To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.Colossians 1:29
Paul describes his ministry as “strenuously contending,” or some translations say “laboring,” “striving,” or “struggling.” The root word in the Greek here is agonizomai, where we get the English word agonize. It’s the same word Paul uses in his letters to Timothy when he talks about fighting the good fight.
But Paul doesn’t strive or contend with his own power. Instead, he contends with the energy of Christ that works so powerfully in him. This verse is a great example of how ministry is a co-laboring with Christ. There is a synergism here that requires the power of Jesus and our continual contending. It’s a both/and situation, not an either/or. Both component parts are necessary.
Understanding this truth is helpful when trying to understand why we must contend for healings in healing prayer. Too many people misunderstand God’s sovereignty and assume, “If God is going to heal, He will. If not, He won’t.” This simplistic understanding of God’s sovereignty doesn’t account for our participation in being the hands and feet of Jesus in the world.
We co-labor with Christ to bring about His Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Yes, it is the power of God that heals, but it is most often the power of God through us. Just as God’s primary way to share the gospel is through us, His Body, the same is true for physical healing. Just as Jesus sent out the disciples in Matthew 10:8 to heal the sick, He sends us.
Yet, we will soon discover our faith go through a process–a journey of sorts. We begin with the question of whether Jesus can heal the thing we need healed. We usually believe Jesus can heal, generally speaking, but we’re not sure He heals the thing we need healed. Does God even heal this sort of thing? We’re just like the father who brought his demonized boy to Jesus and said, “if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us”(Mark 9:22). Jesus replied, “If you can? Everything is possible for one who believes”(Mark 9:23).
When our faith grows and we begin to believe Jesus can heal, we’re still not sure he is willing to heal. “Maybe it’s not God’s will to heal this,” we wonder to ourselves. Maybe he’s not willing. We approach Jesus the same way the man with leprosy did who said, “If you are willing, you can make me clean”(Mark 1:40). Notice Jesus’s response. Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Jesus was indignant that anyone would ever assume He wouldn’t be willing. He’s always willing to heal. It is in the very nature of God to heal. One of God’s names in the Old Testament is “the Lord who heals you”(Exodus 15:26).
When we become convinced that Jesus can heal and is willing to heal, we realize that the problem is not on His end of the equation. If healing requires a co-laboring with God, it begins to dawn on us that healing often occurs when God’s power flows through us. The problem isn’t God’s power but the through us part. The woman who had been bleeding for 12 years understood this. Notice what she thought to herself, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed”(Mark 5:28). It wasn’t about if Jesus could heal her or if he was willing. She knew Jesus was willing and able. It was about what she was going to do to contend for her healing. “If I…”
What if I were to tell you that Jesus is healing autism around the country? Notice the process our minds go through. Can Jesus heal autism? Is that something He heals? Yes. But do you think Jesus is willing to heal autism? Yes. Below are some video testimonies of Jesus doing just that.