Preventive Living

The American Medical journals have declared a tipping point that should arrest our attention. Sadly, many of us are blinded by the statistics, which reveal the growing need for rehabilitation and post-surgery meds/therapy. Diets combined with inactivity coupled with mounting stress and anxiety has caused a spiral of illnesses that can hardly be calculated. While preventive measures have been promoted, the vast majority of Americans have ignored the matter. The “low level” of living is actually more pleasurable than adhering to the disciplines of healthy eating, exercise, sleep, and rest. We are mostly rushing on to the next thing with a French fry in our hand, stressing out over the instability of our marriages and children. The most disconcerting to me is that the spiritual life of the church is following suit.

Daily prayer has been replaced with morning shows on television. Evening communication with our spouses and children have been supplanted by our favorite news program, sitcom, or sporting event. The national survey reveals that the only scripture most “Christians read or hear is during their Sunday a.m. only church gathering. The end result is an unhealthy spiritual life that requires a surgery followed by years of rehabilitation and therapy. The father, who fails to lead his children, will spend the next 20 years digging his adult children out of trouble. The mother, who decides that she deserves to be “happy” which leads her to worldliness, will spend years raising her unwed daughter’s children. Therapy takes a long time. Recovery, while needful and available, can be avoided by “Preventive Living.”

The routine of daily prayer and Bible reading works to keep us off the operating table. Love and forgiveness helps to maintain a clear conscious. Living the separated life of Holiness is the guardrail that keeps us from vanity and carnality. Spiritual disciplines, which are not always flashy or profound, establish both emotional and physical health.

The fact is that preventive living, with all the trappings of prayer, obedience, submission, worship and giving, is far better than recovering from a disjointed life of disobedience and flagrant living. Yes, we are a healing church. Thank God, this is true. Yes, we are in the business of restoration and reconciliation. However, how much better is it if we stayed true to the Call and the Commission? If in doubt, ask Samson. He recovered at the end and gave Israel a great victory. Nevertheless, he was blind, having had his eyes gouged out. He was wounded and bound having been beaten and chained. So while he pulled down the pillars on the heads of the enemy, it came at the cost of his reckless life. It would have been better had he “stayed” in obedience. It leads me to this final thought: Isaiah 26:3 “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.”

Pastor Jeffrey Harpole

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