God’s Prescription For The Soul
January 9, 2017
      Spiritual-First-Aid-Dennis-Lee

Spiritual First Aid

“God’s Prescription For The Soul”

Introduction

Physicians and psychologists along with the prescription drug industry would like us to think that all these diseases and problems, these maladies in which we are experiencing is the result of a some chemical imbalance, or symptoms of something physically happening within us that they can provide a pill or medication for.

And this may very well be the case. We are born in a world that’s filled with and experiencing the consequences of sin. As such we are born with or acquire in this life various diseases and mental disorders.

Yet, after referring many people to doctors, what I’ve come to realize in my over 20 years of pastoring, counseling, and coaching, is that the majority of these maladies, with the exception of some physiological, psychological and physical diseases, are caused by and are a consequence of our own sinful behaviors.

It’s with this in mind I am writing this spiritual first aid manual to deal with the spiritual side of many of these maladies and behavioral issues that we face in life. We’ll look at many of these and then what the Bible says about them, that is, the prescription that God gives.

Those in the medical field like to prescribe medications to counter these ailments and symptoms, but when we’re unable to receive these medications we try medicating ourselves through alcohol, illegal drugs, and destructive behaviors like sexual immorality and gambling.

But prescribed medication and self-medication have destructive side effects. Consider the side effects of prescription drugs. Often time they’re worse than what they’re supposed to cure.

Take for instance the drug Paxil, or it’s generic counterpart, Parozetine. It’s called a serotonin reuptake inhibitor, and is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, panic attacks, and post-traumatic stress disorders. It works through increasing serotonin to the brain.[1]

And while this drug has brought normality to many, the side effects can kill you, like suicidal thoughts in children, teenagers and young adults. Side effects also include “weakness, sweating, nausea, decreased appetite, drowsiness, dizziness, trouble sleeping, shaking, nervousness, sexual problems, dry mouth, constipation, yawning, infection, (and) diarrhea.”[2]

A less common side effect is what is known as “Serotonin syndrome (a potentially life-threatening drug reaction that causes the body to have too much serotonin, a chemical produced by the nerve cells) with symptoms such as mental status changes (such as agitation or hallucinations), an increase in your heart rate and temperature, lack of coordination, overactive reflexes, muscle rigidity, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.”[3]

It also has been known to increase abnormal bleeding or bruising, manic behavior, bone fractures, and seizures. There also exist side effects to unborn babies.

As a disclaimer, I am not saying forgo modern medicine, because I believe God can and does heal through doctors and hospitals, but I also believe that we’ve come to rely upon medications too much. As a result there are now new strains to old diseases that have no medical cure.

Our efforts to self-medicate through illegal drugs, alcohol, sexual immorality, and gambling have also very destructive side effects. They include physical, emotional, and psychological problems, not to mention the damage they do to marriages, family, friendships, as well as our ability to work and hold a job.

In the end, we all have a tendency to quickly look to science and medicine to heal what ails us rather then looking at the spiritual side of our physical ailments.

Stress is a good example to use. Many physical ailments like headaches, muscle tension and aches, restlessness, high blood pressure, upset stomach and nausea, tiredness, fatigue, and sleep disorders are caused by stress. Stress has also been “linked to six of the leading causes of death; heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and even suicide.”[4]

Stress also leads to emotional problems such as anger or being constantly irritated, phobias, a constant state or worry and dread, sadness or depression, and a general feeling of being overwhelmed resulting in panic attacks.

So the medical field prescribes medication to counter stress and the ailments it produces.

But when we start looking at these physical ailments as symptoms of a spiritual problem, then we can start taking the necessary steps that will bring healing and peace.

Look at what the Bible says concerning countering the effect of stress in our lives,

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV)

Therefore, seeing that there is a spiritual side, I’d like to look at three aspects of our healing that will be repeated throughout this series, but each time they’ll deal directly with the particular area we’ll be discussing.

God’s Our Great Physician

King David in Psalm 102:2-3 said,

“Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.” (Psalm 103:2-3 NKJV)

Because God is the one who created us, He knows us better than anyone else, and knows what is best for us.

One of the great examples of how God heals is found in the story of the prophet Elijah. After experiencing a miracle of unprecedented proportions, fire coming down from heaven along with rain stopping a three-year drought, Elijah is threatened by Queen Jezebel and goes into a state of deep depression.

How do we know this? Look at the symptoms.

  • Elijah was afraid. Fearing for his life he ran into the desert to escape Jezebel’s wrath (1 Kings 19:1-4a).
  • While there all alone Elijah struggled with suicidal thoughts praying for death (1 Kings 19:4).
  • Elijah became so tired all he wanted to do is stay in bed. He kept falling asleep, only to wake up to go to the bathroom and get something to eat (1 Kings 19:5-6).
  • Further he felt like he was alone, rejected by everyone (1 Kings 19:10).

God’s prescription for Elijah was food, rest, and a vision. And while it is easy to point to the physical part of this prescription, it was the spiritual application that got Elijah through.

  • God gave him spiritual food from heaven, enough to keep him for forty day as he traveled to Mt. Sinai (1 Kings 19:8).
  • And while Elijah had physical rest, God gave him rest for his soul, because he no longer feared Jezebel’s threats.
  • And God gave Elijah a vision, a mission to focus upon so he wouldn’t obsess on his problems. The vision directly involved his ministry as a prophet.

It’s God’s power that heals us even when modern medicine is used. It’s the Lord who gives men and women the ability and wisdom to treat disease. But before we run off to the doctors, we should run first to God and get His take on what’s going on, and who gives liberally the wisdom we seek (James 1:5).

Again I’m not saying don’t go to the doctors; rather what I am saying is don’t leave God out of the equation.

But if we go to the doctors without consulting God and find they have no answers, or when we find ourselves popping more pills than Carter has bottles for, then we need to go to the Lord in prayer, reading His word in the process, and then we’ll find God’s prescription.

If I were to give you God’s general prescription for health, it would be what Solomon says,

“Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.” (Proverbs 3:7-8 NKJV)

God is therefore our ultimate physician and should always be consulted first.

God’s Word Brings Healing

The medicine God prescribes as our Great Physician is found in His word.

“If you diligently heed the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in His sight, give ear to His commandments and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have brought on the Egyptians. For I am the Lord who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26 NKJV)

Solomon said,

“My son, attend to my words; incline your ear unto my sayings. Let them not depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart. For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.” (Proverbs 4:20-22 NASB)

The word health means a healing cure, or more literally “medicine,” and the medicine He prescribes is found in His word. So when we keep His word we’ll find health and healing for a lot of what ails us.

The Psalmist brings out what the Lord did for the Israelites in their 40-year trek through the wilderness.

“They cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” (Psalm 107:19-20)

Matthew Henry, pastor and Bible commentator said, “There is in the word of God a proper remedy for all diseases of the soul.”[5]

God has provided an instruction manual for life; it’s called the Bible. As our creator, only He knows how we operate and how to keep and maintain this life He’s so graciously given. And when we follow His instructions, then our lives will start coming together and we’ll become physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthy, happy, and a little more stable.

Reading and studying God’s word is therefore the healthiest thing we can do, because we are daily encountering the One who created us.

The Apostle Paul said, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV)

The Bible is profitable, that is, it is useful, beneficial, and advantageous for our lives in teaching what is true, reproving what isn’t, along with correcting and instructing in how to get and stay right with God.

And here’s the really cool part, we can take as much of the medicine of God’s Word as we want without worrying about overdosing, and it’s free. But like any medicine, it has to be taken to be effective. Medicine doesn’t do any good sitting in the cupboard unopened. And the same goes for God’s word. It will not work sitting on the shelf unopened. It has to be opened and taken according to the directions.

If we follow God’s directions as faithfully as we follow the directions of human doctors, then we’ll start seeing the results. God’s medicine works by taking His Word into our being.

One last point, and one that should not be overlooked when considering God’s word, is that Jesus, the Word of God, is our Great Physician.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was GodAnd the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1, 14)

And of Jesus, the Word of God, the prophet Isaiah said about His coming that He would be our Great Physician.

Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5 NKJV)

Therefore, Jesus, the Word of God, is our Great Physician and the medicine He uses is found in His word.

The Vitality Forgiveness Brings

Let’s go back to our verse in Psalm 102. It says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases.” (Psalm 103:2-3 NKJV)

Notice that it says that forgiveness proceeds healing.

We see a beautiful example of this from Jesus’ healing of the paralyzed man found in Luke’s gospel, chapter 5, verses 17-26. Jesus forgave the man of his sins saying, “Your sins are forgiven.” (Luke 5:20) But Pharisees objected saying only God can forgive sins.

To this Jesus said, “Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk?’” (Luke 5:23 NKJV)

Jesus then said to the paralyzed man, “Arise, take up your bed and go home.” The man immediately was healed, rose and went home giving God the glory.

Physical, emotional, and spiritual health comes when forgiveness is sought and acquired from the Lord.

King David, who was well acquainted with the consequences of sin, said that when he tried to hide his sin he experienced all sorts of problems.

“When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.” (Psalm 32:3-4 NIV)

David understood that when he hid his sins from God, then his health deteriorated as a consequence. But when He confessed his sins to God, then everything turned around.

Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit … I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD’– and you forgave the guilt of my sin.” (Psalm 32:1-2, 5 NIV)

Much of our health depends upon seeking and receiving God’s forgiveness, and we can be assured that when we ask to be forgiven, God forgives.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9 NIV)

Forgiveness is equated to spiritual growth and healing. Modern medicine has also found that forgiveness also helps relieve physical ailments and helps treat diseases.

In an article found in christianitytoday.com, pastor and author of “The Forgiveness Project,” Dr. Michael Barry said, “Harbouring these negative emotions, this anger and hatred, creates a state of chronic anxiety.”

“Chronic anxiety very predictably produces excess adrenaline and cortisol, which deplete the production of natural killer cells, which is your body’s foot soldier in the fight against cancer.”[6]

What can help us forgive? It’s realizing how much God has forgiven us.

“Bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” (Colossians 3:13 NKJV)

You may say, “I don’t feel like forgiving them. They don’t deserve to be forgiven.”

We do not forgive based on our feelings, emotions or reasons. Forgiveness is an act of the will based on our decision to obey God.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32 NKJV)

We cannot afford to hold grudges and bitterness towards others. When we do this we pay a price, not only in our emotional and spiritual health, but also in our physical health.

Let me end with an illustration.

“A surgeon was awakened by a phone call at 2:30 one frigid winter morning. The nurse on the line explained that an eight-year-old boy had been hit by a car and was bleeding profusely. The attending physician had determined that unless the boy was operated on immediately, he would not survive.

“The surgeon threw on his clothes and rushed out into the subzero weather. He scraped his car’s windshield just enough to be able to see where he was going and started the icy five-mile trip to the hospital. Each time he stopped at a red light he opened his car door and leaned out just enough to scrape a little more ice from the windshield. At one intersection, about a mile and a half from the hospital, the surgeon noticed a man wearing a brown coat and an old green hat impatiently trying to cross the street. As the surgeon leaned out of his car, the man rushed over, grabbed him by his coat, and pulled him to the ground.

“The surgeon tried to put up a fight but was no match for the burly, and apparently desperate, man. While the surgeon struggled to his feet, the man jumped in the surgeon’s car and drove away. Unhurt, the surgeon hurried to a phone booth and called for a cab.

Twenty minutes later he finally made it to the hospital. “Where’s the boy who was hit by a car?” he asked one of the nurses as he hurried through the emergency room. The nurse’s eyes welled up with tears. “We couldn’t stop the bleeding,” she said. “He died just a few minutes ago. His parents are still in the waiting area, if you’d like to speak to them.”

“The surgeon took a deep breath and walked out into the waiting area. A woman in a long red coat was sitting in the middle of the room, sobbing into her hands. Behind her, a man stood with his hand on her shoulder. His head was bowed & his eyes were closed.

“He was wearing a brown coat and an old green hat.”[7]

In his rush to get to the hospital, the boy’s father pushed aside the one person who could have saved his son. How many of us push aside the Great Physician, the only one who is able to save and heal?

 

[1] “Paxil,” PDRhealth.com

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid

[4] WebMD.com/depression/stress-anxiety-depression

[5] Christianity.com, “Proverbs 4 Bible Commentary, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary.”

[6] christianitytoday.com “Forgiveness can bring not just spiritual but also physical healing.”

[7] Thepastorspress.wordpress.com, “Love Heals”









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