(Spiritual) Health Care

District Fellowship News

September, October 2009

Recently, the debate has raged about health care in our country. Although in this current debate they are talking about how to pay for it, and who should have access to it, every day there are also warnings about how what you eat, the environment we live in, or the choices we make affect our health. We receive recommendations that we shouldn’t eat trans-fats, or fast food, or even barbecued hamburgers. We are told even food that is good for us may kill us as in the case of game fish and mercury, or fresh spinach and E. Coli. And what about behaviors such as smoking, or driving without a seat belt, they are or could be harmful to your health. While we certainly need to be concerned about  our physical health, it is even of greater importance to consider our spiritual health. We must take care of ourselves spiritually or we may find we have become sick and dysfunctional Christians.

One of the big areas of concern in health care is our environment. We worry about pollution and contamination. We are concerned with the influence that commercials and advertisements may have on our decisions. There is talk of restricting what can be sold to you because it may be too unhealthy. Have you ever thought about that in a spiritual context? Unless you prepare yourself, the environment of the world can be deadly to your spiritual health. It is a toxic environment . The images (advertisement for sin) you see, the enticements you hear are designed to make activities that are harmful to your spiritual health look appealing and enticing. In the physical realm, cigarettes were never advertised with wrinkled older men and women with nicotine stained fingers, smelling like stale smoke, coughing and hacking in a doctor’s office listening to a diagnosis of lung cancer . Instead they were advertised with young, successful, happy people who are much better off because they are enjoying a cigarette. The same goes for the spiritual side, people engaging in sin are shown happy and healthy with no consequences of their actions. They seem to be better off when sinning then they are when not. When the environment around you is full of sin, you must carry with you the protective mask of the Holy Spirit, that minimizes the impact of the environment, that filters the contaminants. In John chapter 17, Jesus prays for his disciples and says even though they live in this world that they are not of this world, and He asks for them to be protected. We cannot avoid any contact at all with the world; that would be foolish and counter productive. But just like health care professionals take seriously the contagions they deal with, we should also take seriously the contaminating power of sin, and protect ourselves, with God’s help, against it.

A second area of concern are the choices people make. When we choose to inhale smoke into our lungs, when we choose to expose ourselves to deadly viruses through our intimate relationships, when we choose to eat unhealthy foods, we can certainly hurt our physical health. We also can choose to ignore any warning signs (chest pains, high blood pressure, lumps, bleeding), that would say it is time to see a physician. By our choices we can go from health to death. The same is true in our spiritual lives. We can choose to do things that are deadly to our spiritual health (participating in sin, ignoring the warnings in the Word or from the Spirit). Sometimes sin can seem so good, it is like that next Oreo cookie, we just can’t stop ourselves from having another. Of course, one more cookie doesn’t cause an immediate problem. Everything may seem to be fine the next day, or for the next year, but if we continue the behavior sickness or unhealthiness can creep in. The virus has infected us, or the sugar levels have gone out of control, or the blood vessels are blocked. We need to know what is harmful to us. The information we need to make the right spiritual choices is found in the spiritual physician’s desk reference - the Bible. When we get our information from that book, we can make correct choices to bolster our spiritual health.

What about the doctor and the cost? The interesting thing is that the cost of spiritual healthcare is free. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to make choices and sacrifices, but what it does mean is that the Great Physician paid the price for you to escape spiritual death and live in spiritual health. Wouldn’t that be unexpected, your doctor paid for your health care? That is exactly what has happened in the spiritual realm. God knew that the cost for our return to spiritual health would be impossible for us to pay, no one could pay it, because what it would require was someone who had never participated in sin to be offered as a sacrifice. All of us were infected already, only Jesus, the Physician had the means, the ability, and the desire to pay that price. We have the best possible spiritual health care plan, the best doctor, and a 100% success rate if we follow his instructions.

Hopefully, this comparison has gotten you thinking about how you are taking care of your health, both physical and spiritual. Get your exercise (pray, witness), eat right (read the Word), avoid unhealthy behaviors (flee from sin), and have regular appointments with your physician (Jesus is always available) and you’ll be spiritually healthy.