The first Adam was given authority to rule on earth, as long as he submitted to the will of the Creator. When he rebelled, “the god of this world” grabbed the scepter and exercised an oppressive rule. By the time the second Adam, Jesus, came, the world was overrun by the usurper, who held humanity in his ugly sway. Jesus saw the epidemic of sin and sickness as the result of his unholy terror and went to work undoing it wherever he went. So where we might see germs under a microscope or a broken bone under the x-ray, Jesus went back to the source and saw the enemy’s intrusion.

Healing was part of his redemptive work of undoing what Satan had done. That is why the leper was sent to a priest rather than a doctor. Hebrew people saw life holistically. Sickness was a moral problem, not just a physical one. Healing was like cleansing. That is why Jesus said, “Be clean.” That is why he forgave the paralytic before raising him up (Matthew 9:2). And that is why James says, “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (5:16).

But there is not necessarily a direct cause and effect relationship. Your sickness may not be the result of your sin. (And that is one reason why healing is a mystery). At the root historically it is, and that is why Jesus deals with it as he does, but your situation may be different. Job’s friends saw sin behind his sickness. Wrong! The disciples wondered whether the blind man or his parents had sinned (John 9:2). The Pharisees didn’t; they were sure he and his parents were both sinners. “You were steeped in sin at birth; how dare you lecture us” (34). Wrong again.

Jesus is a healing Savior. He came because God so loved the world. That love expresses itself by having mercy on us. May we come to his Father and ours humbly and yet confidently, trusting his compassionate care. May we believe what the Scriptures teach, that God desires wholeness for our body as well as our spirit. Let us abandon the thought, “We can pray, but it isn’t going to do any good.” If a loving Father invites us, he is ready to answer.

As we do, for ourselves and others, let us remember:

  1. a) Love believes all things. We may not feel like we have lots of faith. If we have love, we have faith.
  2. b) We encourage faith but don’t demand it. Jesus looks for faith, but not necessarily in the one who needs healing. Often it is the ones bringing a sick person–a father or a friend.
  3. c) Faith takes risks. Let us step out and believe for others to be healed. Jesus didn’t heal by appointment. Encounters came in the midst of life. And Jesus didn’t pray for healing. He spoke to the mountain (fear, leprosy) and said, “Be gone,” and to the sick one, “Be healed.”
  4. d) We are careful to confess our sins, realizing that sin can invite sickness.
  5. e) God’s grace is sufficient for all situations. If God heals, we praise him. If we are not healed, we still praise God, because our life is in him, not in our circumstances.


Healing is a mystery. I have often wondered why we don’t experience more of it when Scriptures is so clear. And yet I am holding to a Biblical position, even if my experience is not there yet. I strongly believe that in this season we are going to see the healing ministry break forth in powerful ways!

But some may feel, “That’s easy for you to say. You’re well. Would you say that if you were sick?” I believe I would, because I am convinced by the Word of God. And I know of people who have been used in the ministry of healing even while suffering in their bodies. So I affirm, “Jesus wants you well.”

He makes it clear in his meeting with a leper. “While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Immediately the leprosy left him…The news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses” (Luke 5:12-15). This Scripture teaches us that…



Never once did Jesus turn down a request, not even when faith was lacking. On the contrary, he encouraged people to come to his Father by giving them promises: “Ask and it shall be given to you.” He never made a person feel foolish for asking.


What a moving request? “If you are willing…” And a moving response: “I am willing.” God is saying that to you. The Good News Bible reads, “I wants to.” Jesus didn’t heal to prove he was the Messiah. He healed because he was the Messiah, the anointed One who came to reveal a loving, forgiving, powerful Father. Matthew writes that “he saw a great multitude, and felt compassion for them, and healed their sick” (14:14). He once asked two blind men what they wanted. They responded, “‘Lord, we want our eyes to be opened.’” And moved with compassion Jesus touched their eyes…” The word use for compassion is the strongest Greek word for human emotion. He literally felt love deep in his gut. Jesus is moved by human need, not to irritation but to love. He reveals a Father rich in mercy.


Luke says that “crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses (Luke 5:15). Jesus preached with authority and ministered in power. People were awed by his wisdom and stunned by his power. To the discouraged Baptist, Jesus sent word, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor” (Matthew 11:4,5). Word and work! Great combination. (Part 2 next).



  1. I identify the stronghold. The whole culture of the upper American Midwest has been impacted by a Jante spirit.  Acknowledging a stronghold, a habitual and unhealthy way of responding to life, begins the process of deliverance.  
  2. I confess my attachment.  I acknowledge that I have been influenced by lies more than the truth, by laws of the flesh rather than laws of the Spirit.  I have been held back by a false humility, by passivity, by a spirit of lethargy, by cowardice. I have operated as if the lies were the truth and I was bound to them. I am not.
  3.  I renounce the lies, their impact on me, my family, and my heritage.  Instead of clinging to the lies, I expose them and resist them actively. I refuse to let these laws influence my life anymore.
  4. I forgive others.  Where I have been wounded because of a Jante spirit, I forgive  anyone who has hurt me, including pastors, the church, my heritage, my parents, and friends.
  5.  I affirm the truth. Clinging to lies invites the devil to work me over.  Standing in the truth invites the Spirit of truth to work in my life.  I make the choice to move in the opposite spirit. I walk in boldness rather than in timidity. Dr. Gary Sweeten wrote the Law of the Spirit to counter Jante Loven (the law of Jante). I confess these truths as who I really am in God:
  • I am a person of worth, created in God’s image.
  • I am as good as anyone else because God says so.
  • I have the wisdom of God’s Spirit.
  • God has gifted me to be a winner.
  • I am filled with the knowledge of God.
  • God honors me as much as anyone on earth (especially as I choose to honor Him).
  • I have God’s destiny and plan for my life.
  • What others think or do will not control me.
  • God loves me and so do His people.
  • I have a teachable spirit.
  1.  I receive deliverance.  We pray (for ourselves or for others):  “In the strong name of Jesus I command the Jante spirit and any spirits associated with it to leave.  They have no power or right in my life. I lay claim to the freedom that is in Christ Jesus. I lay hold of the inheritance that belongs to me as a child of God purchased by the blood of Christ.  I break off the influence of an unhealthy inheritance. I cling to Jesus as my true stronghold.”
  2.  I ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit.  I reject all wrong spirits and I invite the Holy Spirit to fill me.  I rely on the power of the Spirit to overcome the negative impact of the Law of Jante in my life.  I learn to walk in the Spirit day by day, moment by moment, yielding my life, my destiny, my time, my choices to Him.  I make decisions that keep me open to Christ’s work in my life. Deliverance is both an act and a process. I must establish new thought patterns and resist old ones and do this as God gives me grace.




  • An appearance of humility which is in fact pride
  • A passive rather than an active faith.  Fatalism replaces faith
  • A lethargy difficult to overcome
  • A lie which engenders a false religious spirit
  • A uniformity rather than true unity; unity requires diversity
  • A stifling of courageous leadership
  • A resistance toward doing good works
  • A legalism that opposes grace
  • A spirit of judgment and suspicion rather than of Christian fellowship
  • A cap on emotions, making a person feel emotionally restrained
  • A climate in which true prophets are not welcome


The Law of Jante neutralizes what is positive in the Viking spirit.  It levels everyone off, so that no one shines above the others. It creates a democratic spirit, the strong side of which encourages the rich to share with the poor, as they do in Scandinavia but the negative side of which keeps people from feeling special to anyone, even God.  So to hear how freely God loves them for Jesus’ sake is good news, although some find it too good to be true and prefer sticking with their own feeble efforts.

The Law of Jante stands in contrast to God’s assessment of His crowning creation when He said that it was “very good.”  It says, “I’m not okay, and you’re even worse.” So it makes people reluctant to affirm others, to show honor where honor is due, to live with positive attitudes toward themselves, and to exercise faith. God blesses people; I just don’t happen to be one of them.  Of course, God loves the world, but I’ll never play on His first team.

Of course, all of us are prone to this sinister outlook. We need to fight it in ourselves, our children, and those we love.  The spirit of Jante creates a heavy legalism that makes people uncomfortable with a spirit of celebration and where duty overcomes delight.  Sober living is deep in the Scandinavian soul. They laughed at the jokes I told in sermons, but they let me know that their pastors do not tell jokes when they preach.  I could get away with it, because I was an American. All of which means that peer pressure is a big factor in the Christian culture and in the community. Pastors fear more than they do in America becoming mavericks, disappointing their bishops, creating waves, and stirring up opposition. One can fall off the horse on either side.  Where you find the legalism, it will be followed by license. Both operate in the flesh rather than the spirit. Legalism creates license, because legalism resists grace, condemning people to pull off holiness and resist sin by their own effort, which is impossible. So the Pharisees were out-of-control sinners, although they hid their wickedness behind a vale of religion.  

Dr. Gary Sweeten, an American pastor/leader who did much teaching and ministry in Scandinavia,  took people at the retreat through an eight-step process of deliverance prayer. “Amazingly,” he wrote, “after all this teaching, discussion, confession and repentance, there were still many leaders who were confused about why the Law was wrong.  It had become so much a part of each person’s mental map that change was almost impossible. Thus, that very night I did another complete teaching, confession, small group sharing, burning of the vows, public confession and repentance and burning of the Law of Jante” (part 3 next).



Scandinavians are as far from Italians as Scandinavia is from Italy.   A famous Norwegian author once wrote, “Every joy you have you pay for with sorrow.”  Many Norwegians think it’s from the Bible. They take it seriously—and I mean seriously.  They, and most Scandinavians (and I am one), tend to value even-keeled emotions rather than the highs and lows more prominent in Mediterranean cultures.  Expressions of affection and praise tend to be guarded. When a gifted girl asked her mom why she didn’t affirm her, she responded, “We didn’t want you to get proud.” That is all too typical.

Many children grow up wondering if they are valued, which they then pass on to their offspring. Not vastly different from any other place in the world, but maybe more pronounced because of their disposition.  Garrison Keillor helped us laugh at some of these cultural patterns. Sometimes they aren’t funny.

These attitudes, a part of Scandinavian society for centuries, were reinforced in a book by a Dane who moved to Norway and came across attitudes of negativism and depression. His novel, The Escape from Jante, tells about the dark side of Scandinavian small-town mentality. The term “Janteloven,” which means “the Jante Law” has come to mean the unspoken rules of such communities.  It is a curse, not a blessing, but Scandinavians have owned it as their DNA. Sandemose may have chosen ten laws to give it the seriousness of the Ten Commandments, which interestingly are called the “Moseloven” (or Mosaic Law) in Norwegian.  


Here is the Law of Jante which Sandemose wrote after observing it:

  1. Do not think you are anything special.
  2. Do not think you are as important as we are.
  3. Do not think you are wiser than us.
  4. Do not fool yourself into thinking you are better than us.
  5. Do not think you know more than us.
  6. Do not think you are more than we are.
  7. Do not think that you are good at anything.
  8. Do not laugh at us.
  9. Do not think that anyone cares about you.
  10. Do not think you can teach us anything.

Heresy is truth in distortion, and there is an element of truth in these statements. The Law of Jante, however, takes an inaccurate picture of humility and applies it to others in a kind of pseudo-democratic fashion.  It levels people off so no one feels like rising above anyone else. The Japanese have a saying, “The nail that sticks out is pounded down,” and the Law of Jante has been used for decades to pound people down, so that they question their value to others and even to God.

A Swedish pastor told me it is opposite the American spirit of “rugged individualism.”   “If you ask a Swede if he plays an instrument, he says, ‘Well, not much. I just practice a little bit,’ even if he is a concert pianist.  If you ask an American, he says, ‘Sure, I’m going to release a CD soon,’ even if he only knows two chords.” Both outlooks need the influence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. I am not going after Scandinavians. I love my Norwegian roots–and fruits. And I love where God has placed us for twenty-three years, in American Scandinavia, the upper Midwest. As we embrace the culture, we also wish to embrace the healing that comes from Jesus (part 2 next).


“Isaac, who had a taste for wild game, loved Esau, but Rebekah loved Jacob” (Genesis 25:28). Jacob grew up with a father wound, coming in second to a brother who hunted and had hair on his chest–from birth! Jacob was a mama’s boy. He got over it, but he almost killed himself in the process. In a time of great crisis he had it out with God, persisted in prayer, and his name was changed from Yacov (heel) to Israel (a prince who prevailed).

When he became a father of twelve boys, he should have known better than to pick favorites. Hurt people hurt people, and Jacob wounded ten sons by choosing a favorite. “Now Israel loved Joseph more than any of the other sons, because he had been born to him in his old age; and he made a richly ornamented robe for him. When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated him and could not speak a kind word to him” (Genesis 37:3,4).

Jacob didn’t do Joseph a favor. His brothers took vengeance on Dad by almost killing little brother, choosing instead to make money off him by selling him as a slave. A wound comes from people we have a right to trust (father, mother, sibling, pastor), and they violate that trust.

Victims live with “if onlys.” If only they had not sent me down the river. If only Potiphar had not believed his wife. If only the butler had not forgotten about me.” Joseph determined instead to take each difficulty as it came and make the most of it. And he lived free from the wounds inflicted by his brothers, finally forgiving them with the powerful words, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good, to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20). Victims who chose not to be victimized by their suffering often become the redeemers of those who have hurt them. Think Jesus!

King David was a better fighter than a father, and it affected his son Absalom. When Absalom killed his half-brother in revenge for violating his sister, he fled home. Even after David was comforted in the loss of Amnon, he did not bring about the return of Absalom until Joab urged him to do so. When Absalom finally returned, David ignored him. Had he healed the wound by receiving his son back into his heart and home, he might have saved his son from death and his own heart from awful grief. But he, like many fathers, seemed immobilized, and he took no action to repair the rift. It almost cost him the throne, and it did mean a bitter end for Absalom, so full of potential, so winsome, so charming, and so full of hatred for a man who loved God and who loved women, but didn’t know how to love his own son. When David heard the news that Absalom was dead, he cried, “O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom! Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!” (2 Samuel 18:33). He died of dart wounds, but he really died of a father wound.

Maybe you suffer from a father wound. I encourage you to get prayer ministry and to believe in a loving Father for healing, even if it takes a while. Email pa@harvestcommunities for “Healing From A Father Wound.”


The world views strength as conquest. God’s power is shown in surrender. Jesus said, “I have power to lay down my life.” Nowhere is God’s power shown more clearly than in the cross, portrayed graphically by Isaiah seven hundred years before.

The prophet writes that “he had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering” (Isaiah 53:2,3). Far from being attractive or domineering, he was an insignificant “root out of dry ground.”

The prophet shows us three ways that the slain Lamb demonstrates might, the kind the world knows nothing about.

THE CROSS BRINGS HEALING FROM SIN. Some may say, “We don’t need healing; we need forgiveness.” Jesus said to the Pharisees: “They that are well have no need of a physician but they that are sick.” Sin is a sickness.

But “there is a balm in Gilead to heal the sin-sick soul,” like the song goes.   For “he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed” (5).

Thankfully, the cross brings healing not only from the penalty of sin but also from the power. Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery, “Neither do I condemn you.” In those words she experienced the acceptance of grace. It gave her power to receive the truth: “Go and sin no more.” “He breaks the power of cancelled sin, He sets the prisoner free.” That power is found in the cross.

THE CROSS BRINGS HEALING FROM SORROW.   We have sinned, and we have been sinned against. Sin brings guilt; sorrow brings shame and sadness. The devastating work of sin has brought untold sorrow. A man abandons his family, leaving a wife and children to cope. Another hopes for a promotion and is terminated unjustly after thirty years of service.

Jesus heals broken hearts. His home-town sermon was taken from Isaiah 61: “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted…” (1). He did that through the cross: “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows…” (4a).

He can give us a “crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair” (Isaiah 61:3).

People who have walked with sorrow may say, “Impossible.” But that power comes from the cross.

THE CROSS BRINGS HEALING FROM SICKNESS. Matthew was a reject like Jesus, but of a different kind; he collected taxes. But Jesus made the right choice. Years later, Matthew painted one of the most beautiful portraits of Christ ever penned. When Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law, Matthew thought back on the day, adding these words: “This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: ‘He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases’” (Matthew 8:17).

I find no greater reason to pray for the sick than this, that when Jesus died, He carried our sicknesses as well as our sins and sorrows. May you know the power of the cross in your life—today!