Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? What if there was something you could do to make a drastic change in how you feel? Could you? Would you?
In 2012 I wrote a book called Temple Sweepers: Motivation for a Healthy Body and Soul. (No, this isn’t a desperate plea to get you to buy the book, so please keep reading.) Motivated by a love of story-telling, I outlined the comparisons I discovered between my health journey with rheumatoid arthritis and the spiritual journey I’d been traveling. I longed for others with an auto-immune disease to find the same comfort I had found.
In my research for Temple Sweepers I came across Henry W. Wright’s book, A More Excellent Way. In it he maintains that the root causes of most chronic illnesses correspond directly to one’s level of spiritual health. He discussed many specific spiritual ailments that he believed to be the causes of various diseases. I didn’t include much of what he had to say in my book because I didn’t think he had the medical credentials to back up his claims. However, he definitely piqued my curiosity, but I remained skeptical.
Now, after living out the sequel to Temple Sweepers, I’m not so sure his claims aren’t dead on. July 30th I will celebrate two years of being free of all RA symptoms. Yes, the dietary changes helped tremendously. Yes, the supplements, hormones, rest, and appropriate exercise I outlined in Temple Sweepers helped change things for the better. But, it was my own War Room moment with the devil that completely healed me. Like Pricilla Shirer’s shouting-at-the-devil moment in the War Room movie, I had done some shouting of my own. Literally! On my back deck I shouted these exact words, “Satan, I’ve got some Holy Spirit power living in me, and it’s about to kick your read end!” I railed on him for about twenty minutes, calling on the Power I knew I possessed to take care of my struggles. God chose to honor that request. In one of those rare moments when I knew God was speaking directly to my heart, I felt Him say that He’d been waiting on me to make my life more about praising Him and honoring others rather than seeking honor and praise for myself. I don’t believe He caused my ten-year struggle, but I most certainly believe He used what Satan meant for harm to point out what needed to be purged from my heart. I am now convinced that it was my own pride, bitterness, and angst that caused my body to attack itself.
Ephesians 4:29-31 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
I was definitely concerned about grieving the Holy Spirit because I knew I wasn’t speaking life into others. Without realizing it, I had developed a critical spirit much like the Winnie the Pooh character Eyeore who moaned and groaned his way through life. I so wanted to be like Tigger.
Here’s what I needed to let sink in:
“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.”
Notice the all and every in those instructions. I had let bitterness turn my body against itself because I merely offered partial forgiveness to others and to myself. Guilt turned into shame. Frustration had become resentment. All of these rolled head over heels into one giant ball of unworthiness. Not until I was able to admit my faults and ask for forgiveness did I begin to experience the overwhelming, lavish love of God. I realized God loved me as much as the father loved the prodigal son; enough to stand day after day gazing at the horizon in hopes of seeing my silhouette rise up from the valley. God yearns for us to come back home. As soon as we show a single ray of repentance, He hoists His robe and runs full throttle to meet us. He wraps us up in a fresh, clean robe to replace our filthy rags, places a ring of significance on our finger, and blesses us with sandals for our feet. The undeserved grace we receive produces an acute, contagious generosity within us. Now that’s a disease I don’t mind catching!
If you find yourself in a spiritual battle with the father of lies, I have Good News! God wants to help you forgive those who hurt you. He longs to fill you to the brim with Holy Spirit power. Get in the Word and on your knees. Get Godly counseling from a spouse, friend, pastor, or counselor if you need it, but talk to someone! Apologize to those you’ve hurt. Accept God’s grace; because only then will you be willing to see others the way God sees them. Only then will you experience true healing.
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy the rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30
“A cheerful heart is good medicine: but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Proverbs 17:22
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and shun evil. This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.” Proverbs 3:5-8
So! If you don’t like to exercise and can’t find a way to eat right for more than a day, why not clean out your spiritual house? It’s trash day!