Having Healthy Bones:
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.” – Proverbs 3:5-8
“The light of the eyes rejoices the heart, and a good report makes the bones healthy.” – Proverbs 15:30
“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” – Proverbs 16:24
“A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.” –Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)
Bones represents your whole being. When the Bible speaks of health to the bones, it is stating that your whole being will be healthy. Your bones are the foundation to your physical being. Blood is created in the center of the bone and the Bible states that the life is in the blood, as we have seen. Thus, your very life force, your blood, finds its origin in your bones. To have healthy bones is to be healthy. Notice that in the above scriptures the health of our bones is dependent upon our attitudes – our trust in God. Healthy bones come when we first trust and fear the Lord. Having faith in God and His ways becomes the root to our health. Pleasant words and a good report also produce healthy bones. Yet, how often do we speak harsh and critical words – words of anger and bitterness? Do we allow our thoughts to be those of the good report or do we long to hear that word of scandal? Do we live a life of trusting God or are we worried and anxious about everything?
“Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things. – Philip. 4:4-8 (NKJV)
The Bible says that a merry heart is like medicine to us. It gives us strong healthy bones. Often, the sinful root of our disease comes from failing to take heed to these principles. We are bitter rather than forgiving – anxious and pessimistic rather than being filled with faith and hope. Such violations against a tranquil and peaceful mindset, a mind that trust and hopes in God, directly attacks the foundation of our health. Our bones become brittle.
Modern medicine identifies this degeneration of our health caused by the worry and bitterness as psychosomatic diseases. Many today misunderstand the complexity of psychosomatic disease. Our thoughts, indeed our faith, have a direct relationship to our health. Our health also has a direct impact upon our thoughts. Jack Leahy, in Controlling the Mind, says that according to medical specialists, perhaps as much as 80 percent of human problems involve psychosomatic disease, either totally or as a contributing factor. Having an optimistic mindset, having faith, goes a long way toward maintaining health.
Psychosomatic disorders:
There is an interaction between the mind and the body -- the psyche and the soma. This relationship works both ways: the mind can affect the health of the body and the body can affect the tranquility of the mind. Poor nutrition can create mental stress. As we have seen, the spiritual condition of a person is reflected in their state of mind and their state of mind can affect the health of the body. Abram Hoffer, M.D., Ph.D. and Morton Walker, D.P.M. in their work on Orthomolecular Nutrition discuss psychosomatic disease: “The original term psychosomatic referred to the interrelation between the psyche and the soma – between the mind and the body. It was coined in an attempt to bridge the gap in thinking between two types of scientist, the pure somaticist and the pure psychologist. Psychosomatic disease works both ways. Pathology in the body can cause mental symptoms and problems in the mind can cause physical symptoms.”
In practice, the term was soon taken over by the psychodynamic or psychological school. Psychologists believe that it is the psyche that predominates for a series of psychosomatic conditions such as peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis, hyperthyroidism, arthritis and other conditions. Gradually, psychosomatic has become a one-way term. The role of physiological factors in producing disease of the mind is being almost totally ignored in favor of a series of psychological ideas based primarily upon psychoanalytic theory in one form or another.
This one-way thinking has entered into Christian circles as well. The believer tends to think that his mental state might have an effect upon his body’s health but he does not believe that his diet can affect his mental balance. People come in for pastoral counseling to deal with an anger problem. All the while, the root of that problem is hypoglycemia or hyper-insulinemia. The condition of the body has its effect upon the mind.
The Bible gives an account of nutrition affecting behavior in the story of Esau and Jacob. “Now Jacob cooked a stew; and Esau came in from the field, and he was weary. And Esau said to Jacob, “Please feed me with that same red stew, for I am weary.” Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, “Sell me your birthright as of this day.” And Esau said, “Look, I am about to die; so what is this birthright to me?” Then Jacob said, “Swear to me as of this day.” So he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob.” – Genesis 25:29-33
Hoffer says of this story: “Esau probably suffered from severe hypoglycemia and knew that a protein-rich soup made from lentils (beans) would restore him to health. His feeling that he would die was motive enough to force him to sell his birthright. He wanted to live. This is an excellent account of the powerful drive in people, when they have hypoglycemia, to consume what will elevate their blood sugar levels.”
Esau was not thinking clearly because he had low blood sugar. This produced a negative impact upon his spiritual life. Our biochemical environment, our nutritional intake, is a foundation to psychosomatic disorders – the body affecting the mind. Most communities of faith have their fellowship times around food items that deplete the nutrition from its members. Caffeine, sugar snacks like donuts, and refined flour and pasta dinners can produce such hypoglycemic conditions as to affect the mental state of the faith community. The church fight was more the result of a high carbohydrate dinner with sugary foods preceding the meeting, which caused a spike and then a severe drop in blood sugar, than it was from the minor disagreements on policy.
Not only does nutrition affect our mental well-being and health, but our thoughts directly affect our body. Having a merry heart (pleasant, joy filled thoughts) does good like a medicine. Morter says: “Your body reacts to negative mental and emotional stress brought about by thoughts exactly the same way it reacts to “real” threats of physical harm. To the subconscious that governs physiology, stimuli from ideas are just as “real” as stimuli generated by being the target of a marauding street gang. Thoughts are things that can stimulate physiological responses – some appropriate for the occasion, some inappropriate. Physiologists have found that thoughts are so influential that all you have to do is anticipate exercise for the sympathetic nervous system to stimulate cardiac output.”
Thus, when we are filled with fear and anxiety due to not casting our cares upon the Lord (1 Pt. 5:7), we worry due to lack of prayer and our body responds by producing conditions that will ultimately lead to poor health. Living a life of faith, on the other hand, will reduce our stress, fears, anxiety, and worry. Trusting in the Lord indeed becomes the means to bring health to our bones because such trust will produce healthy thoughts and destroy the negative ones. The Bible says that this faith is produced by hearing the Word (Romans 10:17). The Bible itself then becomes a foundation to our health because it is where faith is built.
The intersection between the physical and spiritual:
To understand the Biblical Foundations of Health, we must be believers. We must be people of faith. Either you will approach reality with a naturalistic world view, seeing only the material universe, or you will be one who embraces the supernatural – faith in God.
Rene Descartes was a gifted mathematician and scholar born in the sixteenth century and died in the seventeenth. He depicted (mapped) the physical world as mechanical, solid, and entirely divorced from the mind, the only connection between the two being the intervention of God. Descartes laid the path which guides the therapeutic excursions of many of today’s physicians. This Cartesian concept of the duality of mind (conscious thought) and matter (the physical body) is under serious scrutiny. We tend to eliminate faith, indeed God’s intervention, from the medical mindset. Dr. Irving Oyle in the Healing Mind says that materialism is the foundation of today’s medical model: “Secular Cartesians cannot conceive of any connection between mental images, insubstantial thoughts (which arise in the human mind) and palpable solid things (which arise unconsciously). Atheistic scientific materialism is the foundation of today’s medical model. The model which binds patient and doctor has eliminated God and Spirit from Descartes’ reality map. In their place in the scheme of things we find the doctor and energy.”
Healing, to a scientific materialist, is nothing but mindless behavior of insensate atoms, the physical body acting under the influence of an unthinking and impersonal force (energy). The physician, like the Judeo-Christian priest, is a “significant other” out there. The doctor has the power (denied to the patient) to invoke that force, directing it to realign the body’s atoms. The body then assumes a form we call “healthy” or “healed”.
While priests, rabbis, and shamans consider themselves conduits, many doctors believe themselves to be, like God, the source of the healing phenomenon.
We will either believe that all the power for health and wellness resides with the medical practitioner or we will believe that there is a power beyond this material world that intervenes. The healing practitioner, no matter the modality, should see himself as one who brings the patient into contact with divine intervention. God has placed a wonderful intelligence within our bodies. The body responds to its needs to maintain our health. When it is given the correct resources the body functions optimally. Nutrition, exercise, positive thoughts, and faith in God and His Word are the recourses needed for a healthy foundation. To have a true Biblical foundation of health, you must not remove faith. Prayer for God’s involvement should be at the core of all healing modalities.
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? 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 will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.” –James 5:13-16
Our health from a Biblical perspective depends upon having faith in the principles revealed in the Bible. Living a life of faith in God’s Word involves lifestyle changes, behavioral changes, attitude changes, heart changes. As we choose to put the Bible at the foundation of our life we will find health and prosperity. He sent his Word and healed them.
“Fools, because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, were afflicted. Their soul abhorred all manner of food, and they drew near to the gates of death. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, And for His wonderful works to the children of men! Let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, And declare His works with rejoicing.” — Psalm 107:17-22 (NKJV)