The spirits of many people are in trouble. They have stored in them their life's hurts. This is especially so of traumas that the emotions can't handle for very long. By this we mean things like rejection, anger from others, domination by others, sexual molestation, the pain of a marriage failing and a home breaking up, the grief that comes from the death of a loved one, the horror of a serious illness, the loss of a job, and so on. It seems the number of people suffering from these only increases. An emotional response to these traumas takes its toll off one's life.
If the person is to get on with the demands of life, the hurt must get pushed aside. It generally goes into the human spirit as it becomes the dumping ground of the emotions. For most people, the above mentioned things do not destroy their lives. There is always the demand that they go on living. Since emotional response soon wears one down, they learn to suppress the pain, put on a pretense of normalcy if possible, and get on with life. Sometimes they even think they are just about over their emotional response till something triggers the junk stored in their spirit. Then things begin to surface. Old troubles and hurts rise up and vie for position to take over.
But even the junk kept out of sight in the spirit remains as a source
of trouble. It makes the person offensive to others, sometimes for reasons
not easily explained. It proves to be the root cause of much sickness.
And, it makes the person attractive to unclean spirits.
On another day we met at a designated point with a Pastor who had invited us to minister to his congregation. We talked with him for a few minutes to become acquainted, then followed him in our car to his house. While we were alone in our car, Glenda said, "That man has a problem." I said, "What?" She said, "Lust."
She had perceived it in his spirit. The "odor" of its presence could not be hidden even under the cloak of being a Pastor and talking about the things of the Lord.
Two days later, about midnight, this same man in whose home we were staying
knocked on our bedroom door. He had seen the woman with whom he was involved
as she talked with us at the close of a meeting. Fearing he would be exposed,
he asked to talk and pray with us. He received healing and deliverance
that night from a perverted lust that had followed him since his youth.
A friend of mine told of some skunks that came once a year to live under his house. It was not possible to remain unaware of their presence. But after a while, the odor would decrease-at least to those living in the house. When they went out, however, friends would say, "Oh, you have those skunks again!" The odor was in their clothes. People less accustomed to smelling skunks could detect the odor instantly while those who lived with it became insensitive.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to hide the odor of a skunk or rotten garbage. It is as difficult to hide resentment, hatred, insecurity, rejection, guilt, or lust.
The hurts and uncleanness of which we speak reside in some persons for years, becoming like a spiritual bad odor that is always around them. Everyone who comes near picks up on it, even when it is carefully disguised. Just as mouthwash cannot hide the bad breath of a smoker, nor perfume the smell of skunks, so the disguises put together to hide hurt and uncleanness cannot conceal their presence from anyone who has discernment.
The saddest thing is that the techniques many people use to cover their emotional garbage become second nature to them. The spiritual defilement never allows them to become genuine, so they put up a front especially in relationships with others. These souls often wonder why they never seem able to keep friends, or why others are always becoming offended by them.
This is one reason we are looking for healing in these hurt areas. But let us read on. Before we discover the hope that can be ours, there is something more we need to know about the garbage that gets dumped into our spirits. It attracts demons.
Demons are like buzzards. They have keen senses, both of smell and sight. On a clear day they can spot an animal on which they might alight as far as a mile away. I grew up in the country. Buzzards were a common sight. I always wondered where they came from. They seemed to come from out of nowhere. If an animal lay dead in the woods, they spotted it, circled in the sky above it, then landed upon it. It was their good food.
Demons are like that. Since they are spirits, they feed on garbage stored in our spirits. It is their delight. They spot it from above and seem to come from out of nowhere to drag it into the open to spread its filth everywhere. Unlike the buzzard that devours its rotten prey, demons toy with rotten emotions, drag unclean memory up before the mind, throw it in front of the will and demand some unholy response.
While the human spirit can also be a depository for good things, it is usually the bad that gets shoved inside its delicate walls. Good things are kept nearer the surface of the mind and the emotions. The human spirit definitely is not surface.
HOW DOES DEFILEMENT GET INTO THE SPIRIT? It often comes in youth. Early shocks and emotional upheavals take their toll. Rejection, perhaps more than any other trauma, leaves many a soul disabled with a contaminated spirit. There is the little girl whose father left her mother for another woman, with whom he raised a new family and never returned to care for her. This girl grows into a woman, still hurt and rejected. The pain of the first awareness that her father rejected her gets mollified by time. Life demands that she grow up. But the pain, anger and shame of rejection remains, buried in her spirit. It sends signals to her mind and emotions to tell her, "Something is wrong with you or your father would not have gone away." It says, "You have little personal value and no one will ever really care for you." Too often, in a strange twist of emotion, it can cause her to fall for a man who will do the same thing to her that her father did. This confirms to her what has become stored in her spirit, that she has no value.
Emotional trash like this gets easily passed on from one generation to another. When the above hurt woman with the trash in her spirit bears a child, she imparts the same inward garbage to her daughter or son. It says, "You have little value. People will hurt you. You will fail because no one will stand with you." This can go on for generations.
We could draw out scenarios almost as varied as the people on the earth.
With the prevalence of sexual abuse, many children get bent out of shape inwardly and grow into adults with all kinds of spiritual, emotional, mental, and even physical disorders. Words spoken with strong emotion have impact on a child's emotions. Words like, "Get out of here! Can't you see I'm busy? No I don't have time to listen to you now!" -- often delivered with profanity and belittling names-tell the child, "You're not important." Since one can't cope with this for very long emotionally, the hurt gets pushed into the spirit and life goes on -- but with trash in the inner man, trash that says constantly, "I'm not important, therefore it doesn't matter what I do." Or, "I have a reason for doing the bad things I do, therefore, I'm to be excused."
Rejection, especially coming from a parent, leaves a wound in any child's
spirit. Throughout life he hears, "People are better off without me. I'm
not wanted." Ideas like this release their poison into every relationship,
opportunity and circumstance, and follow many to old age.
Again, the human spirit becomes a repository for emotional trash.
We minister to multitudes of born again people who want to serve the Lord with a clean spirit, but who hold trouble in their bosom. It generally takes the tough, searching work of the Holy Spirit to discover that trouble.
Let's look at John 3 for a minute. It is there Jesus told of the new birth. He said, Except a man be born again, he cannot SEE the Kingdom of God-Jn 3:3. Then He added, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot ENTER the Kingdom of God-3:6. The new birth brings us to where the Kingdom becomes a possibility, but it is by no means its fulfillment.
When a person receives the baptism in the Holy Spirit, an even greater expression of Kingdom life becomes possible. With the new birth there is the possibility of the Kingdom. With the baptism in the Holy Spirit there is the power of the Kingdom. Even at this point, however, many still fail and continue with spiritual defilement-because they don't know they can be free.
Glenda and I counsel and pray with many who have inner hurts. Frequently they are persons who have received Christ, attended church and listened to sermons for years, and have opened themselves to the Holy Spirit. Some are believers committed to serving the Lord-but with a satanic darkness gnawing at their inner man. Of course, this is often suppressed, in some more than in others. But one need only scratch beneath the surface of just about anyone to find spiritual ill. Buried inside are things that often go so far back in life the person has forgotten the actual incidents that planted them there.
Many holding inward hurts and filth overcome them to the point of maintaining an outward cool, or religious air - so long as no one touches their "sore spot." The trouble is, someone is always touching that sore spot.
There are some who live with so much hurt and uncleanness pushed down into their spirits that most of their lives are controlled by devices set up to compensate for the garbage in their spirits. They try to cover up resentment, rejection, hatred, insecurity, guilt, etc. But, in actuality, little is covered. All of these send forth an "odor" as vile as that of a garbage dump. Sadly, the ones in whom hurt or uncleanness reside often are not aware of what is corning from them. They have settled into what has become their way of life. They do not discern that what is in their spirits leaks out into all their affairs of living.
But, our Spirits can be cleansed. In II Cor 7:1 Paul said, Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.... Filthiness is a strong word to use when speaking of what can be in one's spirit, especially when making reference to believers as Paul was in II Corinthians. It comes from the Greek molusmós. Its primary meaning is defilement that comes from being unfaithful to God by picking up pagan ways. But it also indicates the pollution that comes from holding things like those we have mentioned.
Let us cleanse is from the Greek katharízo which was first used of Jesus cleansing the leper in Mt 8:2,3. Leprosy is a horrible disease characterized by the wasting of body parts. Under the Old Covenant it branded a person unclean. (See Lev 13.) With Jesus came the New Covenant-and cleansing. No less than leprosy, filthiness of the spirit brands a person unclean. When we allow our spirits to be cleansed, other healing becomes possible. So powerful and important is the spirit that, when healing takes place in it, all other ills lose their power.
I'VE BEEN THINKING LATELY ABOUT
SOME PERSONS WHO HAVE helped me know spiritual healing is possible.
One is my wife Glenda who is a constant testimony of God's healing grace
both in her spirit and in her body. There are two others who played a
relatively small part in my life, but who left their impact. All three
came to know Christ out of suffering.
But let me tell now about two other persons who have helped me know healing of the spirit is possible. These are two people from opposite sides of the world. The humiliation of disease left each of their bodies with little more than a pitiful and bent frame. They had every reason for resentment and insecurity. In the face of their condition, however, their spirits grew disproportionate to their bodies and they became more aware of God's presence than their own. In other words, they ceased knowing they were sick. They were healed in their spirits. Because of this, they knew Christ better than most well persons.
One was a little woman who lived years ago near the first church I served as Pastor. She never attended a service or heard me preach. She never went anywhere. She just remained in a little knot on her bed in a body twisted by arthritis. I visited her frequently to encourage her. I had no idea in those days of praying for healing, nor am I sure she needed it. Something was so whole and healthy about her spirit that she didn't know she was an invalid.
I've never been sure whether I ministered to that lady or not, but she ministered to me. After 50 years I can still hear her say to me, "Brother Corley, isn't God good!" She never had any other thoughts about God. To her He was good, and she had received of His goodness. More than any polished sermons, what that woman was and said left its impression upon me. There is something about the most simple statement of divine truth when it comes from someone who has been healed in spirit. It holds a keenness and a power.
Another soul that left its strong impression on me was a man my age who lived in a little borrowed room in the hills outside Adis Ababa, Ethiopia. My friend Tefferi took me to see him, telling me he was a man like Job, but who some years ago had been healed in his spirit. I was not prepared for who or what I found.
He lived in a sparse house as a guest because he had nothing with which to pay rent. I went to his little room where there was a bed, two wooden chairs, and a wooden chest for his belongings. He was a man once successful in business, but he was taken with a disease that caused all his skin to fall off his body. No medical help could be found. Finally, after years of desperate trial and no release, something happened in his spirit. He was healed there. This man had not been healed physically. His malady continued as terrifying as ever. But there was one difference: he didn't know it. Outwardly everything seemed as horrifying as before, and in actuality it was. Inwardly he was healed. I offer no explanation. I can only say that when I went into the room where this pitiful expression of a person sat, I came into a more profound presence of the Lord than I had ever experienced. I looked into his eyes and began to weep without control. My every sin or thought of sin came before me, along with a greater desire for holiness than I had ever known. For a long period no one spoke. Finally, it was he who broke the silence. He said, "I am so proud to own Jesus Christ as my Savior."
Those words rang in my ears and heart. The impression of that moment has remained with me. The cry increased in my heart, "Lord, heal me in my spirit."
I don't know all that brought about the healing in the above two. But I do know one thing: they allowed Christ to do it.
The reason I tell of them is simple. They are two more examples who confirm to me that it is possible to be healed in our spirits.
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