Grace For Healing
God wants you well
godly friends

Today is part 1 of my series about the story of Jesus healing the man who was lowered through the roof. Today’s focus is on the 4 Godly friends who carried their paralysed friend to Jesus. 

I’ll share my thoughts on how we recognise the right Godly friends and identify the wrong ones!

As we walk through the healing journey, we must surround ourselves with Godly friends. Right at the beginning of the Bible, God says ‘It’s not good that man should be alone’ Gen 2:18

Our Godly friends are a gift from God. 

If you ever watch a Nature Documentary you’ll know that predators, always seek out the lone and vulnerable animal, the easy target.

Our enemy is no different

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Pro 18:24 NIV

godly friends

 

GODLY FRIENDS

 

We need each other.

Let us exalt His name together, forever, I sought the Lord, he answered me and delivered me from all my fears

Ps 34:4

David and his men were fearing for their lives. Whatever you need delivering from, worshipping together invites breakthrough. 

We need faith-filled Godly friends who speak life, keep you accountable and believe God for your miracle. 

The 4 Godly friends in the story of the paralytic, gave their friend connection and safety. In counselling, we call this, co-regulation.

 

CO-REGULATION

 

Polyvagal theory teaches that a lack of connection with others causes disharmony in the nervous system. If you’ve ever watched a prison movie, you’ll know that solitary confinement is regarded as a severe form of punishment. 

When we spend too much time alone, we suffer mentally. Even if you live in a house full of people, you can still feel lonely when there is no empathetic presence. 

Our co-regulators provide a safe, nurturing connection for authenticity, warmth and acceptance.

We come back to the present.

 

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A (Godly) friend loves at all times, And a brother is born for adversity. 

Pro 17:17

I’m sure you know of people in your life who trigger you. They say the wrong things regularly, have no understanding of what you’re going through, 

Perhaps they tell you what to do to be healed, judge and criticise or try to control you.

Whenever you’re with them, you come away feeling worse. 

They may even be Christians. This sounds to me like an unsafe environment. I don’t mean you’re in physical danger, but in terms of your nervous system, your body registers these people as dangerous. 

The right Godly friends are soothing to a dysregulated nervous system.

I cannot thank God enough for giving me a handful of close-knit friends, most of whom have been with me for over 2 decades.

David and Jonathan were Godly friends to each other. Their friendship was unconditional, a ‘no strings attached’ type of friendship.

Then Jonathan and David made a covenant, because he loved him as his own soul.

1 Sam 18:3

Jonathan could’ve been jealous of David but instead, he honoured David and sacrificed his own right to the throne. He showed great loyalty by protecting him from Saul. He had his back.

I have been to Anne Frank’s house in Amsterdam a couple of times now. At the end of the tour, they showed a video with various celebrities sharing their thoughts.

Someone asked the viewer the question ‘Who out of your friends, would risk their lives should you ever need to go into hiding?’

It was a challenging question. If you know Anne Frank’s story, her family and she relied on the commitment, conviction and sacrificial honour of close friends to hide them from the enemy.

These friends risked their lives to save them.

Thankfully most of us will never be in this situation, but we will still need the honour, love and support of sacrificial friends surrounding us as we journey through our healing.

 

4 QUALITIES OF GODLY FRIENDS

 

1. EMPATHY:

 

People exceptionally talented in the Empathy theme can sense other people’s feelings by imagining themselves in others’ lives or situations. (Strengthsfinder / Gallup.com)

The four friends who carried their friend to Jesus recognised the plight of their suffering friend. There’s nothing worse than sharing your heart with someone, and then that person devaluing your pain and mis-attuning to you. 

“Immanuel” means God With Us. To me, this is more than the omnipresence of God, but rather the intimate closeness that’s reserved only for family. So we want this intimacy with our Godly friends. They’ve got your back; They are with you in your pain. 

If you hurt, they hurt.

godly friends

And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it. 1 Cor 12:26

Perhaps you want everyone in your world to understand what you are going through, and get angry when they don’t understand.

There seems to be something in each of us that craves recognition for pain, but I believe accepting that all we need is a handful of people who give us that is all we need. 

To expect otherwise, is unrealistic and we’re setting ourselves up for hurt. I know it can be difficult when someone with cancer for example, gets a lot of attention.

Often in church life, people send flowers and cards to those people, who they decide are worse off. Usually, these people had life-threatening and time-limited conditions.

In my experience, human nature grades illness and has a fixed view of suffering. This isn’t empathy. 

The Bible asks us to Bear one another’s burdens” Gal 6:2, (and not make comparisons and judgments as to whether situations are worthy).

Empathy is a powerful and valuable trait. When I am with people with empathy, I don’t need to keep sharing with them or justifying my experience. I know they understand. 

“You hear the unvoiced questions. You anticipate the need”.  Strengthsfinder / Gallup.com

 

2. GODLY FRIENDS TRUST IN GOD’S GOODNESS

 

Joseph Prince teaches that faith is nothing more than a good opinion of God. 

The lame man’s 4 friends trusted in God’s nature and goodness. They believed He was for them and on their side.

They had a deep revelation of the love of God. Gal 5:6 says that Faith works by love. It’s not about how much we love God or how much we love each other that makes our faith work, but rather a revelation of how much God loves us. 

If the paralysed man and his 4 friends believed God was an angry, distant God, I don’t think they would go to such lengths to approach Him.

When we know the depth of God’s heart for us, we approach His throne of Grace with confidence, boldness and freedom. Even when we fail and get things wrong, His arms are open wide, wanting us to run towards him and not away from him.

Knowing and believing God loves us is our empowerment. We can climb any mountain and defeat any obstacle. 

The name David in the Bible means ‘God’s beloved’. We need to know we’re God’s beloved if we’re to knock down any giants! The paralyzed man and his friends were facing a huge ‘Goliath’. 

If you haven’t received the love the God, then you’ll interpret the bad things that happen as God being against you. You can know all the verses in the Bible but if you don’t know God loves you, then those verses won’t help you. 

The friends in today’s passage knew Jesus wanted this man completely healed. They knew Jesus was on their side, they knew the depth of his heart for them. I believe that this was the faith that Jesus saw when the friends lowered the paralysed man before him. 

And we have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love and the one who abides in love abides in God, and god abides in him. 1 John 4:16 

No matter what Goliath you face today, the love of God is your empowerment to knock that giant down. You are ‘accepted in the Beloved’ so approach him today with freedom and confidence. 

 

3. FAITH

 

“When Jesus saw their faith” v20. How can we see faith? Through action. They carried their friend (perhaps many miles?), sacrificing time and energy, breaking through the obstacles and finding a way. 

“…faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” James 2:17 

They radically dug a hole in the roof to fulfil their quest. I believe their revelation of God’s love was their empowerment. How can you approach someone with such confidence if you’re unsure of their good nature?

Are your friends still praying and believing in God for your healing after many years, perhaps even decades? Faith-filled friends are in it for the long haul. 

but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

Heb 6:12

When we have faith, our words and behaviour all correspond. And we persevere – through months, years and even decades. 

The paralysed man and his friends believed in their hearts and the consequence was seen by their actions when they broke through the roof that day. 

This wasn’t a mere ‘hoping for the best’ scenario. They knew the outcome in advance because they believed it in their hearts. Wow what faith, a faith I believe isn’t possible independently from one another. 

It’s not that you have to perform in order to prove that you have faith. But when you have faith in your heart, then the ‘doing’ is the fruit or the consequence. 

So how do we get this type of faith?

Philemon 1:6 says ‘that the communication of your faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.”

God has already given us a measure of faith, all we need is to acknowledge this for the faith to work.

4. RESPONSIBILITY

 

The 4 friends understood they had a responsibility towards their friend. They didn’t just leave him to fend for himself. The Bible says ‘ For when I am weak, then I am strong’.

Sometimes God’s strength comes via our Christian Godly friends. 

Ecc 4:10 says “Pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up”  and  “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Pro 27:17

They pray for us when we have no words and encourage us when we want to give up.

I’m sure like me you’ve had plenty of people promising to stand with you on the journey, only to lose them once the months turn into years.

Unfortunately, I think this is probably to be expected.

The paralytic’s 4 Godly friends recognised their mandate towards their friend.  They were prepared to support their friend no matter what.

They showed commitment, endurance and sacrifice.

You may have seasons of weariness as you climb the mountain. It is in these times you need Godly friends the most. They can pray and lift up your hands when you can not.

Through this miracle, we see the love and determination of 4 Godly friends who will stop at nothing to see their friend healed. How desperate do you have to be to dig a hole in the roof of someone’s house?

Without his friends, this man had no hope of receiving a healing. His miracle depended upon them. 

The paralysed man’s four friends weren’t swayed by the visual, by statistics or by the natural realm. They had a faith that elevated the Word of God.

A faith that was alive and caused the paralysed man’s dreams to come true. 

We don’t know how long the paralysed man in this week’s passage had been an invalid. We do know that his situation was seemingly ‘permanent’.

You may be facing a ‘permanent’ illness as well with your mind telling you things will never change. Now more than ever, you need the faith of your Godly friends to believe in the impossible. 

 

3 CHARACTERISTICS TO BE WARY OF

 

1. UNGODLY FRIENDS

Evil company corrupts good habits. 1 Cor 15:33

It’s so easy to be influenced by those around us. If we surround ourselves with those living ungodly lives, then it will rub off on us.

Bad language, worldly lifestyles, lack of honour, lying…

You may have friends who are loving and kind with the same morals as you, but if they’re not Christians they won’t be carrying you to the right place. 

They may give you compassion, support and attention but friends like this alone, won’t be standing in faith for your breakthrough. 

The 4 friends of the paralytic carried their friend to Jesus. Even the kindest person in the world, if they don’t know Jesus, won’t take you to the right place.

 

2. RELIGIOUS FRIENDS

 

Even those who are Christian may not be the best friends to support you during this time. Ie: self-righteous, legalistic, unforgiving…

Just because someone has been to Bible college or has a theological degree, doesn’t make them the right person to support you.

Some Christians mistakenly assume God has called them to the healing ministry yet when they try to pray and support you, it’s as though they’re following a script.

They have an agenda and a fixed prescription of what you ‘should’ be thinking, feeling, saying and doing. There doesn’t seem to be any attunement.

These are the people that naively quote scripture at your situation.

See JOB’S THREE FRIENDS. 5 WAYS TO DEAL WITH THEM

I have been in a situation where I ended a friendship with someone who put that much pressure on me, to fix all the things she thought were wrong with me.

There was no attunement to where I was at.

 

3. PITYING FRIENDS

 

We really want those around us to lift us up when we fall down, not in a ‘poor you’ type way, but in an empowering manner. We want them to put themselves in our shoes and feel our pain so they can understand a little of what we go through.

Empathy and pity are not the same.

When someone pities us, they see us through the lens of superiority, which isn’t empowering for us. It doesn’t make us feel good to be on the receiving end of someone’s pity.

It keeps us in a victim state and makes us feel alone. Those that pity you, are not ‘with‘ you. Pity focuses on the problem and stops us from moving forward.

How do you feel when you’re with your friends?

Do you feel better for it? When you’re not well, do they check in with you? Are they still praying and believing, even after many years?

If not, I believe God can place people like this in your life if you ask Him.

Just imagine the difference Godly friends will make to your walk and healing journey. The value of having people you can be real with who will persevere through the tough times. Those who carry you towards Jesus.

If you know the Lord Jesus, He is the ultimate best friend as no one else is perfect.

I hope this helps you a little. If so, please see part 2 in the series on the man who was lowered through the roof.

JESUS SAW THEIR FAITH (PT 2)

 

In categories: Healing Miracles in the Bible, The Healing Journey