Towards A Healthy Life
Brother Bob Pellien: Need a boost in energy? Keep your mind, body, and spirit healthy by taking advice from the Bible. You’re listening to the podcast version of God’s Message Magazine, and today’s topic is “Towards A Healthy Life.”
Brother Bob Pellien: Nobody wants to get sick. Not only is it physically discomforting, but equally pocket-draining. Where before, a bowl of chicken noodle soup was what it took for a simple cold to disappear, new strains of virus and other airborne contaminants complicate matters up, costing the sick individual’s family a fortune. Getting hospitalized is truly expensive. What with the high cost of medicine, doctors’ fees, ward rates, laboratory examinations, work-ups—these and more can cause blood pressures to shoot up and draw patients to more devastating relapses.
Be that as it may, we ought to maintain healthy lives, not only for economic considerations, but in response to the teachings of the apostles. It is important for us to maintain a wholesome and blameless life. As Christians, we should strive to foster spiritual health and maintain physical well-being.
The desire to see the brethren in good health is clearly expressed in Apostle John’s third epistle thus:
My dear friend, I pray that everything may go well with you and that you may be in good health—as I know you are well in spirit.
[III John 1:2 Good News Translation]
Brother Bob Pellien: Apostle John, one of the pillars of the first century Church Of Christ, wished that those who were under his charge were in good health as they were also well spiritually. This, too, is the continuing concern of the Church in these last days.
Physical development. Apostle Paul extolled the value of physical exercise when he wrote to Timothy thus:
Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future.
[I Timothy 4:8 Good News Translation]
Brother Bob Pellien: Very much aware that man needs a healthy body to be able to do his daily tasks and to serve God most especially, Apostle Paul openly declared the value of physical exercise. Although he was quick to add that it’s not as valuable as physical exercise, which is profitable in every way, as it promises life for both the present and the future.
Hence, it is to their own advantage if members of the Church Of Christ would undertake an effective program for physical development. Church activities demand Christians to have a sound body and a sound mind. Mens sana in corpore sano.
However, one’s efforts of maintaining good health is oftentimes marred by the onset of diseases of various causes. Some come about as a result of transgressing God’s commandments as when a person neglects his own body. Hence, they come as a form of chastisement, if not, a punishment. Sometimes, an illness is also due to God’s decision to test the metal of His children, as in the case of Job, who contracted a rare disease, capping a series of depressing events that would have shaken a person’s faith in God. The Lord tested the strength of Job’s faith.
Still, many others get sick because of air and water pollution and other circumstances damaging to both humans and animals. Hence, the outbreak of the dreaded mad cow disease or the so-called FMD (foot-and-mouth disease), that brought great financial losses and danger to mankind.
But, should one be desperate if he contracts a serious ailment? Should Christians lose hope? For whichever may be the cause of one’s illness, who should members of the Church Of Christ depend on to heal them? The psalmist answers us with confidence thus:
Praise the Lord, my soul, and do not forget how kind he is. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.
[Psalms 103: 2-3 Good News Translation]
Brother Bob Pellien: There is no reason for God’s people to lose hope. After all He, the giver of life, can heal our sicknesses no matter how serious they may be. Instead of becoming desperate, God’s people should not forget how kind and merciful He is. We should always remember that He is our loving Father who is always ready to show His lovingkindness to His children.
But, does this mean that a person should just wait and see how God shall heal Him? Is there nothing to be done? What specific instructions did God give to His people through His apostles, when somebody among the brethren gets ill? In James 5:14-15, this is clearly advised:
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.
[James 5:14-15 King James Version]
Brother Bob Pellien: Through Apostle James, members are enjoined to call the members of the Church and let them pray over sick persons, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. Not only would the sick be healed of their illness, but they would be forgiven of their sins too. What could be more reassuring than this?
It should not be misconstrued, however, that consulting a physician when one gets sick would manifest a lack of faith in God. Bible history is replete with instances when God’s people of old, say during the patriarchal era, availed of the services of physicians, such as Genesis 50:2. Physicians were indeed employed to restore the health of people even in biblical times.
In the Christian era, even when our Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles were known to have performed miraculous deeds such as healing the sick, physicians were also recognized. Apostle Paul even wrote the Christians that Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas greeted them (Colossians 4:14). We could glean from New Testament history that this very Luke, the beloved physician, is the writer of one of the four gospels of Christ. Hence, in the Christian era, it is perfectly alright to get the services of a physician with a particular area of specialization. One should not regard it as a lacking faith in God, nor would it be a proof of man’s complete reliance on the ability of other men. Physicians are but instruments of God, the ultimate healer.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, Himself a healer, said in Matthew 9:12 that:
… “People who are well do not need a doctor, but only those who are sick.
[Matthew 9:12 Good News Translation]
Brother Bob Pellien: This proves that our Lord Jesus Christ is not against the idea of consulting and getting the services of a doctor. It cannot be without any significance to identify or pair the doctor with the sick. Thus, a Christian must not think that he is undermining God’s wisdom and power when he consults a physician. What he should bear in mind is that such a specialist is merely a recipient of God’s endowment. In fact, a doctor’s knowledge and training, no matter how extensive, would still be limited—hence, continuing researches and multiple specializations. Even then, there are several instances when a medical expert, after having exhausted his knowledge and an extremely difficult case, would—in utter resignation— comfort relatives of a terminally ill patient with “let’s leave it to God” or “the most that we can do is pray.” This is a tacit admission of man’s limited capabilities.
Hence, consulting physicians per se is not evil. It is when one relies so much on them so as to seek their services first rather than the help of God that makes it so, as in the case of Asa, one of the kings of Judah who sought not to the Lord but to the physicians (II Chronicles 16:12).
The value of prayer cannot be underestimated. Time and again, medical practitioners are confounded when terminally ill patients would suddenly show signs of recovery and leave the hospital premises for good after prayers have been said for them. This is not at all surprising, as a similar incident is recorded in the Bible, when King Hezekiah of Judah got seriously ill. Though Prophet Isaiah declared that the king would no longer recover, the latter did not lose hope. He prayed hard and God answered his prayer. He was given 15 more years to live (II Kings 20: 1-6).
There are many Hezekiahs in the world today. They may not be kings, but nothing prevents them from calling upon God. Even if we have already prayed to God, there is nothing wrong if we take medication for our ailment. Prophet Isaiah, who brought Hezekiah the message of his recovery told the latter’s attendants to apply medication—a paste made of figs—on his boil and he would get well (II Kings 20:7). Medicines, like physicians, are also instruments used by God in healing the sick. But whatever instruments are utilized by God to save a sick person or maintain our healthy lives, all these prove that He is the source of our life and strength.
Brother Bob Pellien: To find more articles like these, get your copy of God’s Message Magazine from a member of the Church Of Christ. You can also find the podcast version on incmedia.org/podcasts or on iTunes and Google Play under INC Podcasts. Thank you for listening. I’m Brother Bob Pellien. God bless.
Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You
Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You
Christian Media: Where Truth Meets You
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