I have gone to the doctor several times with various pains. The first thing that the doctor usually asks me is, “Did you take anything for it?” Honestly, my answer is often, “No, I didn’t.” The doctors then look at me quizzically as they order me some pain medicine. I’m not sure, but it seems like they stop listening to me at that point. After years of this occurring, I began to change my mentality. I began to take pain medicine for my aches and pains, but what I realize is that the pain medicine only masks the problem. Pain medicine just tells my brain not to hurt. This is why I have never been one to like taking medicine. I feel like I’m being tricked. The problem that has caused me the pain is still there.
I understand that some people need medicine for chronic illnesses, but I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about my daily aches and pains. Just yesterday, I developed a severe pain in my foot that almost prevented me from walking. My first reaction was to take pain medication. Then I stopped myself. Sounds crazy, I know, but I thought to myself that perhaps God has allowed this pain to happen to get my attention about something. That’s why He allows us to feel pain isn’t it? When we feel pain, we know that we need to pay attention to our body because something is wrong. Society tells us to trick our bodies so that we don’t feel the pain. I didn’t take any medication yesterday. I prayed and pondered the reason for the pain. I concluded that it is probably caused by something I’m eating, the fact that I’m overweight, or a combination of both of these things. Yes, I’m being honest with myself. I don’t want to trick myself. I need to change something.
Last night, the Lord showed me two scriptures that shook me. The first one was, “But she who lives in pleasure is dead while she lives” (1Tim 5:6). The directness of this scripture disturbed me. It is talking specifically about widows who have nothing to do, but I knew that it can relate to others. The second scripture drove the point home, “1 But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than overs of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2Tim 3:1-5 NKJV underline and bold mine). In the last days, people will be full of themselves and their own needs.
So how does this relate to me and my pain pills? Society teaches that we should feel good instead of being good. That was the doctor’s job. The doctor wanted me to feel good and to mask the warning system that God put in place. This is why I have not been happy taking medicine. The world teaches people to enjoy themselves and to feel good as long as possible. Advertisements tell us to enjoy ourselves because we deserve it. This is not what the Bible teaches. The Bible tells us to be, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer” (Romans 12:12 NKJV). The Bible also tells us that, “3 we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope” (Romans 5: 3 &4). Suffering helps us to persevere. If I’m in pain because I eat too much sugar, should I pop an Ibuprofen and keep eating as much as I want or should I try to do something about my sugar intake? Reducing sugar at this point could be preventing me from having a serious problem in the future. Reducing my sugar intake will ultimately help build character because I am allowing myself to suffer in that I am not eating what I want to eat. The Bible says that this will make me a better person. The alternative of masking my symptoms and continuing to indulge is not the reaction that God wants me to have. It will not produce the kind of character that the Bible is talking about. Christians are supposed to go against the grain of society. Sprite tells us to obey our thirsts. McDonald’s wants to make us smile. Burger King tells us that we can have it our own way. Yet these products are responsible for a lot of health problems.
In light of this revelation, I have a lot of changes to make. If I’m honest, I can confess that I sometimes let my flesh run my life. Yes, I eat more than I need to eat. I see the results of that in my life. I also eat the wrong things too often because they taste good. Sometimes, I let pleasure serve as my guide rather than the fruit of the spirit of which one is self-control.
I have to be honest with myself. I need some work in this area. I have let pleasure lead me at times when I should have let You lead me. I know that You designed our bodies to alert us when there are problems. I have learned to mask those problems so that I could function and sometimes just so I could continue doing what I was doing. I don’t want to live like that anymore. Show me how to live in godliness rather than in the pursuit of pleasure.