Health and Religion

The close relationship of buoyant health and a vibrant Christian experience is frequently overlooked. Yet this relationship is clearly taught in the Scriptures, and with a little observation one can see that physical well-being and religion are inseparable.

For instance, when mankind came forth from the hand of the Creator, they were perfect beings - perfect physically, mentally, and spiritually. All of their physical, spiritual, and mental powers were in harmony with the laws of Yahweh. But with the entrance of sin this harmony was disrupted, and the physical body suffered the penalty and death. Their mental faculties were no longer in perfect accord with their Maker; their imaginations became evil. Likewise, the natural desire to serve their Creator was gone; their spiritual nature was changed.

When Yahshua came, He made plain that He was going to restore man entirely. He would bring release from physical suffering, would set at liberty those minds held captive by Satan, and forgive sins.

"And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and, as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read. And there was delivered unto Him the book of the prophet, Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written, the Spirit of Yahweh [is] upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of Yahweh. And He closed the book, and He gave [it) again to the minister and sat down. And the eyes of them that were in the synagogue were fastened on Him." (Luke 4:16-20)

We see that Yahshua intended to save the complete person. The Scripture is clear on this point. He came to seek and to save that which was lost (Luke 19:10).

Since the fall of man was complete in nature, the man must be saved physically as well as spiritually. That this is the work that Yahshua carried on is evidenced by the record which states, He went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38). He commanded His followers to do as He had done. They were to follow in His footsteps.

By looking closely we can see that Peter, James, John, and Paul all included a program of health in their ministry. Peter says: "And besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance (self-control); and to temperance, patience; and to patience godliness." (II Peter 1:5-6) Peter well knew that an intemperate person could not be patient. And this axiom penned by Peter is just as true today as it was the day it was written. An intemperate person is apt to be peevish, hasty, and impatient; they cannot control their emotions.

James made the health of the church a part of his work. We read, "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 Yahweh." (James 5:14)

The apostle Paul places the care of the human body on a high plane. To us he says, "What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [who is) in you, whom ye have of Yahweh, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price; therefore, glonf' Yahweh in your body, and in your spirit, which are Yahweh's." (I Corinthians 6:19-20)

John the beloved disciple, in these very beautiful words brings to us a message of health: "Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth." (III John 2)

There is a divine reason for this emphasis on taking care of the physical health. The connection between the mind and the body is so intimate that whatever affects the one also in turn affects the other. If you doubt that your mind and body are closely connected, just hit your thumb with a hammer, and see what evil speaking comes forth if you are not a Christian.

That the mind can interfere with the proper functioning of the blood vessels, as well as with other organs, is now a well-established fact. Digestion, breathing, heart rate, and intestinal function can all be upset by an upset mind.

There can be no doubt that by upsetting the physical nature Satan gains the victory over many an unsuspecting Christian. In fact, it is through the avenue of something pleasing to the eye and taste - appetite - that Satan overcomes many today. Look about you at the millions of people controlled by false appetites. They are under the influence of alcohol, drugs, sedatives, or the like, much of the time. Look at the Bible record of Noah's day. It says that the people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,...and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away (Matthew 24:30-38). They were eating and drinking to such excess that their minds and thoughts were muddled. They...knew not. They could not believe Noah's story that there would be a flood.

Once more we turn to the Bible. It says that this world will be destroyed again, this time by fire. (11 Peter 3:7) Many are going to be in the same position as those people before the Flood. They are not going to be able to think straight. They do not know what it is all about. They will have confused minds, because they have broken the laws of health. This will continue till the very day of destruction. How do we know that such is the case? Yahshua Himself plainly states, "As it is in the days of Noah, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man." (Luke 17:26) And Matthew 24:37 reads, "But as the days of Noah {were}, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be." It is because of this relationship of the mind to spiritual salvation that Satan tries in every way he can to hide the truth of healthful living. He does not wish people to know that this has a bearing on godly living. If he can control conditions affecting the brain, he has an easier time controlling the thoughts. One writer has put it this way:

"The body is the only medium through which the mind and the soul are developed for the upbuilding of character. Hence it is that the adversary of souls directs his temptations to the enfeebling and degrading of the physical powers. His success here means the surrender to evil of the whole being. The tendencies of our physical nature, unless under the dominion of a higher power will surely work ruin and death."

Here is an illustration of how closely associated physiology and religion really are. Nerves and nerve cells comprise the tissue by which electrical messages are carried to all parts of the body. They are extremely sensitive to the lack of oxygen. The brain nerves are among the first to be affected by the lack of oxygen. This strikes exactly at the source of our thinking. And if oxygen is not restored, the individual becomes unconscious. Long before one becomes stuporous, however, the mental processes have ceased functioning. The first sign of lack of oxygen is impaired judgment. In other words, the higher centers of the brain are dulled. The person just cannot think straight; they become confused. Perhaps all the devil has to do to get some folk to think incorrectly is to keep them cooped up inside a house - or a factory. They never really get out and get some fresh air. A portion of the electric energy used by the brain is obtained from pure fresh air. In other words -stale air, stale thoughts.

One of the most interesting findings of science is how the diet can affect the mind and the disposition. You have all read about vitamins, and particularly vitamin B 1 (thiamine chloride). It became known as the morale vitamin, and rightly so, because it is vital to well-functioning nerves. In "What's New" the Mayo Clinic gives us this account of the findings of Doctors Williams and Mason:

"Williams and Mason chose eleven normal white women for their study. These subjects were in good health, normally nourished, and free from any manifest physical or emotional disorders. They were placed on a diet which in many respects resembled that consumed by thousands of American families, consisting of white bread, corn flakes, potatoes, polished rice, sucrose, skimmed milk, beef, cheese, egg white, butter, vegetable fat, cocoa, gelatin, canned fruits, canned vegetables, and coffee. The thiamine content of the diet was 0.4 to 0.45 milligrams per day."

The vitamin-B content of this diet was the only vitamin that was below the amount the body needs; as other vitamins, as well as extra iron, calcium, and phosphorous, were added. Notice what happened as we continue the story:

  • "After several weeks, changes in behavior were observed. The previously normal women became depressed, irritable, quarrelsome, and fearful. In general, it was observed, the most active members of the group were the first to show these symptoms. Because of the generalized weakness, all of the subjects became inefficient at their work, and seemed to be inattentive to details, confused in their thoughts, uncertain of memory, and poor in manual dexterity. In six of the women, these changes progressed to such a degree that they were unable to perform the tasks to which they had long been accustomed. Added to the sad mental state of the group were a variety of symptoms, such as headache, backache, soreness of muscles, gastric distress after meals, sleeplessness, tenseness, parasthenia, intolerance to noise, and increased sensitivity to painful stimuli. In short, a group of women specially selected for their cooperative qualities and their previously normal behavior were transformed in a few weeks into inadequate, suffering creatures with all the features usually associated with the "neurotic" personality - all this was brought about, not by complete deprivation of thiamine, but merely by its reduction to a very low level!"
  • This is extremely interesting. Imagine what a lot of peevish, disgruntled, mean people the devil must have just by causing them to eat incorrectly. Many people eat with no thought as to whether the food is good for them. If it tastes good, that is all that is necessary. This experiment shows that such procedure is not good. Our diet has a great deal to do with our thoughts. If we are depressed, irritable, and quarrelsome, we had better take a look at our breakfast, dinner and supper table.

    This brings us to the fact that most of us are not well enough informed on the facts that would place us above many aches and pains, that would help us to reach a higher standard of living and of thinking, and thus place us above petty grievances and selfish annoyances. We need to learn to live above some of the devil's traps. Could this not be what the apostle Paul is referring to in Romans 12:1, when he urges us to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto Yahweh? It must follow, that the body can be mistreated, and becomes an unholy sacrifice. Such a sacrifice is not acceptable. He wants all of us - physical, mental, and spiritual. The whole being must be consecrated. Yahweh declares such a sacrifice is your reasonable service. Romans 12:1)

    But you say, How can I be a radiant, good, neighborly Christian with all the worries and problems confronting me? I have ruined my health and almost broken up our family because of fears, worries, and resentments.

    Fear is the most dreaded of human ills. It is a sickness, a sickness of mind and spirit that can ruin the most perfect health. No medicine, vaccine, pill, or surgery can cure mental fears or remove resentments. These symptoms are evidence of a malnourished and starving soul. This needs the attention of the Head Physician, a heavenly doctor.

    Do you know how to pray? Prayer is the answer to your problem. Yahweh has never turned a deaf ear to any that are sick at heart. Believe His promise, Perfect love casteth out fear. There is no other medicine that will prove effective. For a lack of this life-giving elixir not only you but the world is languishing. Will you not earnestly resolve to carry out Yahweh's plan for you, physically, mentally, and spiritually, remembering that Heaven intends to save you wholly - physically, mentally, and spiritually? "And the very Everliving One of peace sanctify you wholly; and (I pray Yahweh) your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Saviour Yahshua" (I Thessalonians 5:23).


    Courtesy: The Kingdom Digest
    Kingdom Bible Institution
    P.O. Box 171345
    Irving, Texas 75017~