"I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven."
- Matthew 18:18 NLT
Just recently, my husband, Joe, received a very disturbing report from his doctor. Joe had been suffering from severe pain and swelling in his neck for some time, when he was sent for some medical tests to determine the cause. Unfortunately, all test results left him with a diagnosis of a 90% chance of cancer. When my husband first gave me the news, I got depressed and anxious. Then a very strange thing happened to me after I spent some time in prayer and Scripture reading. I got mad. The only way I can explain it is to say that a Holy Spirit anger rose up on the inside of me. I was suddenly aware of a vicious attack on my family by the malevolent forces of darkness. And I made a firm decision that I was not going to sit idly by while the devil ran roughshod over one of my loved ones.
Jesus' words, "I have given you authority," began ringing in my ears. And I began to meditate on Luke 10:19 (NIV): "I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you." Over the years, I had learned the truth and power behind this verse. Numerous times, I had sustained injuries that could have been very serious, but that resulted in only a few scrapes and bruises--all because I had taken this verse to heart, and claimed it in faith. Now my husband was in trouble, and facing what looked like a life-threatening disease, and I sensed in my spirit that this verse could very well be a key to his deliverance. Another one was Matthew 18:18 (NLT), where Jesus says: "I tell you the truth, whatever you forbid on earth will be forbidden in heaven, and whatever you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven." As the Lord reminded me of this Scripture, He also brought to my remembrance a powerful teaching that I had heard years earlier. As disciples of Christ, we have the authority to "forbid" evil, harm, and destruction. We also have the power to "permit" it, if we accept it—and to get into agreement with it, instead of resisting it. In other words, we have the power to say "No" to those things that come from the devil, rather than from God. So I began declaring with all of my heart: "I say NO to cancer in my husband's body. In the Name of Jesus Christ, I say NO!" I said it over and over again, day after day, as we waited on God for Joe's healing. Two more doctors confirmed that Joe had a large growth in his neck, and that it was most likely cancer. Still, I kept saying "No" to any cancer in his body, or even any growth or tumor.
Scripture tells us: "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. " (James 4:7 NIV) We don't have to submit to the devastation and destruction that the devil sends our way. With the authority that God has given us in Christ, we can "resist" it, and expect it to "flee" from us. I reminded myself often of the powerful truth in James 1:16-17 (NIV): "Don't be deceived, my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." I did not believe that cancer was a "good and perfect gift from above." I believed that it was a foul gift from the pit of hell itself, and I was not going to embrace it, or welcome it into my family. When the day came for Joe to go to the hospital and have the growth in his neck biopsied, the growth was nowhere to be found. The doctors can't explain it, and I don't have to, either. I know that it was God's doing, and I give Him all the glory.
Perhaps you are facing some "gifts" today that you suspect are not "from above"--such as depression, disease, pain, poverty, lack, fear, doubt, addiction, bitterness, strife, self-pity, or rejection. I challenge you to use the authority that belongs to you in Christ, and say "No" to those things that aren't God's best for you.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times that I passively accepted the things that the devil had planned for me. Open my eyes to the truth of Your goodness, and Your plans to do me good, and not harm. (Jeremiah 29:11) Thank You that as I aggressively stand against the devil's attacks in the authority that You've given me, I will witness Your miracle-working power!
- J. M. Farro