get the part in contact with the Lord and allow him to do it himself while you merely sit back. (Make sure it’s the real Jesus though, by checking whether everything in his eyes is loving and good. A false Jesus won’t be able to bring healing.)
In trying to remove anger from this part, I was running into an unusual problem. The anger wasn’t fully being removed, and the person was experiencing an awareness of a black cord, covered in barbed wire, connected to the anger inside their fractured part and twisted up within them. Trying to command the anger out had the futile effect of pulling on this barbed cord. It wasn’t going to budge
As the person receiving prayer examined the black cord, there was another fractured part within the first fractured part, who was holding onto the end of the cord. This part was much younger and smaller than the first and also in worse condition. It seemed to be a toddler, yet appeared in such bad shape that we had some question about whether it even was a part. Was it possibly a demon instead?
I separated the demonic from the human aspects of this part (through a command of faith), and bound and restrained the demonic from having any influence or control over it. That seemed to help its condition, but I forgot to get permission from the part to remove the demons completely. This toddler was covered in something red, which turned out to be anger (surprise surprise), and as we invited Jesus to minister to her, layers of this redness were being removed.
The toddler’s eyes were filled with darkness, and that prompted me to get its permission to remove all the demons. When they left, the baby’s eyes changed to normal blue. After a bit of work and a bit of letting Jesus minister to and talk to the toddler, it became willing to let go of the black, barbed cord so that the anger could be removed from the older part who the toddler lived within. The issue was that it needed to know Jesus could protect it, that it didn’t need the anger for protection anymore. This was resolved and the part set at ease as the Lord spoke with her.
There were further steps to walk this toddler part through, and it became ready to be integrated in only a few minutes. The older part had been receiving ministry for maybe three or four hours already (two sessions), then received a bit more significant help even after the Lord had healed the toddler living within her. She needed to be walked through the resolution of many different wounds and strongholds overall.
As I’ve shared before, I find it of great importance to bring healing to all the issues a part is carrying before integration, because whatever the part has is going to be integrated into the person when that happens.
Some of her and her toddler’s issues required generational repentance to resolve. (I had to lead the fractured parts through prayers of generational repentance, rather than only leading the core identity through that.) As I write this, the older part is still not fully healed or integrated, but I suspect would be ready for that very soon.
This is just an example of a complication, where a fractured part contained a fractured part of its own, and that part was heavily demonized, actually joined to the demonic as one. (This is different than just being infested, but is a matter of actually being joined together as one being.) That part within a part needed a command of faith to separate the demonic aspect of itself from the human aspect before it could be worked with and before it could give permission for the demonic to be fully removed. All this was necessary before the anger of the older part could be resolved and we could move onto healing the deepest layers of rejection.
In these situations (where the demonic is joined to the human), I’ve found that trying to merely cast out or bind up the demons simply doesn’t work, because the demonic is woven together with the humanity, and you can’t cast out or bind up a human part of someone. A good clue to this is when someone has a “demon” that doesn’t obey commands of authority in Christ. If it were only a demon, that would be impossible. You can know that you are dealing with something else in those situations. The demonic aspect of the part must be separated from the human aspect of it before commands of authority will have an effect on the demonic. I run into this issue regularly.
Gender Bender Parts
In another instance, I was praying with a man who had a fragment (small part) which appeared as a very thin woman wearing a dress. This is not uncommon either. When there is a woman part within a man or vice versa, it doesn’t mean that they are transgendered or anything like that.
This means that some part of the person has rejected an aspect of their gender, or at least their perception of an aspect of their gender. I’ve always found the Lord to turn the opposite gendered parts back to the same gender as the host if ministry continues long enough.
As we identified some of the emotions that this woman part was holding, we were able to get some pains removed. We invited Jesus to come minister to her and were sure to have the woman look in Jesus’ eyes to check if everything in them was good, then to relay what she saw back to us. This is important because it can be so easy to run into spirits pretending to be Jesus, who look and seem like him in many ways, yet will always have something dark or creepy in their eyes. There are lots of religious spirits running around out there.
As the real Jesus was identified and as he ministered to this woman, we found that she was a motherly part of the person who was taking care of three young boy parts hidden under her dress. As in the previous example, these kids were in real bad shape.
I prayed to separate, bind and restrain the demonic from having any influence on them, and then asked for their permission to get rid of all the demons. I saw the two on the left raising their hands urgently that they wanted the demons gone, and the one on the right pointing to the other two, saying that they really needed help with their demons.
I had to explain to him that I wasn’t asking him about the other two, but about whether he was willing to have his own demons removed. He then raised his own hand to give permission as well. As I commanded the demons to be removed, all three kids took out jars containing insects, snakes, and maybe other creepy-crawlies, opened them, and let these “pets” slither, crawl, or fly away.
The three kids were healed from some more issues, fused into one if I remember right, then walked through some more healing before being integrated.
As the mother part received more ministry from the Lord, it seemed that she was becoming more “gender neutral,” and was becoming more agreeable to the idea of being changed back into a man. As I prayed for her name, body parts, clothes, and everything else to be changed back to the correct gender, she turned into a man who was wearing a dirty laborer’s uniform.
A later step of healing for this part (as the Lord spontaneously revealed) was to be taken into a heavenly shower facility to be cleansed. He came out clean, but with an alter-ego attached to his side. I wasn’t sure what to do about this, so I prayed for healing of this alter ego and a fusing together with the original part. (Fusing is where you join parts together with each other, rather than integrating them into the core person. It can be helpful as an intermediate step to make parts easier to work with if you have too many.)
Immediately, the man was perceived as being back to his prior state of being dressed in a dirty laborer uniform! I prayed to separate them again, and they were back to being a clean guy with a bad alter-ego joined at the hip.
It turned out necessary to have the two fully separated and this alter-ego removed. I think it was something demonic or possibly a disembodied human spirit attached to the part. Either way, it turned out to be something needing removal, not integration.
In this sort of healing, I’ve learned some things but am also stumbling around plenty of times, making mistakes, discovering new insights, and learning as I go. The good news is that the Lord is right there to clean up any messes and move things forward in a productive way even if I do miss something.
We need to be willing to learn by experience with all this. We can apply knowledge we’ve learned since many situations repeat in person after person, but there will always be new problems to solve as well.
I wish I could say I always know exactly what the Lord is going to do, but reality is that I rely on a combination of revelation, acquired knowledge and wisdom, and just kinda fumbling around trusting that somehow the Lord is able to show up and help people even if I don’t know all the answers. He’s really good at helping people despite my lack.
So, if you are wondering how to get started in this area, even in praying for yourself (since I and the people I know who do this are very limited in ability to take on new people), maybe I can say it’s time to get out of the boat and walk on the water? Even if you fall, there is someone right there to pick you up. Just make sure it’s the Jesus with love in his eyes, not the other guy. (That was a bit of a joke. He’s still with you to pick you up even if you contact the other guy by accident first, as I have more than once.)
These days I do a lot of deeper healing work with people from around the world.
Some of what I do is comparable to what one may find many places in the body of Christ, such as using Spirit led declarations for healing and freedom, healing memories, praying over people’s human spirits, breaking spiritual bondages in various ways. On the other hand, there are things I’m doing that I almost never see among almost any other ministries.
I spend a lot of time working with people’s fractured parts, helping them to interact with the Lord and to receive healing. This is something I’ve found to be a common need for the average person, and to consistently produce significant healing and transformation, even when nothing else has seemed to help over years of faithful Christian practices and inner healing, etc.
This began with my own journey of needing some answers.
THE JOURNEY BEGINS (THE PRELUDE OR BACKGROUND)
In my journey through Spirit-filled churches, I was exposed to many traditional mentalities about how people were expected to become healed or set free from what troubled them. I discovered that many “revival” and “gospel” ministries meant to free people were actually placing unrealistic burdens on them.
Some ministries seemed to expect that a quick time of repentance and briefly being prayed over at an altar would be enough to get people fixed. Scripture verses tended to be quoted such as, “The yoke shall be broken because of the anointing,” and “Behold, I do a new thing! Remember not the former things, says the Lord,” from Isaiah. All you needed (they thought) was someone to lay hands on you, speak the name of Jesus, impart the power of Holy Spirit, and you would then be free from everything – if you were genuinely repentant.
We would experience a real touch from God in those places, maybe falling down and getting the shakes, or having a supernatural sense of his closeness to us and of his joy. This is not to be underestimated, but it usually didn’t equal healing of our issues or anything approaching full spiritual freedom.
God likes to be with us, to share his joy of having relationship with us, to make us feel good, and he doesn’t always need to be fixing us at the time. Just like any quality relationship you have with anybody, you don’t always need to be fixing each other.
However, religious folks expected us to be fixed after such an experience. The truth was that we still had most of the same issues we had come in with, but now we “had no excuse”! I can’t count how many people I’ve known who have been given worthless and ineffective answers to their hurts and then condemned for not being totally healed a week later.
In my case, I was dealing with deep woundedness in some seriously fractured parts of myself. To find real healing, I wasn’t going to be able to just decide one day to “repent,” or to “just get over it.” A little touch from the Lord on the surface wouldn’t be enough. I was going to need to open up long blocked off areas of myself and allow the Lord to work progressively in those places.
I tried every “simple answer” I could. I believed excessive, stretched versions of what I thought it could mean to be one with God and as perfect as Jesus through understanding and believing in my identity in Christ. I believed I could move mountains with commands of faith, and I did see physical reality change before my eyes through applications of that truth.
As a very young, zealous believer who had found God to be absolutely real and trustworthy, I watched physical miracles of healing happen regularly. I even saw vehicles instantly repaired by commands of faith. I regularly watched gold dust appear on people’s bodies out of thin air after a prayer of faith. I saw drug addicts and alcoholics set free on the street with no withdrawal symptoms. Still, deep down, I had heavy emotional woundedness which I couldn’t seem to do anything about.
I worshiped passionately, meditated in scripture and stood on the promises of healing and freedom in the word, prayed and fasted, believed for healing, believed doctrines, etc., but so many of my deep inner hurts didn’t budge an inch as a result of any of that.
I came to find far greater breakthrough for myself and others by learning to apply more in-depth knowledge and wisdom in partnership with Holy Spirit to intentionally heal deeper hurts. He has called us to a participatory role. He has called us to learn how to exercise the authority and inheritance he has given us in Christ.
It has definitely been a process, with lots of trial and error along the way, but there has been continual and awesome progress. I love seeing actual transformation in people’s lives rather than just a showy spiritual touch on the surface, especially when folks are desperate for real change.
WHERE THE “PARTS” COME IN
Healing for people’s fractured parts was a basic element of Jesus’ mission statement in Luke 4:18 where he quoted Isaiah 61, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor, he has sent me to bind up/heal the broken hearted…” The word for “broken hearted” there in the Hebrew is “Shabar,” which means to be shattered into many pieces.
Jesus came to heal and to bind together those who have been shattered into many pieces. Many today are finding this to be literally true, that most (if not all) people have been shattered into many fractured parts, and that these parts need to be healed and joined back together for the person to experience wholeness. This not only became an important part of my own journey in healing, but it has become a key aspect of my ministry to others today. I run into way more need than I can possibly meet.
I began learning about this subject while searching out answers for folks who were dealing with more difficult issues than myself. I was led to answers in this area, finding along the way that I needed the same kind of help. I was never anything close to meeting the diagnostic criteria for DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder or “Multiple Personality Disorder”), which is what people typically think of if you start talking about fractured parts. People imagine things being way too extreme.
I just had pain deep inside that I didn’t seem to be able to do anything about, which I knew was limiting my ability to walk out all I was meant to be. I had painful emotions which I didn’t seem to have any control over through any discipline or choice of my own, didn’t have the ability to cast out or declare healing over to any effect, or even any ability to walk through standard inner healing tools I knew about. I had tended to keep this pain walled off deep inside me.
I had gotten used to suppressing those emotions and doing my best to live without awareness of them, but the Lord was calling me to get real with my heart. I had learned to live a pretty disciplined life, but now I was learning that the Lord was looking for authentic access to my heart (so he could heal me), not just disciplined and dutiful performance.
As I began to open up to these long walled off areas of my emotions and memories to people, just trying to bring things out into the light in an attempt to counteract the powerful and irrational shame and fear which I felt over things from a younger age, there were times I felt like I was shifting into a different persona.
Still, that experience was not anything like what you see in a DID case where a totally different personality takes over someone’s body, who has totally different memories and awareness which the main personality has no access to. I had not been through the kinds of extreme trauma people typically associate with having parts. (But what do they know, which is part of my point.) Mine was a more subtle experience.
These were some areas I found in my own life which would not seem to be touched by any standard “Christian” practices, but where fractured parts would need intentional ministry for me to experience healing.
WHAT HEALING HAS LOOKED LIKE
Some of my own nearly instantaneous healing experiences were so dramatic that I felt I could barely relate to ways I had perceived myself and the world around me only seconds prior. My emotions and perspectives changed that significantly, that instantly during larger integrations, and this happened not once, but multiple times during my process.
In one early healing session, I remember two men from a ministry team calling up a certain fractured part. Immediately, I was in another state of mind experiencing that part’s consciousness. I was seeing into the spiritual realm as clearly as we normally see into the natural realm, and I had a sensation of being spun rapidly.
Above my head (my part’s head) was this Star-Trek looking contraption with flashing lights all over it, and it seemed to be responsible for the spinning. As soon as I shared this, one of the team members prayed for the sci-fi looking device to be destroyed. Immediately, the rapid spinning sensation stopped as the overhead contraption disappeared. Their opinion was that this device related to “programming” which goes on during ritual abuse (though I had never been ritually abused).
They questioned this part of me and led it in prayer for healing and integration. It was quickly walked through a few steps of healing and then integrated. It’s hard for me to describe the feeling of integration because it isn’t like anything else I could reference, but I would say it was like there was significantly more of me after the experience. I felt like I had new capacities and a stronger sense of self-awareness.
For the rest of that day, I also had a feeling like I was being spun in the opposite direction than my part had been spinning during the session. This was probably because this part was so used to being spun the one way, that being still now felt like spinning the other way. There was quite a sense of oppression being lifted from me during that ministry time also.
The explanation I was given about the ritual abuse (RA) related contraption was that some RA programming gets put upon people without a need for physical contact when rituals are done through astral projection. Searching into materials on ritual abuse years later, I also found out that spinning is a known RA technique to create dissociation.
These are just pieces of information and are interesting. I don’t think I can draw hard conclusions about exactly how I got all those fractured parts or why my healing process was more complicated than I would have expected. I can think about the possibility of high levels of emotional duress in the womb or as an infant due to the fact that my parents were both very wounded and one of them was a hard drug addict.
I can’t totally explain where my stuff came from. I’m glad I didn’t need to figure it out at all to get tremendous healing. Miraculous transformation is much different than figuring yourself out.
Most of my healing sessions were more subtle than the one I just described, yet the results were not always more subtle: emotional issues were instantly resolved, the way I felt around people and related to them suddenly changed and became healthier, and I found rest in areas where I had tended to be driven and stressed out before.
I recall another session where many of my parts were being brought out from all kinds of different hiding places: underground, underwater, caves, dungeons, etc. One was even trapped in a dungeon and had a territorial spirit connected to it by a giant insect-type stinger stuck into its back. (This was dismantled easily through a quick prayer, and the part was also quickly brought out of the dungeon just as easily.)
In order to work with the large crowd of parts, the minister used an older, more whole and stronger part as a liaison, who he called up via word of knowledge by the name “Steven.” I just went with it and allowed the thoughts and impressions within me to come to the surface to be shared with this minister, and pretty soon the session was off and running.
Interestingly, when I was very young (kindergarten or so), I had tended to make up stories about a person named “Steven/Stephen,” (I would pronounce the name “Steven” but spell it “Stephen.”) and this person would have all sorts of adventures in my young imagination. He was basically like a main character in an action/adventure movie. I’ve since seen that people tend to create parts according to what was in their imagination at the time.
This fractured part of me who responded to that name felt very mature, turned out to be a great communicator for the rest of my parts, seemed to flow in discernment and prophecy like nobodies business, and understood ministry to parts very well. (This was a few years into my journey, and I had already gotten some experience working with that stuff for myself and others.)
As the young adult I was at the time, I wondered if this may have been my “ministry part” who I would switch into when I really wanted to let go of awareness of everything else in my life to just flow in the Spirit. He seemed to be me at my best in that area. It was all so easy for him.
Steven was rattling off discernment after discernment of what was going on among the rest of my parts, identifying issue after issue among the younger parts and what the Lord wanted to do for them, then what needed to be done next, etc. The minister leading the session mostly had little to do as this part quickly pointed out how the Lord was saying this and healing that and so on, just as if he’d done this all a thousand times before. (Neither I nor “he” had done this a thousand times.)
More parts, single, in pairs, or in entire groups, were called together from various places, brought out of hiding places, or rescued from captivity, to join the larger crowd as I watched it all unfold. Steven would identify the types and colors of clothes they were wearing and what problems those colors represented, how the Lord was ministering to those parts to change all the clothes to white (representing spiritual purity), and/or simply describing the various issues they were being healed from and how that was being done.
The large group of parts, including Steven, were all healed from various issues and integrated within that short (roughly one hour) session. It made a significant difference for me.
During that whole session, I had no sense of “switching,” or of actually becoming somebody else as “Steven” talked through me. I was still just me, still experiencing the normal thoughts and normal, stable emotional states I would typically experience in the better parts of any given day. I was just allowing whatever/whoever was inside me, in an environment of Christ-centered prayer and faith, to put thoughts and impressions in my mind, to answer questions, and to share information. As a result, I did experience a dramatically noticeable healing in my mind and emotions as the session came to a close.
There were times during my overall process when I would pray for my parts without others’ help, perceiving them in the spirit and asking the Lord to walk them through healing in various ways, leading to their integration. I would tend to notice a shift taking place inside, and in the case of larger parts or groups of parts, I would experience a sense of confusion for a few hours afterward as integration was being processed. After those more significant integrations I would tend to notice more of a sense of confusion at first, but then positive changes in my life later on.
Those are a few examples of how instances of healing and integration for fractured parts looked in my process. Overall, it was tremendously valuable in bringing healing to me in many areas. Most of these were areas which I had no idea that I needed help in, but which I only discovered had become different/more healthy after they were healed. Some of what I was healed from were things I had even thought were positive qualities, that is until I found that they were suddenly changed (for the better) after integration.
In other words, this was not healing which came from analysis of memories or of personal problems. These were not issues related to my conscious thinking, but issues within deeper aspects of me needing to be healed, which I had no conscious control over or even thinking about whatsoever at the time.
One unexpected result of all this in my life was the fading away of the driven intensity and performance orientation typical of my previous persona. I became much more laid back. I no longer felt such a deep need to “have it all together” to be OK with myself. I became content to be someone in the middle of a process. I became OK on a deep level to just receive grace and love despite the fact that I still had many issues and even sins. I no longer felt the need to always be accomplishing something “great” for the Lord for me to be happy with who I was.
I had previously been so intense about evangelism and about moving in the miraculous, about prayer and Bible study and all the things that made me a “radical Christian.” Now, I realized that a good portion of my intensity came from a place of brokenness, a place of trying to make up for a deep wound now suddenly healed.
After healing parts, I could just accept myself as a human being who was loved even though I wasn’t perfect, and could enjoy relating to others on that level much more, rather than seeing them as objects who I was duty bound to rescue from the perils of righteous judgment and spiritual darkness. I wasn’t perfectly healed from perfectionism, but I was suddenly a lot farther down the road than I had been, and the change was at a level much deeper than my conscious thinking.
(It also could have been good to have gotten more help for my conscious thinking at the time, especially in the area of doctrines I’d been taught.. I continued to struggle with a certain amount of perfectionism off and on for a long while as a result of the more surface level issues which still weren’t resolved. But, major positive changes.)
Healing like this may take away a decent amount of our motivation to live up to an idealized standard. We may lose our motivation to get a certain quota of souls won or miracles accomplished for the week. We may lose our need to finish the latest 40 day fast or other such “radical sacrifice.” We likely become OK with being weak in many areas and with facing the fact that we are even failing in a lot of areas, knowing that Daddy still loves us and is with us. Really, this frees us much more to receive grace where we are really at, and to walk out the destiny the Lord has for us, even if it may not be something flashy or high profile in popular opinion because we are no longer seeking to prove something to others or ourselves so much.
For a period of time while walking out healing in this area, I even felt like a child and related to people in a very childlike way. This was not well received by some of the legalistic, performance driven types around me. They seemed to think I was wussing out and backsliding. I wasn’t running the hamster wheel they were running on anymore.
Some pressured me to get under their guilt-driven performance trips again, but I don’t think I could have done that if I had tried. It was like all I could really do was to enjoy the fact that God loved me, regardless of what my performance looked like to others or to myself, just like a simple child. Maybe that was a processing phase because I came to balance out somewhere in between those extreme states (driven perfectionism vs. simple childishness) as time would go by. I still had tons of progress to make in many other areas of healing over the years since, but this in itself was major breakthrough.
Healing looks different for different people, and I have yet to find someone whose process has looked exactly like mine. I’ve found that all kinds of emotional issues can be resolved through healing fractured parts: severe depression, overwhelming fear and anxiety, out of control anger, shame and low self-esteem, the feeling of being powerless and helpless in daily situations, and much more have been turned around, sometimes 180 degrees through just this area of ministry.
As I continued praying with folks and working with their fractured parts, I found that many, many people were able to benefit.
SO WHERE DOES ALL THIS “FRACTURING” COME FROM?
It seems that trauma at an early age is likely to cause one to develop more heavily fractured parts. Some of the most heavily fractured people I’ve worked with were test tube babies or those whose parents were mentally ill or extremely violent and abusive on a regular basis. Some have been abused in cults from an early age. On the other hand, many who have not been through such things also have many parts needing serious healing.
There tends to be some difference in the nature (intensity?) of the parts found among those who were severely traumatized at the youngest ages when compared to the nature of the parts of those who weren’t. Also, the complexity of the system that the parts form in those two groups tends to be different. One group seems a bit more like “parts lite,” yet there are still going to be issues which will mostly not be healed any other way than through intentional ministry to them.
This is just the same as if you wanted to heal the sick physically. If you just wandered around town reading the Bible and worshipping but not intentionally praying for anyone, you would tend to see very few, if any healings. Yet, those who really learn their authority in Christ and how to move in physical healing, intentionally praying with sick people often, tend to see many healings. I have friends who report about a 70% success rate at that, and it mostly has to do with simple faith, a learning process in the beginning, and consistent intentional action.
Things work exactly the same way with inner issues. You will most likely get so much more done with a little basic know-how and intentional action as opposed to aimless wandering. Also, I think the success rate tends to get a lot higher than 70% when praying for inner issues. (The inner issues can be necessary to resolve to get progress in stubborn physical issues, which accounts for much of the 30% failure rate among [excellent] purely physical healers.)
Many would like to think that these deeper issues are just getting healed on their own, without anybody doing anything about them. We would usually like to think that what the church is doing is working, that the broken are being healed if they just follow the programs. My experience is that this is mostly not the case though.
Most of what I see is that Christians are remaining wounded, and many of them are being aggressively persuaded to believe they are all healed up just because they believe a doctrine, even though they obviously aren’t. The “fake it till you make it” approach isn’t helping.
I see a lot of people giving up on real healing and transformation because they’ve believed all the messages and done all the popular Christian things the best they’ve known how to for so many years, yet their deeper issues haven’t changed. Either that or they are experiencing the fallout of all the wounded Christians who are abusing each other and destroying relationships even though they still think their spiritual answers are working. It can all be very disillusioning.
Many think of fractured parts as only being found in the most extreme cases, such as the ritually abused or those diagnosed with DID (dissociative identity disorder), considering it a phenomenon that only psychologists are capable of ministering to. I’ve found that to not only be the farthest thing from the truth but a mentality directly responsible for leaving multitudes stuck in a place of brokenness. Many stagnate because they don’t know how to access or minister to these parts of themselves where their deep woundedness really lives.
As I’ve gained more experience and understanding over the last 15 plus years, I’ve come to believe that fractured parts are there to be found in everyone (to different degrees) and that healing them is one of the things necessary for our personal progress. Among those I pray with from many states and countries, I find that there are issues in people’s lives which simply do not get healed in any other way. This is something the body of Christ needs to learn and apply to the massive numbers of people who need it everywhere we look.
Again, this is a matter of whether we will allow the Lord to continue on with that basic aspect of his mission statement in Isaiah 61:1, “to heal/bind together those who are shattered into many pieces.” This is one aspect of the fulfillment of Jesus’ High Priestly prayer in John 17, that we would all be “one” as he and the Father are one, that the world may know that the Father sent him. We must come into healthy unity within ourselves before we will be able to have healthy unity in the body.
If you are reading this over the internet, on a computer, or on a cell phone, please do not demand clear biblical examples of healing for fractured parts, since there are no clear biblical examples of the internet, computers, or cell phones. Good luck with being Amish.
John said there were many more things Jesus did which weren’t recorded, so many that the world couldn’t contain the books if it were written down, and Jesus also said there was much more for Holy Spirit to teach us beyond even that.
These are a series of prayers developed by Arthur Burk to break hidden, oppressive spiritual covenants which people enter into when signing different kinds of contracts or agreements.
I share because when I prayed through it myself (experimentally) I felt some things lifting off of me. When I prayed through the one on the banking industry, I strongly felt something lift out of my leg. My bank (Chase) was specifically mentioned in that track as being a likely one to include hidden covenants.
Arthur also has an informative set of posts on ministry to DID, which would (mostly) carry over as is into ministry for common fractured parts:
One of the biggest objections many Christians raise against God healing them is “What about Job?” I heard Bill Johnson give a good reply to that once, “What about Jesus? Job is the question to which Jesus is the answer.”
However, I see a very different story in the book of Job than most people do. This is partly because I come to the book believing that Jesus has revealed a more complete and accurate picture of who God is than the OT did, that he is absolute Love who is always healing and helping mankind, not siccing the Devil on us like some child abuser siccing pit bulls on his kids.
Many people interpret the book of Job as if it were saying God sicced Satan after Job, assuming that the devil was ultimately only doing the Lord’s will. Jesus made it clear that God and Satan are always totally opposed to one another in John 10:10. If we come to Job’s story with this perspective, we will read it in a very different light than how it has been often taught.
Jesus also reveals a more full picture of who we are: sons and daughters of God like himself, who have authority over the earth and over all the kingdom of darkness. It is we who determine what is allowed to happen in heaven and on earth through the authority we have been given. Whether good or evil is allowed to happen among us isn’t left to arbitrary decisions by a deity above. Even before Jesus, the Old Testament made this clear in Genesis 1:26, when God gave mankind authority over life on earth.
In Job 1, Satan is met with the Lord’s question, “Have you considered (set your mind upon) my servant Job, that there is none like him in all the earth, an upright man who fears God and who shuns evil?”
Most people assume that God was taunting Satan here, using Job as some extra tasty bait for the Devil just to prove something about his own worshipfulness. What if God was really only calling out Satan’s evil thoughts and schemes which were already in motion? Satan had been considering Job, looking for a way to take him out, and the Lord knew his every thought. God was only speaking on Job’s behalf, calling out the enemy’s plans to ruin and to kill Job. He was calling them out to put a stop to them. I imagine that the Lord was raising the hairy eyeball in Satan’s direction and speaking with anger in his voice when he said, “Satan! You’ve been considering my servant Job again, haven’t you?!”
Satan goes on to accuse Job before the Lord, claiming that if his blessings are taken away, he will curse God to his face. He even tries to tempt the Lord to harm Job himself; “…but put forth your hand and touch all he has, and he will curse you to your face!” Of course, James 1:13 tells us that the Lord cannot be tempted by evil. The Lord could not possibly have gone along with Satan’s temptation to do evil against Job. God responds, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, but do not touch his body.” Many people assume that God was giving Satan permission there to kill Job’s children and to destroy his possessions, but he really only stated a fact, that all Job owned was already under Satan’s dominion.
From the beginning of Job’s story, he was living in fear that his kids would sin during their wine filled parties. He was “continuously” (frantically) making religious sacrifices in an attempt to atone for the possibility that they “may have cursed God in their hearts.” Later, when his children were killed, his possessions destroyed, and his body was being afflicted he cried, “That which I have greatly feared has come upon me.”
Just as Job had feared, it was while his sons and daughters were drinking wine and partying that a natural disaster came upon them and ended their lives. One could easily infer that it was Job’s “great fear” which had opened the door and put his posterity and possessions into Satan’s power to begin with.
Satan referred to Job’s blessings of prosperity as the Lord “hedging him about and blessing all he does” during that first accusation. Many people teach that this hedge was a “hedge of protection” and that Satan was able to persuade the Lord to remove it so he could finally attack. The hedge is only referred to as being material blessing. Satan was saying that the Lord had “hedged” Job on all sides with prosperity. There never was a “hedge of protection.”
After Satan comes back from his first round of destruction, the Lord says to him, “Have you considered my servant Job… that there is nobody like him on earth, a man who fears God and shuns evil, and he maintains his integrity although you incited me against him to ruin him without cause?” I’m imagining God raising the “hairy eyeball” at Satan once again here, angrily calling out his continued scheming against Job, letting him know that he was already aware of his further plans to cause him harm.
When the Lord said that Satan had “incited” him to ruin Job without cause, this does not mean that God went along with the suggestion in any way. “Incite” is synonymous with “tempt,” and we know from the New Testament that God is not ever tempted by evil. The Lord was calling out Satan for this futile and wicked temptation, not saying it was successful.
This word translated in the NASB as “incite” also may have spoken of an accusation. The Lord was saying that Satan accused Job without cause. He accused Job that he would curse God to his face when his possessions were taken. Instead, Job worshiped the Lord and held to his integrity.
The passage says that Job didn’t accuse God of wrongdoing in his heart, although he did misunderstand the situation and assume that the Lord was responsible for taking his possessions. He said, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord,” revealing that he didn’t have the same perspective at the time which the book bearing his name records after the fact, that it was Satan, not God, who was causing all the death and destruction.
Refuted after his first attempt, Satan tries a second, similar accusation, “All that a man has he will give for his life! Put forth your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh. He will curse you to your face.” The Lord responds that Job was already in Satan’s hand, but commands him to spare his life. In both situations, the Lord did everything he could to protect Job within the parameters which had been set by human will and human authority, even though Satan had already gained tremendous room to operate as a result of that misused authority.
The Accuser of the Brethren, and How Not to Overcome Him
The accuser knows a lot more about what is wrong with us than we typically do. He looks into the generational line and finds the slightest area of iniquity, examining us to find the slightest wrong motive of our hearts which can be used against us in the legal system of the spiritual realm. I’ve seen this play out over and over in the process of setting people free, where it becomes necessary to resolve the issues which are giving the demonic a foothold in somebody’s life.
Satan was repeatedly accusing Job of having mercenary affections, that he would worship as long as he was blessed, but would curse God in his heart if tragedy struck. Since the enemy’s accusations are always strategic and intelligently designed, not random, it is worth looking into why this particular accusation was chosen. It’s interesting that this was the very area Job was so “greatly afraid” that his sons would fail in during their parties. He was afraid they would “curse God in their hearts.” It may have been the fear itself which opened the door to the accusation, which is how things sometimes work, or it could be that this had been a real problem in Job’s past or in his generational line, which is also typical to see the demonic making all the use they can get from.
Often, the enemy will gain some foothold to cause trouble due to generational sins and strongholds, regardless of the current person’s lifestyle. Even though Job was strong in this area through his intense discipline in the fear of the Lord, some of his forefathers may not have been, and this may have been the reason why he was so afraid of his kids failing in that specific way. He may have seen his close relatives failing in this way or may have struggled with it himself. Satan would have insight into this unresolved generational issue, even if Job didn’t, and would be glad to milk it for all it was worth. Such a stronghold would not be difficult to resolve if one only knew that it was there, if they only knew what they were being accused of.
“Job’s comforters,” as they are known, went on to be a clear voice for the accuser in Job’s life. Rather than supporting him in his pain, they continually berated him and accused him of having brought the trouble upon himself, specifically accusing him of holding a wrong attitude in his heart against God in the midst of tragedy, just as Satan had been accusing him in the spiritual realm. The enemy’s accusations were being played out and revealed in the natural realm through demonic influence upon the people in his life.
Here’s where Job missed it: rather than agreeing with his adversary quickly and receiving cleansing by the blood, he begins to justify himself against the accusations. In Job 9:21 he proclaims, “I am guiltless!” He goes on to argue extensively for his moral blamelessness as a reaction to the demonic accusations. He testified to his rigid obedience according to so many righteous standards, yet he was only a human being and could not have possibly been totally “guiltless” in his character.
In Matthew 5:25, Jesus shared his advice for such a situation: to “agree with your adversary quickly… lest he hand you over to the judge and you be cast into prison.” Job apparently missed that one, and suffered for a long time as the accusation remained in place. He didn’t know about the accuser in the spiritual realm, or about his Father in heaven who was always on his side regardless of what circumstances looked like, or the blood of the Lamb which could clear his guilt as soon as it was admitted.
Whatever the area was of generational iniquity or religious fear which Satan’s accusation was originally based upon, it could have been admitted to and then washed away by the blood. (Yes, it was revealed after his time, but David, Abraham, and other Old Testament saints walked in New Covenant realities in earlier days, so Job could have as well.)
It wasn’t until Job 32, where Elihu prophesied a rebuke to Job’s self-righteousness and self-justification, resulting in the Lord’s presence showing up in a whirlwind and the voice of God himself confirming the rebuke, that Job finally repents and gives up on justifying himself before the Lord. At that point, he only needed to perform an act demonstrating forgiveness (praying for) his friends who had been a voice for the accuser against him before he could receive immediate restoration from all that Satan had done to him.
The Lord not only restored him, but multiplied his blessings and turned the temporary suffering he experienced into something not worthy to be compared with the glory revealed in his new condition.
Notice that the Lord rebuked every speaker other than Elihu, who had prophesied against Job’s self-justification near the end of the story. This means that Job’s three accusers were in the wrong, but Elihu’s somewhat similar rebuke was actually correct, and lead to his deliverance.
I don’t believe God set a time period for Job to suffer before being delivered, but I believe that Job could have been delivered at any point if he had only “agreed with his adversary quickly.” Job didn’t understand this when he said in ch 9:32-33 “For He (God) is not a man as I am that I may answer Him, that we may go to court together. There is no umpire between us, who may lay his hand upon us both.” Instead of relying on the blood of Jesus, Job followed his own performance based belief system, trying to receive from the Lord based upon his works.
The term for Satan as “accuser” or “adversary” is a legal term synonymous with “prosecuting attorney.” Jesus is known in the New Testament as our “advocate” or “defense attorney.” John wrote, “If any man sins, we have an advocate/defense attorney with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.” We have someone to represent us in court and to clear the charges against us, even when we have actually sinned.
Although the Lord rebuked Job’s three comforters for “not speaking that which was right concerning me (God),” most of what they said was truth. They expounded upon how the Lord protects and blesses the righteous, how the descendants of the righteous are blessed and provided for, and how it is only sin which allows evil to happen. These things are all clearly, repeatedly, and powerfully confirmed throughout the rest of scripture.
If you have any doubt about that, read the book of Psalms. From psalm 1, which contrasts the blessing of the righteous which does not whither but bears fruit in all seasons as opposed to the destruction of the wicked, to psalm 91 with its promises that “no plague will come near your dwelling,” “you will not fear the arrow which flies by day or the destruction that wastes at noonday,” and “a thousand will fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you, you will only behold with your eyes the reward of the wicked,” the promises of God’s lavish blessing and absolute protection from everything are repeatedly made crystal clear for the righteous.
Perfect protection is the norm, and the only exception is the enemy’s work due to the open doors of humanity’s sin. In Jesus Christ, our promises of being made joint-heirs with him of all the Father’s kingdom and of all privileges afforded to the Son himself are made clear as well. Every promise is yes and amen in him. God doesn’t ever say no regarding his promises for the sake of some mysterious purpose or cosmic wager.
This is not to heap condemnation upon those who are going through hardship as I expect some will take it, but is meant to offer hope that the Lord has paid for our deliverance in full when he paid for our sins.
In olden days, the problem with all those promises of blessing and protection were that few could live up to the standards necessary to walk in them. People thought they had to perform their way into God’s righteousness and blessings. The New Covenant reveals that we can be made righteous by the work of the Cross rather than having to measure up ourselves, revealing that we can walk in the promises of God as a result of the free gift of grace.
It’s OK though that we aren’t experiencing everything purchased for us yet. Paul himself wasn’t experiencing all the benefits of the New Covenant yet. Many people refer to his “thorn in the flesh” in the same way that they refer to the book of Job, as evidence that God will send you affliction to teach you a lesson or for some mysterious purpose.
One problem with this is that we don’t see anything like that with Jesus. He healed all who came to him and never sent anyone away saying, “Nope, my Father is using your sickness to teach you a lesson, go your way and consider your sickness a blessing.” He didn’t miraculously put sickness upon anybody as a way of helping them get closer to God. He just healed and delivered every single person who was willing, revealing exactly how God always responds to people.
Paul refers to his “thorn in the flesh” as “the angelos (Gk) of Satan,” or “the angel of Satan.” He says it was sent to “buffet him.” He writes that he sought the Lord three times for it to be removed, and the Lord told him, “my grace is sufficient for you, for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”
Notice that the “angel of Satan” sent to buffet Paul was never said to have been sent by God or even allowed by him. Paul just said it was there. Also, notice that God never refused to remove it. He is only said to have given Paul an encouraging word. We also aren’t told that Paul didn’t eventually get delivered from this fallen angel.
One thing this tells me is that, like the rest of us, Paul was still in the process of receiving his redemption. He was still “working out his own salvation” as he wrote to the Philippians. Job was no different. Our Bibles have the Lord describing Job as being “blameless,” but obviously he had areas which needed to be corrected in his journey. What if the Lord simply chooses to see people as blameless, and loves to describe all his kids that way when he brags about them to others?
What if the high praises that the Lord sang over Job to the Devil are no more astounding that the praises he declares over you and me? He said that there was “nobody like him on earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and shunning evil.” Do you know that there is nobody like you on earth either? What if God would call out specific qualities that he sees uniquely in your life, which are no less significant than those found in Job? Job’s strengths were his fear of God and his shunning of evil, but what does the Lord say he especially appreciates about you? Why don’t you ask him?