Pastor Barry Bruce/ The Gathering Morphed Series/ Lesson 3
Taking a pill According to a study by the Mayo Clinic, seven in ten Americans regularly take prescription drugs. Half of Americans were found to be taking two, and 20 percent a total of five or more. At the top of the list of most commonly prescribed drugs are antibiotics, followed by antidepressants, with painkillers ranking in third. Where antidepressants are concerned, the CDC found that 11 percent of Americans over age 12 are medicated. The number is even higher for middle aged women – and in fact, higher than that of any country in the world – at 22.8 percent for females ranging in age from 40-59. Add children into the mix, and the numbers are even more alarming. The Wall Street Journal reports that more than 25 percent of U.S. kids and teens take medication on a chronic basis, according to Medco Health Solutions Incorporation’s database. According to other studies, 200,000 Americans die per year from prescription drug use.
What’s the deal? These days there seems to be a pill for everything – be it a physical or emotional need. Physician and researcher J. Douglas Bremner MD, author of Before You Take That Pill: Why the Drug Industry May be Bad for Your Health, tells us that “the US spends two times more on drugs, and takes twice as many drugs, as other countries, and has worse health.” This amounts to a major prescription drug problem, in his opinion, and implies that not only are we paying too much for too many drugs, but that on a whole they are not working.
The bigger picture of the problem is that Americans have grown accustomed to easy fixes, and place too much trust in a system that does not always have the right answers. Instead of seeking alternative methods, such as exercise, diet, therapy, and spirituality, many assume that the doctors prescription of a pill a day is probably better than an “Apple a Day”. It’s worth keeping in mind that if an apple a day keeps the doctor away, a pill a day will likely keep him around. With these “quick fixes” can come long term dependence – even addiction and risky side effects. The sheer amount of money and corporate lobbying spent on Big Pharma, suggests that medication feeds wallets just as much as it does human bodies, which is likely a conflict of interest.
Using the Gate John 10:7-10, Matthew 11:28-30
I’m not a doctor or a psychiatrist so I will not be giving out any medical or mental diagnoses or treatments today, but as a pastor I will suggest that you apply the Biblical approach to all that ails you before popping a pill. I call this “using the gate”. Jesus said that He is the gate for His Sheep (those that follow Him). Those that come to life through Him are saved. We are instructed to listen to no one else but Him. Others do not care for us as He does. He has come that we may have life, and have it to the full. In Him we have protection among the fold (the church) and we may go in and out safely as we come and go at His leading. He is the gate.
It was Jesus who also said that “apart from Him we can do nothing” John 15:5 ( this is also true in the healing department). Jesus bids us to come to Him for healing. Matthew 11:28-30 (just as we are to come to Him for all things pertaining to life).
Emotional Healing Isaiah 61:1 & Luke 4:18, 1 Peter 2:24-25, Psalm 73:21-28
Emotional healing is something that every person needs, to one degree or another, for we have all been wounded emotionally. Whether the cause is natural or because of another’s sin, most people fight some type of emotional battle. Some of the most common symptoms of emotional harm are sleeplessness, detachment, depression, anger, isolation, bitterness, frustration, and fear. Some of the most common causes are abandonment, abuse, broken trust, chronic pain or illness, rejection, a lack of community, and a sense of meaninglessness.
Jesus said that we must be spiritually born again to have eternal life and that life is only found in Him. John 3:5-7, John 14:6 He told us that as believers in Him that we would be given a new mind in Christ. Romans 8:5-6,1 Corinthians 2:16 It was prophesied that Jesus would also bring emotional healing and freedom. Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4:18
Today’s society is a breeding ground for emotional destroyers. We are increasingly drawn away from community and toward individualism, away from trustworthy behavior and toward selfishness, away from morals that give our lives purpose and toward existentialism (philosophy of self-centeredness) and post-modernism (rejection of absolute truth). These teachings and life-styles detach us from one another and from our God, away from healthy choices and healthy practices and toward instant gratification that degrades our emotional and physical health. We lost sheep need a shepherd for our souls, a gatekeeper who knows us by name, an emotional healer and mighty counselor (Isaiah 9:6) that will bring peace.
In Psalm 73 Asaph writes about his emotional healing. That healing only came to him when he drew near to God and allowed His direction to lead him. In the same way, emotional healing will come to us as we draw near to God and His people and trust Christ to direct our lives.
More than Emotion Philippians 3:14-15, Romans 8:15-16, 26, 28, 31-39
God shows us in His word that we are not people who should allow our past to determine our present or our future. We are to press forward towards the goal. Philippians 3:14-15 God shows us that we are no longer slaves to fear we are children of God. Romans 8:15-16 God also shows us that the Spirit will help us in our weaknesses. Romans 8:26 and that He will work all things together for good as we love Him. Romans 8:28 And if God is for us then no one can stand against us. We are more than our emotions…we are conquerors of all that comes against us for we are loved by Christ. And nothing shall ever separate us from Him. Romans 8:31-39
Life can take an emotional toll upon us but God makes all things new! 2 Corinthians 5:17 This includes our emotional well being. God is the Great Physician, and all healing, physical, emotional, and spiritual, belongs to Him, but as with any doctor or therapist we must listen and act upon instruction. Seek God first, use the gate! If medicine should be part of God’s plan for your healing then allow Him to direct your steps through His word. Follow Him to healing.