If we have unaddressed physical pain or sickness in our body, it can age us very quickly and even kill us. Spiritual sickness can do the same, and its effects can be felt physically, emotionally, and spiritually–it can lead to spiritual death.
Painter Edvard Munch depicts the twisted and warped inner world of a person dealing with pride, anxiety, fear, discontentment, bitterness, etc… in his famous painting, The Scream, 1893. It is a sad but very true reality of a life that is spiritually sick.
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
- proving self-worth
- looking to control/dominate others
- manipulate others
- lacking love toward others; cold heart
- holding others in contempt or despising
- resentful and bitter
- negative critical thoughts
- worry, anxiety, fretting
- easily offended
- easily aroused to anger
- gossip, spreading slander, ruling reputations
- ambiguous words to hide truth, creating false perceptions
- resistant, lacking submission, or adversarial toward God; ie…
- doubting God
- questioning His love
- harboring hatred and violence in our heart (Jesus called this murder, Matt 5:21-22, 1John 3:15)
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. Many of these symptoms result from wrong habits in our thinking and believed lies, of which we are all susceptible. Many are due to a love deficient heart where Jesus is not at the center and we’ve not experienced the Father’s love –our ego is firmly front and center in our lives. We are all susceptible to this. If we think we are not, our heart has already deceived us, we are already spiritually sick.
It’s worth noting that by allowing this to continue in our heart, we leave the door wide open for demonic harassment and/or oppression in our lives. Why not close this door?
God’s answer to spiritual sickness:
1. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, Romans 8:1. No guilt, no shame. He has removed it all. Guilt and shame thoughts (including confusion) come from the pit of hell. Do not believe these lies.
2. We are loved and forgiven, unconditionally. Our sin is removed 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! We have to let the Word do it’s work in us.
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 this 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 often the driver behind much spiritual sicknesses. But God loves us perfectly so we can be confident in Him–fully secure in His love for us. His love removes all fear, it casts it out of our lives. We are safe in God.
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. Catch the discontent and lack of peace, this is a sure sign we need to come before the Father to repent or renounce things, and receive His secure embrace and love, once again.