Medicine for the soul — How do you deal with all of your infirmities?
Last week, I watched as Simon Biles, one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen, in my opinion, was criticized for a critical decision that she made in regards to her mental health. Honestly, the criticism of her choosing to take care of her mental health moved me to want to focus on the subject of mental health in my sermon this week. The reason being is because for far too long, we, mankind, have made light of the issues that we all have mentally.
Honestly, collectively as a church, we rarely broach the subject of mental health which is something I believe we should certainly focus on a great deal more. Why? Because we live in a world that is always pressing down on us with burden after burden and many of us walk around trying to carry all of those burdens. Trying to bear the weight of the world is such a heavy burden which can be taxing and cause both anxiety and stress – none of which is good for our mental health.
While we always take into consideration our physical and mental health, there is another facet of our health that influences our physical, mental, and emotional health. From this facet, all of our infirmities that we bear are also born. So, when we start talking about dealing with our infirmities, which are defined as physical and mental weaknesses, I want to go to the source of our infirmities.
Scripture shows us that there is actually a remedy to all of our health issues – be them physical, mental, or emotional. So I want to look at what scripture says is the remedy to all of our infirmities.
Today I want to take a moment to turn over to the gospel of Luke so that we can take a look at two examples of how God deals with our infirmities. I also want to make an important connection to the source of so many of our physical, mental, and emotional infirmities. The reason being is that in order for us to remedy our infirmities, our best bet is to take care of them at the source.
Our physical infirmities
Luke records an event in his gospel that involved Jesus and a woman who we are told had an infirmity for 18 years that I want to look at first (Luke 13:10-17). In this passage of scripture we are told that in her infirmity, she was bent over and unable to stand up straight (Luke 13:11). So, clearly her infirmity was physical in nature.
Now, let us note that scripture tells us that she was physically crippled by a spirit of infirmity. What this means is that an evil spirit (a demon, an entity) was the cause of this woman’s crippling infirmity. Now, in order for her physical infirmity to be healed, let us note that Jesus, God in the flesh, was required to step in. Jesus simply called her forward and said to her, “Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity (Luke 13:12).”
So, why was Jesus required to step in for an infirmity that appears to have been physical? Again, there is a very important connection here to not only our mental infirmities but also physical and our emotional infirmities as well.
Our mental infirmities
In another example that I believe all of you will all be familiar with, we will take a look at how the Lord deals with mental infirmities. Now, the mental facet of our life is so important to us because what we think can influence both our emotions and our actions.
I want to direct your attention to a few chapters earlier in Luke’s gospel (Luke 8:26-39). We are told of a man who had an infirmity which scripture indicates to us was more of a mental infirmity than an physical infirmity. We will see that because he was not in his “right mind”, we are told that he lived outside of the city in the tombs (Luke 8:27). (The people of the city essentially expelled him out of the city because of his mental issues.)
Now, let us note from this passage of scripture that the source of the man’s mental infirmity was, again, an evil spirit. This evil spirit called itself Legion (Luke 8:30). Now, again, in order for the man’s mental infirmity to be remedied, we see that Jesus was required to step in. Scripture tells us that Jesus commanded the unclean spirit out of the man and into some nearby swine which we are told ended up drowning (Luke 8:29-33). After he was healed, the people from the city came out into the country and found the man sitting at the feet of Jesus clothed and “in his right mind (Luke 8:35).”
In both of these examples, there is an important connection that I believe is clear and very evident to the cause of the infirmities. This connection is still very much present in our world today, and it’s a very important connection, yet we often overlook this connection.
You have heard me say before, we have physical bodies but our true form is spiritual – we are spirits trapped in a shell that is our body. When God created mankind He breathed into mankind’s nostrils His breath – His spirit – and mankind became a living soul (Gen. 2:7). I always point this out because I truly want people to understand that we are more than just this physical.
I also point this out because I want you to understand that there are two domains present in our world – a physical domain and a spiritual domain. Scripture makes this point clear to us as well. To the Corinthians, Paul said, “Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s (1 Cor. 6:19-20).”
We should understand that both the physical and spiritual domains are intertwined. Solomon wrote that from the heart (meaning the spirit) spring the issues of life (Prov. 4:23). When I say that the spiritual and physical domains are intertwined, I want you to understand that means they are united in a way that one can influence the other. Our spirit is the springboard to what we think (the mental), how we feel (the emotional), and the very actions that you and I take (the physical).
So, everything originates from our spirit and manifests out into the world! Now, on the flip side, what we go through physically and mentally can also influence our spirit. When this happens everything loops back around to spirit which again influences how we think, how we feel, and how we act. I hope you see this intertwining connection and come to recognize its significance.
When we can recognize that the source of many of our infirmities originate from our spirit, then we can take the best course of action to remedy our infirmities. We physically do not have the means to remedy any issues that originate in our spirit. Yet, we know who can provide a remedy for all of our infirmities. However, the big issue many of us face is that we show more concern for the physical reality than we do the spiritual reality. What this means is that many of us show more concern for our physical, mental, and emotional health rather than having a greater concern for our spiritual health. That said, I tell you that your spiritual health should be a major concern for you.
Living Stress Free
We live in a world that is always pressing down on and weighing us down. Many of us try to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders but we absolutely know that trying to carry the weight of the world can be both physically and mentally taxing. Guess what this then does to your spirit – it taxes and stresses your spirit. So, our taxed and stressed spirit needs medicine for the soul and only the Lord can provide the medicine our soul requires.
Two troubling spirits of infirmities
A spirit that is troubled, taxed, burdened, and overly stressed can lead to two types of spirits of infirmities that can affect us mentally and, again, when we are affected mentally our emotions and our actions are compromised. Those two spirits are a spirit of madness (insanity) and a spirit of fear which is a paralyzing spirit.
The devil’s greatest attack against us is an attack directed at our spirit for the purpose of stressing and troubling it. He knows that troubling our spirit can influence us mentally, emotionally, and physically. We are in a wrestling match against someone whose desire is to compromise our spirit – essentially like what a virus tries to do to our body. Remember that Paul said to the Ephesians, “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in heavenly places (Eph. 6:12).”
If many of our infirmities are born from spiritual entities, then what can we do to combat these principalities, powers, rulers of darkness, and spiritual hosts of wickedness? The answer, I believe, is again quite clear – we should turn to the Lord so that He can provide the remedy to combat our infirmities on a level that we are incapable of doing. Whatever is troubling our spirit and therefore affecting us physically, mentally, and emotionally, God will remedy for us.
No need to stress
When it comes to dealing with our infirmities, whether they are physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, my favorite passage of scripture to how the Lord views them and how he handles them can be found in Matthew’s gospel (Matt. 6:25-34). We will see that Jesus says, “do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on (Matt. 6:25).”
God’s thoughts towards our infirmities, again, is this — “do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.”
God is declaring to us not to let the things of this world stress us, especially not in our spirit! What He has said reminds me of when I was a little kid and would be afraid of something but then he would appear and suddenly, I wasn’t afraid anymore because he was there. There was safety and security with him simply being around. The Lord wants us to feel this same sort of comfort when it comes to the things that can stress us in our soul.
As we see In the very next verse, Jesus speaks of the birds of the air. He said, “they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them (Matt. 6:26).” You see, the birds of the air live without stressing over having to sow, reap, or gather up food. Surely, the birds have to eat in order to live, but they are living a stress free life. Imagine living your life where you’re living stress free in your soul because you know that the Lord is caring for you.
To further show how the Lord cares for us, Jesus then spoke of the lilies and the grass of the field in the same manner as He spoke of the birds. He said the Lord clothes the grass and the lilies of the field grow and does not toil or spin (Matt. 6:28-30). In other words, both the lilies and the grass of the field live with no stress and no anxiety – they live stress free – because God cares for them.
Taking away our infirmities
Jesus then asked us a very important question. He asks, “Are you not of more value than they (the birds, the grass, and the lilies)?”
I believe that the Lord cares for us in an even greater fashion than the birds of the air, and both the lilies and grass of the field. With that being the case, the Lord wants to take away the source of your infirmities. In order for us to deal with our infirmities, we must do as the woman who had her infirmity for 18 years and the man with the mental infirmity – they both went to Jesus.
Jesus said to us, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matt. 11:28).” The Lord desires for you to live your life without stress and without anxiety in your soul. He tells us directly to go to Him with all of our burdens, anxieties, and stress.
God will remove that weight of stress, anxiety, and burden off of our shoulders! Solomon wrote in proverbs that a merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bone (Prov. 17:22). The removal of our stress, anxiety, and burdens on a spiritual level will make our spirit happy. A happy spirit leads to a happy place mentally, which leads to a happy place emotionally, and therefore, our actions come from a place spiritually.
Recognizing When We Need His Help
In order for us to deal with our infirmities, we must come to recognize that the Lord is a healer of all of our infirmities, whether they are physical, emotional, or mental. When we can recognize this, we must turn to the Lord and make our supplication known to Him that we are in need of His healing hands. Unfortunately, many of us refuse to go see the doctor when we are in need of His healing touch.
Jesus declared that those who ask receive, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened (Luke 11:10).” Let me tell you something, there is absolutely nothing wrong with recognizing when we need help. There is absolutely nothing wrong with knowing when we need a break so that we can have time for the Lord to doctor on us and provide medicine for the soul.