DEFINITION OF INNER HEALING
It needs to be clear right from the start that inner healing is not going to be defined or used as a psychological concept. In fact, it is my desire to translate any term or concept that originated after the “enlightenment” (the scientific age we are in) into a pre-enlightenment (especially biblical) term or concept. The sciences, such as psychology, sociology, medicine and anthropology have helped us to see many things, However, they tend to stem from a material world view, and call upon the authority of observed human knowledge. In contrast, biblical terms and concepts come from God and the authority we appeal to is His. Now, a book written prior to the enlightenment could be true or false and a book written after the enlightenment could likewise be true or false, but I find it easier to attempt to run all scientific concepts through the test of whether or not I can show them as a biblical concept; this helps me to stay grounded in God’s truth. Sometimes a biblical truth is “found” by a generation, and added to the church. Most of the “advances” of the protestant church have been added “back” to the biblical truth. For example, justification by faith, believers baptism, speaking in tongues and the like. Now, however, we have concepts of inner healing that need to be added to our understanding and practice, but unlike previous generations the use of secular concepts and scientific terms is often at the heart of our new thinking. In order to protect my thinking from the secularization around me I have made a decision to ground all “inner healing” definitions in biblical terms and concepts.
So let’s start by defining “inner” . First, by inner we refer to a non-physical part of us. Whether we call this soul or spirit is for the moment not the issue. We just mean different from the body. Therefore, inner healing will be different than gall bladder surgery or than treating diabetes with insulin. Emotional realms qualify as inner, but inner is much more than emotions. A list of inner arenas would include: thought, emotions, volition (the will), motivation, moral choices, etc. Often the term “inner” carries with it the concept of depth. Thus some of the non-physical realms listed above are “deeper” than others. Like when someone says that a person is now speaking from the “heart”. They mean in a more honest fashion that normally is not accessed in conversation. Or, again, when we say that God spoke to us “deep in our spirit” we mean in a part of us that is normally more private and guarded than some other level of our “inner world”. For the moment all the above are defined as “inner” and all of them are the subject matter of “inner healing”. Likewise the use of the term “inner man” in the Bible is not the same as the use of “inner” here. The “inner man” in scripture refers to the new man. It is the inner part of us that has been formed by faith and the new birth. Of course, the biblical inner man is non-physical (see 2Cor4:16.…”So now we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day”….), but much of the biblical concept of the “old man” or “outer man” is actually non-physical. For example, Eph3:16, “I pray….you may be strengthened in the inner man….that Christ may dwell in your heart….” here inner man is the new man. The “old man” is carnal, sinful, etc. It can be called the “outer man” but it should not be confused with the physical body. The outer man or old man has (had) motives, thoughts, feelings, etc. These are non-material and thus “inner” for our purposes. So, any part of us that is non-physical, whether it is new or old, spiritual or carnal is referred to in this paper as “inner” and thus a part of the concept of inner healing.
Healing also needs to be defined. When it comes to physical healing most of us have a pretty good idea of what’s involved. It is helpful to use our understanding of physical healing to approach the use of the term “healing” in the inner realm. First, note that most of us believe that physical healing is a good thing. It is good to bring healing to the body; whether through medicine or through prayer. Secondly, most of us are willing to use both comfort measures and painful measures to bring about physical healing. Thus, for example, even if surgery or immunizations are painful they are worth it. They result in health and better function and life. Thirdly, note that physical healing can be slow and natural or fast and supernatural. All of these concepts apply to inner healing. First, it is a good thing. Even though suffering works for good and is in fact one of God’s methods of maturation and purification we believe that (eventually) He wants to bring deliverance and healing. Secondly, we believe that inner healing may involve comfort and may involve pain. Confrontation, conviction and repentance for example may bring relief to a person’s inner struggle and pain. Lastly, it needs to be realized that inner healing can be “natural” (counseling, listening, spiritual direction for example) or supernatural. An inner healing ministry must go beyond the natural and use all the giftings and ministries available to the church. This will include inner healing prayer, deliverance and supernatural discernment. It is important to realize though that inner healing is envisioned here as a long process that includes all the natural and supernatural tools that are commonly seen. Thus a person who wants to be involved in receiving or ministering “inner healing” must be prepared to dig in for a long process and not expect an easy or fast solution.
Now at this point someone might say that “ inner healing” is just another term for sanctification or perfection. There is a lot of truth to this; inner healing does have as its goal wholeness and spiritual health. The person who is “healed” is a mature, focused, dedicated and fruitful Christian. That is the goal. The reason for identifying inner healing as a separate subject is two fold: First, most of the tools commonly used to bring about sanctification revolve around the will and the mind. Repentance and transforming of the mind, for example, are the normal ways to advance in the abiding life. “Healing” becomes an important separate focus because it centers on the parts of us that are below our normal control and that require operations beyond the will. This will include coming to awareness about forces in us that we do not normally feel or think about . Coming to self awareness may occur through human agency, for example, counseling , or directed introspection. It may, however, occur through supernatural revelation. Secondly, inner healing will include the experiencing of prayer states that are non-verbal, deep and very comforting. When God reveals to us that He understands us and when we feel His love we experience a healing that advances our ability to resist sin and grow in grace. Experiencing the love of God (such as occurred at the Toronto renewal or which occur when gazing on the “beauty realm”) is an important element in inner healing. See Contemplation.
To summarize, and to use concepts we are familiar with: inner healing will draw from all the spiritual tools and experiences we know about; from Bible study to monastic wisdom. With this base then, let’s begin our study of inner healing with a look at the concept of a spiritual stronghold.
To read the entire article of inner healing see the Writers Club.