Phyllis Beveridge Nissila
Categories to respond to in this section were listed under the heading, “Has your physical and emotional health limited your social activities with families, friends, neighbors, or groups?” Specific questions dealt with such things as “loss of interest in doing things” and feeling “down, depressed, or hopeless.”
No doubt this year’s unprecedented COVID-19 quarantine has something to do with the expanded questionnaire when, perhaps for many, one cause of a hit to emotional health may be due not to self-limiting from friends and activities but to health department limitations due to the COVID. Ya think?
But, of course, anything at any time in one’s life might cause not only physical but also mental and emotional stressors. Doctors and counsellors help us with appropriate medications, lifestyle adjustments, and/or therapies…
All this got me to thinking about God’s “prescriptions” for spiritual well-being which, like mental and emotional health, also affect the physical. You might say the body manifests, in due time, everything else going on in our “fearfully and wonderfully made” selves.
Of course, even as “new creatures in Christ Jesus,” aka believers, we have access to more not only spiritual but also practical wisdom on how to gain and maintain well-being.
We might still have the exact same “natural” challenges and dis-eases; it’s just that we have another source of therapy, if you will, to facilitate healing. You might call this “God’s Rx” (take as needed; with or without hesitation; morning, noon, and/or night).
I am referring to the Word of God wherein the genesis of practical as well as spiritual health emanates. And I offer two aspects of this kind of therapy for your consideration–and encouragement.
Before beginning the “spiritual regimen,” however, “drawing near to God” so that He can “draw near to you” is a pre-requisite–kind of like actually visiting the doctor for both diagnostic and prescriptive aid.
Spiritually, this is possible because of Jesus, God’s Son, Who took the punishment for our sins on Himself thus reconciling all those who so choose with God, the Father. Read here for more information on how.
And then, by God’s Spirit, in both His Word and loosed within the believer, the floodgates of truth, wisdom, information, instruction, correction, and comfort await to save, heal, and deliver those with eyes, ears, and hearts focused on Him.
In other words, God’s prescription for all that ails His creation is embedded in His Word.
Accessing this font of health and restoration begins–middles and ends–with a question, a prayer, even by that which can only prompt a groan or a sigh from the heaviest of hearts. And it flows from staying at His feet, so to speak, listening–and doing what is gleaned there.
On a practical note, the book of Proverbs is a source of advice for activities of daily spiritual living, as it were, and for specifics on the nature of the wicked and the righteous, as in how to deal with the former and rejoice in the work of Jesus Christ “in Whom” at salvation we become the latter. For more information on the nature of true righteousness, read here.
On a comfort note, the book of Psalms reveals how even people in high places (read: King David), might be revered by all but are still subject to the same temptations and failures. The book also reveals that God “comes through” sometimes in the nick of time, often over time, but also every time we ask Him for help. Just like He did for King David.
Of course there are lessons to be learned, comfort and instruction to be had, one way or another, in all the writings of the anthology called the Bible.
But for the purpose of this post, I will focus on two related “prescriptions” I have found to be very effective not only in resisting certain temptations but also in strengthening mind, emotions, and the spirit-mind-body connection that facilitates physical health.
Perhaps one of the most challenging aspects of this unprecedented summer of 2020 is the confusion, chaos, and frustration abounding in the news, on the streets, and in the mind and emotions. Know what I mean?
One talking-head expert says one thing; another says another; and in the streets, well, who doesn’t already know about the criminal activity piggy-backing on peaceful protests, the perpetrators going about their destruction with apparent impunity in many cities?
So does one run and hide? Counter protest and risk one’s life and occupation? Hole up with others of like mind and a lot of supplies for some inevitable kinetic conflagration as hate turns to rage and rage to hands-on warfare?
It is at this juncture where it is critical to know who’s giving out correct information, who’s leading, and, more importantly who’s the one to follow.
For believers, the answer is crystal clear:
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7, KJV)
A good “companion Scripture” is Proverbs 16:32:
Better a patient person than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city. (NIV)
The prescription: if a “leader,” an individual or a collective, mongers fear, hate, rage, destruction, and chaos, this is not the spirit of the Leader of leaders Who, according to His pattern,* always guides us, one way or another, out of trouble and into freedom. Follow the temporal leader who follows Him in Spirit and/or “on the ground.” Best if both.
The second and related prescription stems from the following:
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, [and] faithfulness… (Galatians 5:22, ESV)
In short, leaders whose character and end goals align with the above, even if just in wordly conflicts, are best in the long run for not only spiritual but also mental, emotional, and physical health.
None of this “fruit” is necessarily easy to acquire, however.
But in the end it heals.
And if you think about it, if the fruit of God’s Spirit were not the most powerful force on earth, given the brilliance of our real enemy always hiding behind the curtain, we’d have been dust before the crust cooled.
I encourage you–and me–to stay close to God, to let our prayers and petitions rise day and night, and to be the overcomers Jesus talked about here:
You are from God, little children, and have overcome them [false teachers, prophets]; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4)
And regarding the “end of the story,” we have this other promise as well:
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)
Stay in God’s Word.
*See the previous post on “God’s Normal” for more information on God’s leadership style.
Pharmacy sign from Wikimedia Commons
Cross image from Wikimedia Commons