Hospitals are establishments which provide medical aid. They are places of healing where patients are treated by doctors, nurses and many people working quietly behind the scenes. Yet some hospitals have acquired bad reputations for misdiagnosis and poor treatment. These hospitals are naturally avoided as people seek doctors and nurses to help them – not to hurt them.
A church (local and universal), like a hospital, is a place where the spiritually sick and injured come to be healed. Sadly, Christian churches have built a bad reputation as organizations which attack their own wounded. Too often people enter churches seeking aid (grace and compassion) but all they receive is an assault (judging, condemnation, hypocrisy and a list of taboos). Many Christians have become like the self-righteous Pharisees of old. No wonder churches have become the last resort for healing in a spiritually sick world.
The church was designed as a place of spiritual healing – a place for broken people to find comfort and mending. As church members, we are on the hospital staff and our duty is that of healing. We should treat each person we meet as we would wish to be treated – with grace, compassion, encouragement and mercy.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 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 3:12,13.
The Cancer of the Soul
Cancer is a corruption in our body – a malignant tumour that tends to spread. We can feel and see the signs of cancer in the form of lumps and melanomas. These always start small and are almost undetectable, but will continue to grow if unchecked until they are inoperable.
We are born spiritually sick. We have a hereditary disease, passed down from Adam, which corrupts all that God intended us to be. It is called the Sin Nature and it is the cancer of our soul.
This Sin Nature has signs of corruption in the form of jealousy, bitterness, hatred, anger, pride and so on. At first these symptoms may be very small and hard to see, but if left unchecked they grow and grow until the corruption has infiltrated all facets of our soul.
One day there may be a cure for cancer, but the only cure for the Sin Nature is death and resurrection. (The Sin Nature does not follow us into Heaven). Until then, we must try to keep this disease in remission. Medicine has its own treatments to stop the deadly spread of cancer. God’s treatment for our soul is a daily intake of the Word (Bible) and faith in the promises within.
It is a long process of rehabilitation. Ever so slowly the spread of the Sin Nature is halted until we reach a point where we start reversing the corruption. Eventually, there will be very little evidence of the existence of the Sin Nature in our soul. But we mustn’t be fooled – the Sin Nature is never cured: it’s only in remission. Should we ever stop the treatment, the soul-cancer will start to spread yet again. (Romans 6:12,13. Romans12:2)
A Balanced Diet
One of the major causes of illness and disease is deficiencies in our body. The body is not designed to survive on only one source of food. It needs a balanced diet of various vitamins, minerals, proteins and carbohydrates. Different food groups combat and prevent different ailments.
As for taste, some food groups are far more appealing than others and often the tastiest are the least beneficial. Yet, if we only eat food that tastes nice and neglect that which doesn’t, we will soon cause deficiencies within our body and leave ourselves open to all sorts of ailments.
The physical body is such a wonderful illustration of our invisible spirit. For a Christian to maintain a healthy, balanced spiritual life, God has given us the Bible. It contains a large variety of spiritual foods. Some spiritual foods are very appealing whilst others are bitter doctrines of correction.
We love going to church and having our ears tickled with emotional music, personal testimonies, or prophetic doctrines of future times. Though these sorts of things are sweet to hear and often inspiring, they do not bring about much growth.
Sadly, many of us approach God’s Word like children at dinner time – we will eat the sweet food but push aside the unappealing vegetables. At church, we grumble when it’s not entertaining and we’re forced to concentrate on God’s message. However, for a healthy spiritual life, it is those dull spiritual vegetables of God’s Word that cause real growth.
If we only digest the Biblical principles that are appealing and neglect those truths that are challenging, it will be to the eventual detriment of our soul. Soon, we will be found deficient in certain areas of our spiritual life and open to all sorts of spiritual attack.
So, we should examine ourselves regularly and if our inner spiritual life is in turmoil, maybe we need to balance our spiritual diet so we are not neglecting the solid foods of God’s Word.
Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
Drugs get a bad name from the damage caused when misused and abused. However, the primary purpose of drugs is to be beneficial to mankind. In medicine, they are useful in many processes of healing and have relieved a great deal of suffering.
It is ironic, then, that many have benefited from using drugs, while others have destroyed their lives because of them.
God designed Christians to be beneficial to all humanity – to help heal a sick world through the example and power of Jesus Christ. Yet Christians (like drugs) have a bad reputation because of the damage they have caused. Sadly, Christians are often viewed as self-righteous, narrow-minded, judgmental people who exhibit little tolerance and even less grace.
As Christians, we should evaluate how we represent Jesus Christ to those around us: our acquaintances, friends and family. We should question, are people better or worse off through knowing us? Are we intolerant and judgmental to any who don’t adhere to our standards? Do we take from those around us without giving? Do we always expect grace, mercy and compassion but never give it? Are we encouraging or a drain to those around us?
If we are focused on self instead of God, we will be like a devilish drug and eventually damage those closest to us. We may be Christians, but we will be a cause of misery to all who become involved with us.
God designed Christians to be a gift to the world – a pipeline for His grace – a source of healing for those suffering – a refuge for the lost. This will only be achieved when we stop acting like self-righteous Pharisees and start being occupied with our Lord Jesus Christ and exhibit his traits.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 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 3:12-13.
A blind person views the world differently to those with sight. They develop their other senses and utilize tools such as sticks and guide dogs to help them avoid obstacles and reach their destination. Often, the combination of their tools and senses gives them a greater insight of what’s around them than those who have vision.
Most people only believe what they can see, so they disregard all things spiritual. But just because we are blind to the spiritual world doesn’t mean God has left us to stumble in the dark. We are told to see things using our sense of faith.
We can navigate the spiritual life using the Word of God (the Bible). An excellent acronym for the BIBLE is Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth. It is the ultimate guide to life and the afterlife.
God has also supplied trained guide dogs, (teachers of God’s Word). Through teaching Biblical truth they alert us to danger and help us navigate obstacles in life. But in turn we must remember to care for our guide dogs so they can continue being effective and faithful in their service.
Added to this, God provides us the guiding minister of the Holy Spirit. This is like the blind man’s stick. When in fellowship, the Holy Spirit directs us with those ‘gut feelings’ to help us avoid dangers and safely reach our destination.
As we successfully navigate through many obstacles we soon learn our Christian faith doesn’t lead us astray. Ironically, when we advance through life trusting in our faith and utilizing our God-given tools, we develop a greater insight and sense into what is happening in the world around us and avoid most of its pitfalls (both in time and eternity). Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we were all supermen or superwomen? But if we were, would we ever feel the need to seek God?
Those who have a super-abundance of riches, beauty, strength, success or power, seldom seek God. Jesus said: ‘It’s easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.’
When we are rich with the things of this life, it is easy to start believing you have it all sorted; you’re totally independent – a lone wolf. Bit by bit, we soon start echoing Satan’s arrogance who declared: ‘I don’t need God – I can be my own god’, (Isaiah 14:13-14).
Ironically, when we feel we are independent through our own power – then we are weak. We easily forget, if not for the grace of God, we wouldn’t have the basic necessities such as oxygen, sunshine and water, to keep ourselves alive – even for a minute. More importantly, we can’t save ourselves from Judgment through our own merit, (Ephesians 2:8-9).
If not for sudden loss, failure, rejection or sickness, many of us would never feel the need to seek God. It is at these times we’re reminded how dependent we truly are.
In this corrupted world, God is not the author of suffering; however, He will use life’s rude awakenings to bring His wayward children back to Him. God never intended this crooked planet to be our permanent home. He desires Heaven for all His earthly children. However, at the point of death, God must respect the decision of those who have rejected his salvation and choose to be independent from Him. He will separate from them for eternity. And, a place devoid of God’s graceful provision can only be described as Hell, (John 3:16).
The clock is ticking. We only have a limited time to seek Him. All we need is a spare split-second and faith (in Jesus Christ) to assure our place in Heaven, (John 3:36).
Sadly, too many have no time for God and are far too independent to seek salvation. They are super-proud and lean heavily on their riches, their beauty, their fame and their power. This is why God often allows these crutches to be kicked out from under us. For some, it requires falling flat on their face to finally ask for a hand-up. It’s at that moment, when we start depending on God, we start to become strong.
As the Apostle Paul testifies in 2 Corinthians 12:10: Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Living in a Sick World
Hospitals are filled with sick and dying patients suffering from all types of different ailments: cancer, heart problems, broken bones – the list is long. These conditions cannot all be treated with one quick universal ‘band aid’ solution – different ailments require specialist doctors for treatment.
We live in a sick and dying world where every nation is a patient. However, not every nation suffers from the same illness. Some are afflicted with poverty, some with tyranny, while others suffer from war and famine. Ironically, prosperous countries also need specialist treatment – they are chronically sick with indifference and dependencies.
Our job, as Christians, is to help bring these nations to good health (salvation), but how do we convince sick nations to take their medicine (God’s Word)? A treatment that works for one nation won’t necessarily work for another. A nation suffering from war or famine will require a different approach to a nation suffering from apathy.
God is fully aware of the world’s ailments but sadly most nations want nothing to do with Him or His cure – even Christian nations are closing the door on Him. God is a Gentleman-Doctor and He must wait for an invitation before acting.
As Christians, we have a very important role in the world’s current situation. We have the opportunity as Christians and members of humanity to invite God to help. We can pray that He works within each nation’s different circumstances to wake them up to their need. We can pray God sends the right doctors (missionaries, evangelists and pastors) who know the specialist treatments for successful administration of the cure (salvation). We must remember: the more people asking God to act, the more professionals God will raise up to go forth into the world.
Matthew 9:38 states: “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Suffering from Spiritual Leprosy
Leprosy (or Hanson’s Disease), destroys the nerve system, leaving a patient without feeling and completely numb to pain. Disfigurements attributed to leprosy are, in fact, ‘untreated’ infections that turn gangrene. Those with leprosy are said to be the hardest patients to treat – because they don’t suffer feelings of pain and discomfort, they ignore their injuries and don’t seek aid until it is too late for successful treatment.
People living in the prosperous nations can be said to be suffering from Spiritual Leprosy. Because they are not suffering, they are the most difficult people to be given the good news of salvation. Those in nations afflicted with poverty and war are far more responsive to God’s great offer of salvation because they are feeling the pain and seek a cure.
Living in a rich nation, it’s easy to become dependent on outside stimulus for entertainment. It is not long before the nation is over-stimulated, desensitized to violence, indifferent to the feelings of others, numb to the surrounding natural beauty and neglectful of important priorities. Sadly, this leads to Spiritual Leprosy which brings a nasty infection of national apathy. However, because the nation is not suffering, it does not seek the aid (Salvation) it so desperately needs. No wonder evangelists and missionaries have far more success saving those in third world nations, than they do in their own. (Luke 8:24-25)
A doctor is someone qualified to practice medicine. Doctors identify health problems and by using different techniques (from a prescription to surgery) realign or remove a blockage to allow the body’s natural healing processes to begin. We mistakenly think that doctors heal the sick – in fact, doctors rely on the human body’s marvelous ability to heal itself.
Ministers of God’s Word are like doctors. They help the spiritually sick by identifying problems and administering Biblical solutions. If the patient accepts the treatment, then God can begin the process of healing. However, in a world with so many ailments (such as violence, abuse, depression, anger, prejudice, indifference, apathy, poverty and affluence) a one-off treatment does not exist. Just as doctors have their area of specialty, ministers are also gifted with aiding a certain category of patients. Some have the divine gift to treat those suffering from indifference. Others will specialize in bringing hope to those in despair, or enlighten those with prejudices, or lift those in poverty.
We should always be thankful to our ministers; but remember, if we have received spiritual healing caused from their insightful prescriptions (sermons) all they have done is remove a blockage or realign our spiritual life so God’s amazing grace can flow back in to accomplish the actual healing.
Taking Our Medicine
Medicine is an external substance that assists the internal restoration of health. Doctors often prescribe the remedy; however, it is up to an individual whether or not to follow through and take the prescription. Medicine may either taste nice or awful, but its primary purpose is to help heal a sick or injured body, not to delight the senses.
Whether we like it or not, we have very sick souls (sin nature). To help restore our spiritual health, God has prescribed a medicine we should take daily – the Word of God (Biblical truths).
It is up to the individual to follow through and take God’s prescribed remedy. At times we may not feel like taking it and some days it may taste awful (doctrines of correction). However, we should always keep in mind the purpose for God’s Word is to help heal the sickness in our soul. Without the daily intake of God’s Word, the sin nature within us will soon take control. Symptoms such as depression, bitterness, worry, stress and anger will start to reveal themselves. The continuing unfairness of life will become unbearable. Soon we will be laid up with spiritual sickness and become a burden to ourselves and all those around.
We have everything to gain, and nothing to lose, by taking our daily spiritual medicine – even when it sometimes leaves a bad taste in our mouths. (Psalm 119:9-16)
Daily Soul Care
To maintain good dental hygiene and strong, healthy teeth there are certain things we must do daily. Floss to take away bits of food caught between the teeth and brush to remove the build-up of plaque and stimulate the gums.
For those who stop their daily dental hygiene, it isn’t long before their teeth turn yellow and start to decay. Gums become infected, making their breath bad enough to make a skunk blush. Soon people go out of their way to avoid them.
Dental hygiene is an excellent illustration for our soul-care. If we want to maintain a strong, healthy soul we should examine it daily. First, we must quickly remove those bits of arrogance, hatred, jealousy and other sins by privately admitting them to God (1 John 1:9). If we fail to do so, those sins will start decaying sections of our soul. Secondly, we need God’s Word to brush our souls on a daily basis. This removes the build-up of wrong priorities and stimulates our spiritual life.
Should we neglect this daily soul-care, it won’t be long before our whole soul starts to infect and rot. We will slowly grow angry, selfish and despondent. Given time we will lose our passion and turn bitter. Soon, it will become evident to others that our attitude stinks and before long people will go out of their way to avoid us.
When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16:7.
Ignoring Our Body
We should not ignore our body. The body is the housing to our soul. When we suffer pain, get sick or grow old, we may wish to leave our body – but whether or not we like it, we’re stuck with it, (until death do we part).
Since we cannot exchange our body, we should maintain a healthy relationship with it. When we take care of it, our body responds with a sense of wellbeing. When it is ignored or abused, it has ways of reminding us (through pain and illness) that we have a duty of care.
Likewise, we should never ignore God. God is omnipresent – He is always with us and says He will never abandon us (Heb. 13:5). This is very reassuring in a crisis; it brings us peace to know He is in our corner working everything for good. However, we seldom look at the flip-side of the coin. When things are going well in our lives we have a habit of abandoning God. We must remember when we ignore God – He is still with us. God never leaves us for an instant. He never forsakes us and God never gives up on us. Like our body, we can never rid ourselves of Him. So it makes good sense to maintain a healthy relationship with our omnipresent God. Just like our body, He has little ways of reminding us that we are ignoring Him to the detriment of our spiritual and eternal wellbeing.
Life is all about relationships. It behoves us to have a good relationship with our body because we are stuck with it for life, but more importantly we should develop an excellent relationship with our benevolent Creator because we will be with Him for eternity. (1 Samuel 12:22)
Drunkenness is a matter of choice. In fact, many small choices lead to the state of intoxication. A person must choose to let alcohol continuously pass his lips and must choose to swallow. At the first sign of light-headedness, the wise person abstains, but the potential drunk chooses to continue until reaching the point of intoxication.
There are other forms of intoxication. We can easily get drunk on bitterness, jealousy, lust or pride. As with drinking alcohol, this intoxication is a matter of choice – lots of small choices. We choose to let subjective thoughts turn into bitterness or jealousy. Then, instead of abstaining, we swallow foul thought after foul thought, and in no time we are intoxicated with hatred, anger and revenge. Similarly we become drunk with pride, lust, arrogance and power. Then, as with all drunks, it will not be long before we are making fools of ourselves and hurting those we love.
The truth is, from time to time, we all have these thoughts (the Bible says we are liars if we say we don’t). So at the first sign of intoxication, the wise person abstains by admitting those thoughts to God (1 John 1:9.) and starts afresh with a sober mind.
Athletes soon realize they must exercise all parts of their body or injuries will inevitably occur in the parts they have neglected.
This rule applies to Christians – collectively and individually. As a Church, we should not concentrate on Christian fellowship and neglect learning the Word of God. As individuals, we should not put all our effort into serving strangers and neglect serving family. If we are strong in only one area, the neglected area will inevitably collapse under the strain.
This is also true in our relationship with God. We must remember, our spiritual strength does not come from us – it originates by allowing God to work in certain aspects of our life. God strengthens, revitalizes, comforts, encourages and gives confidence to those areas of the soul we have surrendered to Him. However, those areas we refuse to give over to God will soon feel the strain. Fortunately, it is through that strain many of us realize we have to hand all aspects of our lives to God so He can build them up to enable us to have all-round spiritual strength. The result: a relaxed attitude in all circumstances of life, peace of mind, and a graceful Christlike spirit which encourages and inspires others – bringing much glory to God.
And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9
Our bodies have a unique way of communicating – not in words, yet the message is normally very clear. If we step on something sharp, our body immediately tells us to move. If we drink too much alcohol, our body lets us know its displeasure by making us sick (as well as reminding us the following morning with a nasty hang-over).
Furthermore, our body tells us when food is required or needs to be disposed of. It rewards us with a sense of well-being when we regularly exercise and sends messages of fatigue when we have over-exercised.
At times, our body screams at us with pain to alert us to change our behaviour before the damage is irreversible.
God has many ways of communicating with us which don’t involve direct speech. He speaks through His Word (the Bible) and speaks through our conscience (our sense of right and wrong). He gives an inner peace and joy to encourage us in the right direction. He also communicates with feelings of unrest and emptiness when we have left the true path.
God is constantly sending messages and warning us in ways that don’t interfere with our free-will. Maybe we should take the time to listen to what our Creator is trying to tell us.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.” Revelations 3:20.
A critically injured woman staggered to the hospital. Immediately she was whisked to the Emergency-Room for treatment. A foolish doctor on duty examined her and shouted to the nurse, ‘Quickly, get me a comb and make-up. This woman’s appearance is atrocious.’ Soon the injured woman was on the operating table having her hair brushed, receiving new clothes and a complete makeover while she quietly bled to death from her inner wounds.
As Christians, we sometimes get so caught up with outward appearances that we don’t fix the real problem. Like Adam and Eve after the fall, we become so preoccupied with appearances that we devote our time sewing fig leaves to cover up.
When people come into our lives and church seeking grace and healing for inner wounds (caused from living in a fallen world), we often ignore those wounds and concentrate on adjusting their outward behaviour to conform to our own legalistic standards. Sadly, it’s no wonder spiritually wounded people see the church as the last place to go when seeking treatment. (Matthew 23:25)
A young man, keen to get fit, purchased ‘life membership’ to a long-established gym. After a few weeks, however, he lost interest and never went to the gym again. Many years later he grew fat and lazy. His family and friends even voted him ‘least likely to ever exercise’, but unbeknown to everyone, the man who was so anti-exercise remained a member of the gym to his dying day.
We are wrong to assume that because a person doesn’t act as a Christian – he is not a Christian. When anyone believes in Christ, God instantly writes his or her name in the ‘Book of Life’. From that moment onward they are eternal members of the Family of God. Soon after that they may lose interest in Christianity, but they still remain members of Heaven.
Our eternal salvation (Heavenly Membership) is eternally secure – it was purchased by Christ at the cross. It doesn’t depend on what we do, but on the work accomplished on our behalf by the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross. We can do nothing to earn salvation – we can do nothing to lose it. Salvation is simply accepted as a gift. Once accepted, our name is irrevocably written in the ‘Book of Life’ and it is there for eternity. However, the shape we are in on reaching Heaven and the rewards received depend on the amount of time we have spent spiritually exercising on earth (doing God’s will). (Ephesians 2:8 -9).
When we desire to get into shape or build a little muscle, we can join a gym or sporting club. However being a member is not enough to get fit – it is only the initial step. If we want results – first we must do the right thing (exercise) and, second, refrain from doing the wrong thing (by eating excessive junk food).
If we want to be strong Christians we soon realise that attending or being a member of a church is not enough for spiritual growth – it’s only the initial step. Spiritual growth comes from exercising in the Word of God (using the promises and reflecting on the profound truths within the Bible) and refraining from doing the wrong thing (sin). Furthermore, teachers of God’s Word are like personal trainers and we benefit only if we put into practice their Biblical advice. (2 Tim 2:15. 2 Tim 3:16-17)
Generally, babies are born with flexible bodies that heal quickly. This is nature’s grace period which allows awkward children to have many accidents without causing serious injury as they learn to walk, run and play. Unfortunately, as our bodies grow older we are unable to take childhood spills and expect to walk away injury free.
When ‘born again’ as Christians, we can be likened to babies. In trying to stand on our own ‘spiritual feet’ we will naturally have many falls (sin). God is very patient and gives us a grace period to find our feet and get on track.
Though God’s grace is inexhaustible, we only have limited time on Earth to get with God’s plan (to whom much is given – much is expected). As the years pass and we show a stubborn reluctance to do things we know we should, God will allow the results of our bad decisions to take their course. As new Christians, God often protects us from the consequences of certain behaviour, but if we try those same tricks as older Christians we are sure to suffer injuries
Stimulating the Spirit
To maintain a healthy body and mind, it is essential to stimulate the working parts. If our muscles and joints are not active, they deteriorate rapidly. Our brains need constant stimulus, as experienced by those who undergo ‘sense deprivation experiments’. Without stimulus they eventually start hallucinating.
To maintain a healthy spirit that is relaxed, joyful and compassionate, we must stimulate it constantly. We do this by leading an active spiritual life. We advance in the Christian life by learning wisdom (God’s Word). We strengthen our faith by exercising with God’s promises and acting upon biblical truths.
If we deprive our soul of the spiritual stimulation God has ordained – or substitute a pseudo-spiritual life – soon we’ll become habitually depressed, start having irrational fears; or alternatively, hallucinate with delusions of grandeur.
Scratching the Itch
Some itches should not be scratched. Scratching may bring temporary relief, but within moments the itch will return with a vengeance, demanding to be scratched two-fold. Then if we do not restrain ourselves and continue scratching, the itch will turn into a nasty sore ready for infection.
Sinful temptations are like itches – they require insatiable scratching. When we give in to temptation, we may satisfy the urge temporarily, but it won’t be long before temptation is back again demanding to be satisfied. Should we continually try to gratify these unquenchable temptations, we will ultimately cause damage to ourselves and our loved ones.
When God tells us to resist temptation, He is not trying to stop our fun, but give wise advice to stop us from turning our life into a festering sore. (Proverbs 8:36)
The Desire & the Doing
Everyone wants to be fit and healthy, but this won’t happen by just wishing. Neither will filling the fridge with healthy food make us healthier. The food must be properly prepared, then eaten, to be beneficial. Simply wanting to be fitter is only the first step on a journey that takes many steps.
A mature Christian is someone who exhibits an inner strength and joy, a high sense of purpose, confidence and hope derived from the Truth, a graceful attitude towards all mankind and an unshakable faith in God.
Many of us wish for these wonderful outcomes from Christianity, but wishing alone is not enough. Having our shelves filled with Biblical books written by acclaimed theologians, or being a member of a respected church will not help either – these only lead towards the first steps of a journey that takes many steps.
To accomplish results in Christianity, we must consistently learn Biblical Truths and skills and apply them by keeping our mind on God – not on people or circumstances. The fruits of Christianity won’t be ours by simply wanting them or doing the right thing once in a while. Proper learning and application must be a daily function and become a way of life. (Romans 12:1-2, Colossians 3:23-24)
Rehabilitation is the process of being restored to rights, privileges, reputation or proper condition. When we have suddenly lost the use of our body, through accident or illness, the road to recovery is always a slow, discouraging and often painful process.
As members of the human race, we are fallen creatures – separated from God because of Adam’s and our own bad decisions. God’s great wish is to restore us to the relationship with Him that He intended for us.
When we believe in Jesus Christ for our salvation, God instantly endows us with Christ’s righteousness, privileges and reputation – our rights are then restored. However, living in the devil’s world has left us spiritually crippled and, if we are to ever stand on our own spiritual feet, we must first undergo a long process of rehabilitation. God has organised everything necessary to achieve this, but left it up to us whether or not we want to be rehabilitated.
Christianity is not a one-shot decision or dedication; such change within does not happen overnight (even when we pray it will). Progress is slow and often imperceptible. There will be times of pain and discouragement when we are tempted to give up. But as with any process of rehabilitation, we must persevere; taking one small painful step after another. When we stumble, God has promised to support us. When we fall, we must look to Him to help us get up and move forward. If we continually trust in Him, we will slowly be rehabilitated to our proper condition and advance to spiritual maturity where the Victor’s Crown is guaranteed to be ours. (Romans 5:3-5. James 1:3-4)
Spiritual Exercise Opportunities
People achieve an amazing level of fitness when they look for ‘exercise opportunities’ in their daily routine. They will take the stairs instead of the elevator, stretch while working on the computer, do leg squats while waiting for the kettle to boil, and workout while watching television.
Going to church is great, but our spiritual life shouldn’t be limited to church on Sunday. Sadly, the only time many Christians think about, learn about and thank God is while attending church. While this is a great starting point it won’t produce the effective spiritual life the Bible promises. (Isaiah 40:31)
Christians who have the most dynamic spiritual life have not compartmentalised their Christianity to one day a week. Whenever opportunities present themselves in their daily life, they contemplate and apply Biblical Truths; their prayers are a continuous conversation with God and they bring Him into all facets of their life.
By utilizing God’s Grace and applying Biblical doctrines at every opportunity, these Christians rapidly develop a dynamic spiritual life, a robust faith and a relaxed inner peace. They are far better equipped to handle life’s problems than the Christians who give a ‘nod to God’ just once a week on Sundays.
Every day our choices determine what sort of Christian we will become and how we will handle life’s ups and downs.
The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, but the way of the upright is a highway. Proverbs 15:19
Choose Your Hard
In Western cultures, obesity is at its highest recorded level. We are overweight because we are eating the wrong foods and doing less exercise. Yet many complain they don’t have time to eat right and that doing exercise is too hard.
I saw an excellent fridge magnet that stated: “Being overweight is hard! Eating right and exercising is hard! CHOOSE YOUR HARD!”
Our first hard option of being overweight has no benefits and is the cause of future bad health. Our second hard option takes effort but builds strength and results in future good health.
The same is true of our soul. Many suffer from stress and depression – it seems to be a cultural epidemic. In the Bible, God has provided the wisdom to give people a relaxed mental attitude, inner strength and inner happiness, but people say they don’t have time to study God’s Word – it’s too hard!
If I may rephrase the fridge magnet: Being depressed and stressed is hard! Learning God’s Word and trusting in Him is hard! CHOOSE YOUR HARD!
Both options are hard. Our first hard option leads to a worry-filled life that has no eternal benefit. Our second hard option builds inner strength and inner beauty that will ultimately bring glory to God.
We are created for a Glorious purpose. God has given us time to learn wisdom and build a capacity of grace that appreciates the people around us and our present circumstances – whatever they may be. Yes, this capacity takes effort but results in a relaxed mental attitude that makes life so much easier in the long run.
We are what we think! It’s our choice. Every day we must choose our HARD. What will your HARD be? (Hebrews 10:36)
When our bodies lack certain vitamins there will soon be signs of those deficiencies. Lack of vitamin A causes night blindness. Lack of vitamin B causes blemished skin, hair loss and insomnia. Lack of vitamin C causes bleeding gums, loose teeth, muscle aches, dry hair and skin. Lack of vitamin D causes weak bones.
When our soul lacks the intake of God’s Word it won’t be long before we see outward signs of depression, bitterness, selfishness, arrogance and so on. God’s Word is the element that produces virtue, a sense of purpose, a relaxed mental attitude, inner strength and happiness. Without it we shouldn’t be surprised when our soul is deficient – lacking meaning and causing a huge vacuum that we constantly try to fill with all sorts of meaningless ‘worldly’ rubbish.
When we are deficient in something, the smart thing to do is identify what is missing and remedy it. Only when we ‘regularly’ absorb God’s Word, claim His promises and abide with Him will we truly find our soul lacks for nothing. (1 Thessalonians 4:12).
Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. Matthew 4:4.
Parents put their children through the pain of having injections knowing that a small amount of distress at the time is far better than serious illness later.
God allows suffering in our life for the same reason. Often, adversity in life will generate wisdom which, in turn, provides immunity against making serious mistakes later.
From the eternal perspective, it is far better to have a life of suffering if it leads us to Christ and eternal salvation – than to live a life of prosperity if it leads us to an eternity in Hell.
God has our best interests at heart. He doesn’t want any of His children to suffer everlasting damnation separated from Him. Like any good parent, He would rather we go through temporary discomfort if it eventually leads us safely to Heaven. Remember, life on Earth is a pinprick compared to eternity.
“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come to judgment, but passed from death into life.” John 5:24.
A personal trainer is someone who teaches and motivates others for the purpose of their physical advancement. A good trainer understands that people have varying levels of fitness and ability – that too much too soon will only injure and cause people to be discouraged and lose interest.
A good trainer starts small and motivates their students to push themselves. They inspire them to exercise and educate them to develop good eating habits.
When their student has turned their ‘fat into fit’ and everyone is commenting on the transformation, it always brings credit to the trainer.
We seldom consider the role of the Holy Spirit (the third Person of the Trinity). He is our ‘Personal-Spiritual-Trainer’. He has full knowledge about us and knows exactly what we need to build spiritual muscle. He motivates us when we lack motivation. He persistently whispers in our ear (the still small voice of our conscience) and inspires us to push ourselves. He encourages us to have a balanced spiritual diet (Biblical Truths) and discourages us from junk food (sin). At times He organises difficult circumstances and frustrating people to enter our lives so we can build spiritual muscle (but has promised to never test us beyond what we can handle). He also understands the need for rest and will organise thrilling circumstances and wonderful people to encourage us to new levels of spiritual maturity. He is the Perfect Trainer and is at our call 24/7.
But here’s the problem: trainers can only help those that come to them with a real desire to improve themselves. We would be wise to employ our Holy Spiritual Trainer; not only will we eternally benefit, but furthermore strong-healthy spiritual students always bring glory to their Trainer.
When we have a headache we normally take a pill to stop the pain. Interestingly, the pill doesn’t cure anything but simply blocks the pain signals for a short period. Anyone suffering serious headaches can tell you that when the effects of the tablet wear off, the pain quickly returns.
There are many ‘soul-aches’ we can suffer such as: loneliness, depression or bitterness. We often try to cure these soul-aches with distractions like: shopping, partying, drinking, computer gaming, or expensive toys. Like the headache pill, these are just temporal solutions that allow us to forget our miseries for a short time. They may distract us from our woes temporarily but they will never cure our soul-ache; when the effects of our distraction wear off, our soul-ache will return with a vengeance.
The cure lies with God. We were designed to have a relationship with our Creator – in Him we will find completeness. The Bible states: ‘My flesh and my heart fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever’ (Psalm 73:26). ‘You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore’ (Psalm 16:11).
Our emptiness of soul can only be cured by God. We may call ourselves Christians, but if we continue our frantic search for happiness in the stuff of this life and refuse to trust in God we will never enter His peace. (Philippians 4:7)
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