“Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.” (3 John 2)
We know that adhering to God’s nutrition plan and maintaining an active lifestyle are the keys to physical—and, in many ways, spiritual—health. But what about when we do get sick, grow weary or feel depressed? Since Adam and Eve fell, sickness has been a pervasive obstacle that even the healthiest individuals are susceptible to. In this chapter, we’ll examine the reasons why healthy Christians can fall victim to sickness and learn how to overcome them. Be warned; you won’t hear this in your health class or read it in your fitness magazine.
WWJD—What Wouldn’t Jesus Do?
Before we address some of the reasons we come down with a cold, the flue or perhaps something more severe, let’s first look at a common misconception many Christians have accepted as truth when it comes to physical ailments.
One of the most prevalent notions in teaching on sickness and healing is that God gives Christians sickness and injuries to teach them a lesson or to strengthen their faith. This is simply untrue, and yet it has been disseminated by pastors, teachers and theologians as a biblical principle. In fact, the original plan—before Adam and Eve sinned—was that mankind would live forever, just as the angels in heaven do. When sin entered the world, the curse accompanied it as its villainous sidekick, bringing sickness, pain, hurt, and crime into what was once a perfect paradise. This is why there is an innate, God-given aversion to death; man was never intended to perish and still strives for long life.
I’ve heard people say after recovering from a sickness, “Well, I was pretty miserable, but I know God gave it to me to test my faith!” I’ve even heard preachers proclaim, “The minute you feel a fever come on you, ask yourself, ‘Have I sinned against God?’ He may be trying to get your attention!”
Hebrews 1:2 (NKJV) tell us that Jesus is the express image of God. The Amplified translation of the Bible says Christ is “the perfect imprint and very image of God’s nature.” Did Jesus, God incarnate, ever curse a man with leprosy or strike a woman with boils and sores? The answer is absolutely not! Acts 10:38 says Jesus went about “healing all who were oppressed by the devil for God was with him.” (NKJV)
Reading the four Gospels, we see Jesus healing everyone who came to Him believing. Jesus said He did only what He heard His Father say (John 8:28). To believe God is the giver of pestilence and the purveyor of plagues would paint Jesus as an unfaithful follower of God’s instructions. Jesus came to give life abundantly, not take it (John 10:10). He would no more make you sick than He would lead you to sin. The cross has redeemed us from sin and sickness both!
So why do I get sick sometimes? A very legitimate question. Just because we become saved and redeemed from sin when we accept Jesus as Lord doesn’t mean we will never sin again. In the same way, being redeemed from sickness doesn’t mean wwe’ll never have to buy a bottle of Tylenol or take Tums again.
Generally speaking, many of our problems are due to the fact that we live in a fallen world. For example, if you were living in Eden before the Fall and accidently cut yourself while slicing a freshly picked apple, it wouldn’t hurt, it wouldn’t bleed and the skin would likely mend itself together again before your eyes. Nowadays, if you cut yourself while slicing an apple in your apartment, you’ll bleed, maybe fight back tears and slap on a Band-Aid. Ever since mankind was evicted from Eden, bruises, fractures, sickness and disease have abounded. There’s no getting around the effects of the Fall—unless you get around in a bubble.
The good news is, Christ died for our sins and our diseases. Quoting the Book of Isaiah, Matthew writes, “He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases (Matt. 8:17). Faith in God’s healing atonement through the sacrifice of His Son is what overcomes sickness. The next time you feel your body getting sick, whether it’s a stomachache or laryngitis, quote scriptures of healing to the Lord in prayer and believe that you are well. First Peter 2:24 tells us that we were healed by Jesus’ stripes. He already paid the price for your healing. All you have to do is believe for its manifestation “on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matt. 6:10)
Fit Fact: Research shows crash dieting, anorexia or nutrient deficiencies increase a person’s susceptibility to infections. But, overconsumption of calories also can have harmful effects on cell production in the immune system.
Diana Anderson-Tyler is the author of Creation House’s Fit for Faith: A Christian Woman’s Guide to Total Fitness.Her popular website can be found at www.fit4faith.com. and she is the owner and a coach at CrossFit 925. Diana can be reached on Facebook and Twitter.