Nightmares are strange. Two nights ago, I dreamt that an old dead hag with bony, dehydrated, tea-stained fingers was gripping my hand. Feeling that grip woke me out of the nightmare, and made me cry out “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus” until the hag and her bony hand vanished. The whole thing really freaked me out.
I got up and prayed for awhile, then went back to sleep. Later in the morning, when I walked out of my house to go to work, both my knees suddenly gave way under me and and I crashed down onto the concrete patio, creating some serious pain. That sent me spinning into another cry for help. I went to work anyway, but all day long my knees were so swollen I could hardly walk. I spent the rest of the day, between work tasks, praying for healing but also thinking that either my prayer for Kenya and my friends were annoying darkness big time (YESSSSS!) or that guacamole salad I had for dinner might have had some serious side effects!
Last night, as I prayed again for healing for all of us, the Lord gave me another prayer to add to 2 Corinthians 10:3-5.
For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
He said, “Ask for healing from the ravages of sin in your lives.”
It wasn’t enough, apparently, that I was praying for knees that worked without pain. If I heard Him correctly, He wants me to ask Him to heal the root cause of all my infirmities. All the issues we struggle with every day–sin, violence, illness, fear, and death, are the ugly fruit of sin. But He’s conquered sin, and paid the price in full for our freedom. Now He wants all of us to to walk with Him in complete freedom.
So I did what I believe He asked me to do–I asked Him to heal my life of the ravages of sin. I don’t even know what that prayer means, completely. But I woke up today feeling much better about getting out of bed. And the prayer has been running through my brain. “Heal us Lord from the ravages of sin–our own sin, our family’s sin, our country’s sin, our world’s sin.”
You have been given fullness in Christ, who is the head over every power and authority. In him you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision done by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins. (Colossians 2: 10-13)
Even some of us who *have* chosen to live in relationship with Jesus and are a New Creation still hold on to vestiges of our old dead self, blindly gripping its cold, dead, withered hand, like spiritual schizophreniacs. We’re not in our right minds!
We’re a completely new creation–the old self is dead. But we’re dragging it around like Linus’ blanket, convinced we can’t let it go. We’ve accepted His invitation to the Wedding Feast, but blinded by darkness, we’re sitting like spiritual orphans on the floor, dreaming a nightmare unable to fully experience our new reality in Christ. We’ve been forever changed, redeemed, washed clean, and clothed in bridal robes but confused by the enemy of our souls, we still wallow foolishly in the old, unredeemed darkness. It’s time to cast off the lie.
Let’s stand up, step into the Light, and take our rightful place at His Table–we’ve been redeemed, healed, restored, and made whole by His death and resurrection. So let’s accept the healing, all of it–for ourselves, our families, our nations, and our world. His Banquet is waiting for us to wake up!
You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. (1 Corinthians 10:21)
When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ ‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’ Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’ (Luke 14:15-24)