For the past couple of weeks we have noted two physical illnesses or impairments for which there is a spiritual equivalent, vision problems and hearing problems. Many more lessons could be produced from this same concept, but we are concluding this thought in this article with a brief description of three more physical illnesses for which there are spiritual equivalents.
First, we will consider the physical impairment of “neuropathy”. Neuropathy is numbness or having no feeling. Many diabetics suffer peripheral neuropathy as a result of their disease. When we turn to the spiritual realm, we find that there are many that suffer spiritual neuropathy. They simply don’t have any feelings for things spiritual. The apostle Paul, in his epistle to the Ephesians, spoke of some “Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness” (Eph. 4:19). To his young son in the gospel, Timothy, he wrote, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils: Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (I Tim. 4:1-2). In both of these cases, we find people who felt no shame or condemnation for the corrupt and wicked lifestyle they were living. Two times in the book of Jeremiah, the prophet said of Judah, “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? nay, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush: therefore shall they fall among them that fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the Lord” (Jer. 6:15; 8:12). Apparently, they had spiritual neuropathy.
Another physical illness for which there is a spiritual equivalent is the various forms of bone disease. For instance, osteoporosis is the deterioration of the bone. Many are seen who have this form of bone disease and often are unable to stand straight, but are humped over. Spiritually speaking, there are also many who do not have much strength in their back bone. You could say of many that they have no backbone at all. In other words they refuse to stand up against most any resistance when it comes to being obedient to the Lord. Many have what might be called “the grasshopper complex”. Of the twelve spies that Moses sent to spy out the land of Canaan, ten had this ailment. They came back saying, “And there we saw the giants, the sons of Anak, which come of the giants: and we were in our own sight as grasshoppers, and so we were in their sight” (Numbers 13:33). Only Joshua and Caleb had enough backbone to say, “The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good land. If the Lord delight in us, then he will bring us into this land, and give it us; a land which floweth with milk and honey” (Numbers 14: 7-8). The apostle Paul exhorted the Corinthian brethren saying, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord” (I Cor. 15:58). Many have not the backbone to stand firm against those that would ridicule and mock them for striving to serve the Lord.
The last illness we wish to make mention of is that of heart diseases. Physically speaking, often heart disease can be the cause of other illnesses or impairments. We need not spend time going over all the various physical heart diseases to know that these are often life threatening. The spiritual equivalent to our physical heart diseases is not only life threatening, but eternal life threatening. One might start with understanding what the Bible heart is. It is not the pump in the chest that pumps blood. The Hebrew writer said that the word of God “is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” (Heb. 4:12). Thus, the Bible heart is the mind, the brain and intellect of man. A lawyer once asked the Lord, “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus answered this question with the words, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” (Matt. 22:35-37). Notice that Jesus has placed love for God as being with “all thy heart”, not just a portion of it. Obedience to God must come before all else (Matt. 6:33). When the man named Simon who had previously practiced sorcery, but had then obeyed the gospel of Christ, offered money to the apostles for the ability to pass on miraculous abilities, Peter told him, “Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God” (Acts 8:21). The wise man Solomon said, Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23). All the evil deeds that one may do originate in the heart. Jesus said, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man. For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt. 15:18-19). When one’s spiritual heart is not right in the sight of God, that person is “in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity” (Acts 8:23). By all means take care of your heart, lest you miss eternal life.
(Editor’s note: Send any questions or comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org)