Spiritual sickness will do the same and the effects can be felt physically, emotionally and spiritually–it can lead to spiritual death.
Internally, when we have unaddressed spiritual sickness we can feel like this famous Edvard Munch painting, The Scream, 1893. A little twisted, a little warped, unsettled, discontent, anxious, fretting, and often we don’t even know why; although we would rather not like to admit this to anyone; not even ourselves.
Symptoms of spiritual sickness:
- self-denial, self-deception of any existing problem, including tolerating sin in our heart
- suspicious and accusing
- arrogant and proud
- pushing to be first
- looking to control/dominate others
- manipulate others
- lacking love toward others; cold heart
- holding others in contempt or despising
- negative critical thoughts of others
- easily offended
- easily aroused to anger
- gossip, spreading slander
- ambiguous words to hide truth
- resistant, lacking submission to, or adversarial to authority; ie…
- doubting God
- questioning His love toward us
- harboring violence and hate in our heart
Some of these symptoms are mild and easily dealt with. Others are aggressive and contagious. They not only effect us, but all the people we come in contact with as well.
Many of these symptoms result from wrong habits in our thinking–an unrenewed mind; of which we are all susceptible.
Many are due to a love deficient heart, where Jesus is not at the center of who we are, our ego is firmly front and center. We are all susceptible to this. If we think we are not, our heart has already deceived us, we are already spiritually sick.
God’s answer to spiritual sickness:
1. There is no condemnation, Romans 8:1. No guilt, no shame.
2. We are loved and forgiven, unconditionally. Our sin is removed from us as far as the East is from the West, Psalm 103:12. We are always forgiven but…
3. We shouldn’t go on sinning just because we know we are forgiven. Allow God to probe and examine our hearts, Psalm 17:3.
4. Allow His word to discern the attitudes and motives, the thoughts and intent of our hearts, Hebrews 4:12. If allowed, it will cut like a knife through everything contrary to the life of God in us. If allowed!
5. Becoming aware of wrong thoughts and attitudes, we can capture them and with practice put an end to them, 2Corinthians 10:56. I say with practice because it takes work to change wrong habits of mind but the Holy Spirit enables as we…
6. Allow the Holy Spirit to work in us the fruit of the spirit, Galatians 5:22-23.
8. Understand God loves us. His love toward us is massive, beyond measure. When we become aware of that love, it is easy for us to love both God and people, 1John 4:17 and Ephesians 3:17-19.
9. Know that there is no law against love because love fulfills God’s law, Romans 13:8. If we have love at work in us, we love others. We cannot have bitter rivalries, jealousies, or hatred toward others because love brings purity of motive and attitude.
10. Understand perfect love drives out all fear, 1John 4:18. Fear is very often the driver behind many spiritual sicknesses. But God loves us perfectly so we can be confident in Him–fully secure in His love for us.
11. Have all our hope and expectation in God, never people, Psalm 39:7. Have no expectation on people. Love, give and serve people with out expecting anything in return–from people. Yet know God is our reward. He sees everything. And He will satisfy and fulfill us.
12. Be content and at peace, Philippians 4:12. If we realize everything we have is from God, we become thankful for everything. We stop looking at what others have, realizing God our father is in control. He knows our needs and desires and He wants to give them to us, Psalm 145:16.