main index              back to "To the Christians"

DISEASE

CHAPTER 8

Disease is choosing to deal with a problem that you were unwilling to handle any other way.

Thought: Germs don't bring disease; people do!

Word: Ex. 15:26: "If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee."

Conclusion: We do disease. God does healing.

There are few things about which we know so much and so little at the same time as disease. Medical science has investigated disease deeply and understands much about body functions. Yet, most people think they just "get" diseases. This is evident in the trite expression, "I caught a cold." We say it as if it were an accident. Most of us believe that we get diseases by accident, or that we are victims of germs. We say about the flu, "It's just going around at this time," or about a virus, "Everybody's getting it, I guess I'll just have to live with it." The Bible speaks to the cause and cure of disease. Remember as you read: the laws of the universe are functioning in every aspect of life. The laws that affect the operation of our bodies are as much a part of universal law as the laws of physics.

"If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, and will do that which is right in his sight, and will give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that heals you." Ex. 15:26.

We have already emphasized that God is not arbitrary. He will do to one exactly as He will do to another, given the same situation. We also discussed that the universe, in total, is as if it were the body of God. This being true, then in following the laws that govern health and the bodily functions, which are also God's laws, we may affect the amount of disease that we encounter.

In an earlier chapter, we noted the unvarying role of cause and effect in our lives. Disease is another outworking of that most basic of principles. There is never an effect that doesn't have a cause. As important as this principle is, there is a concurrent principle in operation: that is the principle of purpose or function of the effects. Just as every effect has a cause, so every effect has a purpose or function.

Disease might well be compared with a speedometer on an automobile. The cause is the speed of the auto, the effect is the reading on the speedometer. The purpose or function of that effect is to let you, the driver, know how fast you are going. If you choose to go slower, the speedometer will tell you how fast you are going. If you wish to adhere to a speed limit to avoid getting a ticket, you need your speedometer to let you know the effect of your speed.

There are other effects that have purposes that we pay attention to also: a man doesn't stick his finger into obviously boiling water. He knows fully the consequences. Nor does he lay in bed on a cold night and shiver and say, "I guess this is the way it is, we just have to lay here and shiver once in a while;" he gets up and adds blankets to his bedding or turns on more heat in the room. Disease acts as an indicator, this barometer or thermometer tells us when the body is breaking rules or laws of bodily function. The purpose or function of the effect of being diseased is to tell us that we are violating some law of physiological operation.

There is a relationship between sin and disease. Sin, as you will remember, is breaking of law. If disease is the result of sin, then there must be a Biblical remedy, and there is.

"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 the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up, and if he have committed sins they shall be forgiven him." James 5:14,15.

If a known sin (breaking of universal law) has caused the disease, then a man may ask forgiveness and healing, and receive both. He then will cease from those practices that cause disease. If caused by an unknown sin, or one in the genes from past generations, those sins are also forgiven and condemnation is removed.

As in all other aspects of our environment, we create the circumstances that lead to most of our diseases. Accepting responsibility for this is often difficult. Once you have freed yourself from the bondage of accidental illness, you are free to not have disease. In other words, once you accept responsibility for your disease and illnesses, you are free to not have them because you can observe law and avoid the diseases that come from breaking the laws.

Many look upon disease as the "wrath of God." This needs to be understood. It is common to believe that the "wrath of God" is when God arbitrarily loses His temper and swings His sledge of judgment to bash us like a "potter's vessel." In fact, the "wrath of God" is created by men. Whenever we refuse to enter into light and ally ourselves against perfect law, we create the "wrath of God." Disease and injury may be God's chastisement or His wrath that we bring upon ourselves.

He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him. John 3:36.

The lack of belief in perfect law can bring the wrath of God on a person. To not believe, or shun knowledge, is a dangerous thing.

"For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: they would have none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices, for the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them." Pr. 1:29-32.

In a rather dramatic way, this shows how men bring the wrath of God upon themselves. Judas Iscariot is a good example: he betrayed Jesus and then went and hung himself. Jesus didn't hang him, didn't tell him to do so, didn't even rebuke him. He hanged himself. He received the wrath of God, through his own actions.

Disease, and all other types of suffering, are allowed by God, not to hurt or discourage or punish us; they are to bring us to a knowledge of divine law. If we accept and act on that knowledge, we live within law and do not experience the wrath of God; if we ignore the knowledge, we will inevitably create the results. Some people blame their disease and evil on Satan. Satan doesn't have any power that humans don't give him. His dominion is only where we allow it to be.

God's chastisement is like a father's correction of his son. The son can be hurt or helped by the correction. Peter is an example of one who came under the chastisement of God and came out stronger and more perfect. He denied Christ, and began participating in God's rebuke. Then, he repented and became a strong apostle for Christ. Contrast the effect of the chastisement of God on Judas and Peter; it killed Judas and saved Peter. For those who will accept knowledge and correction when it comes, disease and injury will be a thing of the past. Referring to those who reject God's correction, John the prophet said:

"And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?" Rev. 6: 15-17.

The glory or wrath of God can save you or it can destroy you. The choice is not God's, but belongs to each person by themselves. Each group creates their experience, either of death or life.

The suffering experiences we have can do one of two things to us: we can choose to continue in the suffering by not accepting responsibility, or we can choose to leave the suffering through knowledge. If a man hits his thumb with a hammer every time he nails a nail, he can do one of two things: (these things may be subconscious or conscious) he can say, "Well, I guess that is a part of hammering nails to smash my thumb, so I'll just accept the inevitable and go ahead injuring my thumb," or he can decide to end the cycle and say, "I am tired of hurting my thumb, let me discover the way to hammer nails without smashing my thumb." In the first instance, the man will continue smashing his thumb ad infinitum; in the second, he will stop and avoid the pain and suffering. There are rules for driving. We do not get in our automobiles every day and say, "Well, I guess people have accidents so I'll probably have one today." No, we learn to drive and avoid them. When there is an accident, we realize that laws were broken.

While most people are willing to admit that their lack of knowledge is responsible for hitting their thumbs while hammering, or for running their car off the road, they are equally unwilling to admit such a logical cause for sickness. We tend to take the opposite approach with our diseases as with the rest of life. One could say, "I am sick. What laws did I break to get sick and how can I harmonize with universal law to be well and not get sick again?" But most of us take this attitude: "I am sick, I guess I'll have to let the disease take its course, and when this time comes next year, I'll probably get it again." We seem to think that getting a disease is being the victim of a germ or micro-organism. Like everything else in the universe, disease operates on perfect law. If you violate a given law in a given way, you will always incur the resulting illness on yourself. It is possible to observe and learn the laws of health so as not to get diseases. A man who had a severe heart attack at age 55 commented, "It just happens, it's one of those things that we cannot help". The fact was, though, he had been smoking, working seven days a week and eating foods with high fats and cholesterol: all three of which aided his heart attack. The doctor placed him on a program that corrected all three. If he had been following such a program in the first place, it is very likely that he would not have had the heart attack at all. Willful ignorance is the cause of this man's illness.

There are other causes of disease which are not physical but mental. It is likely that most disease is created here. The Bible records a few instances where disease was caused by attitude. In Numbers 14 we can read the story of the Israelites who were on their way to Canaan. They sent spies into the land to "check it out." The spies brought back a report that frightened the Israelites into not going in, even though God had commanded it. They began to murmur and find fault with Moses and God for bringing them there. They wished they were back in Egypt. The result of this anger and dissension was a plague. Disease came on the camp. In Numbers 16 there is another story where Korah, Dathan and Abiram rebelled against God. They said that Moses was finding too much fault with Israel and that the people of Israel were really good people. They thought they should lead instead of Moses. The ground opened up and swallowed the rebels, but the people thought that was unfair. They murmured and found fault with Moses and claimed that they caused all the evil. The result of all this bitterness: 14,700 died of a plague.

The Bible puts it another way. Proverbs 17:22 reports: "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." So, if you have a merry heart, the universe will give you that and if you have a complaining heart, the universe will give you that. The choice is still ours.

When we choose to harmonize with universal law, the results are health and success. Because the universe is not arbitrary, but on purpose in supporting you, when you accept and observe law, the results are always positive. This passage from Psalm 91 illustrates the results of harmonizing with law:

"He that dwells in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God, in him will I trust. Surely he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will trust: his truth will be your shield and buckler. You shall not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flies by day; nor for the pestilence that walks in darkness; nor for the destruction that wastes at noonday. A thousand shall fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand: but it shall not come near you. Only with your eyes will you behold and see the reward of the wicked. Because you have made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, your habitation; there shall no evil befall you, neither shall any plague come near unto your dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. They shall bear you up in their hands lest you strike your foot against a stone. You shall tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon you will trample under feet. Because he has set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he has known my name. He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him my salvation."

These are the effects of observing universal law. In the areas of health, and all others, blessings occur to the one keeping law and harmonizing with the divine will.

As people learn to accept responsibility for their situations and actions, including their diseases and injuries, they will come to a knowledge of universal law and God's perfect will. When we choose to observe and comply with the divine mind, we will find a life that works. There will be joy, peace and a lack of suffering regarding these things.

Again we are presented with a choice: to go through life and have disease, sickness and injury happen to us, or to choose to follow God's perfect will and live without the kind of suffering that is the result of broken law.

Disease - Bible Study

1 . Disease is caused by not being in harmony with law.

Ex. I 5:26: "If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and will do that which is right in his sight, and will listen to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon you, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth you."

2. In Numbers 11, Israel lusted after flesh and brought plague.

3. In Numbers 14, Israel complained and found fault bringing a plague.

4. In Numbers 16, Israel murmured and complained bringing a plague.

5. Mental attitude can cause our destruction.

Proverbs 29:1: "He, that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy."

6. Our goal is to retain a merry heart, for it is a medicine.

Proverbs 17:22: "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones."

7. Jesus warned about sinning, for it brings infirmity.

John 5:14: "...Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, or else a worse thing will come to you."

Disease - E.G. White

"There is a divinely appointed connection between sin and disease. No physician can practice for a month without seeing this illustrated. He may ignore the fact; his mind may be so occupied with other matters that his attention will not be called to it; but if he will be observing and honest he cannot help acknowledging that sin and disease bear to each other the relationship of cause and effect." 5T 444.

"God destroys no man. Everyone who is destroyed will have destroyed himself. Everyone who stifles the admonitions of conscience is sowing the seeds of unbelief, and these will produce a sure harvest." COL 84.

"A noble character is earned by individual effort through the merits and grace of Christ. God gives the talents, the powers of the mind; we form the character. It is formed by hard, stern battles with self. Conflict after conflict must be waged against hereditary tendencies. We shall have to criticize ourselves closely, and allow not one unfavorable trait to remain uncorrected." COL 331.

"If the mind wanders, we must bring it back; by persevering effort, habit will finally make it easy." SL 93.

"Sickness does not come without a cause." AH 22.

"God is just as willing to restore the sick to health now as when the Holy Spirit spoke these words through the psalmist. And Christ is the same compassionate physician now that He was during His earthly ministry. In Him there is healing balm for every disease, restoring power for every infirmity. His disciples in this time are to pray for the sick as verily as the disciples of old prayed. And recoveries will follow: for 'the prayer of faith shall save the sick.' We have the Holy Spirit's power, the calm assurance of faith, that can claim God's promises. The Lord's promise, 'They shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover', is just as trust-worthy now as in the days of the apostles. It presents the privilege of God's children, and our faith should lay hold of all that it embraces.... The Saviour would have us encourage the sick, the hopeless, the afflicted to take hold upon His strength.... If we live according to His word, every precious promise He has given will be fulfilled to us. We are undeserving of His mercy, but as we give ourselves to Him, He receives us. He will work for and through those who follow Him." MH 225-227.

"The conditions of health are: confession of sin, changing the life-style, following laws of health, and live in harmony with the natural and spiritual laws of God." MH 227-228.

"When wrongs have been righted, we may present the needs of the sick to the Lord in calm faith, as His Spirit may indicate. He knows each individual by name, and cares for each as if there were not another upon the earth for whom He gave His beloved Son." MH 229.

"In prayer for the sick it should be remembered that 'we know not what we should pray for as we ought.' We do not know whether the blessing we desire will be best or not. Therefore our prayers should include this thought: 'Lord, thou knowest every secret of the soul. Thou art acquainted with these persons'. Jesus, their Advocate, gave His life for them. His love for them is greater than ours can possibly be. If, therefore, it is for Thy glory and the good of the afflicted ones, we ask, in the name of Jesus, that they may be restored to health. If it be not Thy will that they may be restored, we ask that Thy grace may comfort and Thy presence sustain them in their sufferings. ...God knows the end from the beginning. He is acquainted with the hearts of all men. He reads every secret of the soul. He knows whether those for whom prayer is offered would or would not be able to endure the trials that would come upon them should they live. He knows whether their lives would be a blessing or a curse to themselves and to the world. This is one reason why, while presenting our petitions with earnestness, we should say, 'Nevertheless not my will, but Thine, be done.'...If they were appropriate for Him, the Son of God, how much more are they becoming on the lips of finite, erring mortals!" MH 229-230.

"The consistent course is to commit our desires to our all-wise heavenly Father, and then, in perfect confidence, trust all to Him. We know that God hears us if we ask according to His will. But to press our petitions without a submissive spirit is not right; our prayers must take the form, not of command, but of intercession. ...There are cases where God works decidedly by His divine power in the restoration of health. But not all the sick are healed. Many are laid away to sleep in Jesus. John on the Isle of Patmos was bidden to write: 'Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.' From this we see that if persons are not raised to health, they should not on this account be judged as wanting in faith." MH 230-231.

"Often invalids can resist disease simply by refusing to yield to ailments and settle down in a state of inactivity." MH 246.

"In the treatment of the sick the effect of mental influence should not be overlooked. Rightly used, this influence affords one of the most effective agencies for combating disease." MH 241.

"Disease never comes without a cause. The way is prepared, and disease invited, by disregard of the laws of health. Many suffer in consequence of the transgression of their parents. While they are not responsible for what their parents have done, it is nevertheless their duty to ascertain what are and what are not violations of the laws of health. They should avoid the wrong habits of their parents and, by correct living, place themselves in better conditions." MH 234.

"Grief, anxiety, discontent, remorse, guilt, distrust, all tend to break down the life forces and invite decay and death....Courage, hope, faith, sympathy, love, promote health and prolong life." MH 241.

"If the harmonious working of the system has become unbalanced by overwork, overeating, or other irregularities, do not...adjust the difficulties by adding a burden of poisonous medicines." MH 235.

"The power of the will is not valued as it should be. Let the will be kept awake and rightly directed, and it will impart energy to the whole being and will be a wonderful aid in the maintenance of health. It is a power also in dealing with disease." MH 246.

"The mind needs to be controlled, for it has a most powerful influence upon the health. The imagination often misleads, and when indulged, brings severe forms of disease upon the afflicted. Many die of diseases which are mostly imaginary. I am acquainted with several who have brought upon themselves actual disease by the influence of the imagination." 2T 523

"The burden of sin, with its unrest and unsatisfied desires, is the foundation of their maladies." DA 270.

"Indolence is a great evil. Men, women and youth, by dwelling upon themselves, think they are in a much worse condition than they really are. They nurse their ailments, and think of them and talk of them, until their usefulness seems to be at an end. Many have passed into the grave when they might have lived, and ought to have lived. Their imagination was diseased. Had they resisted the disposition to yield to infirmities and be overcome by them; had they summoned to their aid the powers of the will, they might have lived to bless the world with their influence." RH July 1868.

"...I have met many who were really sufferers through their imaginations. They lacked willpower to rise above and combat disease of body and mind; and therefore they were held in suffering bondage....I frequently turn from the bedside of these self-made invalids, saying to myself, Dying by inches, dying of indolence, a disease which no one but themselves can cure." MM 106,107.

Self-Knowledge Resumé

  1. Do I ever get sick?
  2. Do I ever feel depressed or guilty?
  3. When I work, do I work in a stressed or forced way?
  4. Do I ever think or feel that life is not fair to me?
  5. Do I ever feel that I have too much to do?
  6. Do I ever feel that I am not liked?
  7. Do I ever feel discouraged?
  8. Do I ever feel I don't like people around me?
  9. Do I ever feel like getting away?
  10. Do I ever eat foods I know are not best for me?
  11. Do I ever eat between meals?
  12. Do I have habits that are not clean?
  13. Do I ever feel critical of someone else for not coming up to my standards of behavior?
  14. Do I ever feel I must be in competition with someone else?

« Last | Next »