Recently someone asked me about a book which promotes that the ability of our body to absorb different foods and handle stress is dependent on our blood type. For instance, the book says things like if your blood type is “B” you cannot be a vegetarian because you have to have beef. People actually buy into that stuff!
The Lord’s messenger, Ellen White, wrote: “While we do not make the use of flesh-meat a test, while we do not want to force anyone to give up its use, . . . if in the face of the light God has given concerning the effect of meat eating on the system, you will still continue to eat meat, you must bear the consequences. . . . The Lord is calling for reform.” Medical Ministry, 279.
She also counseled that “The system must be nourished. Yet we do not hesitate to say that flesh-meat is not necessary for health or strength. If used it is because a depraved appetite craves it. Its use excites the animal propensities to increased activity, and strengthens the animal passions. When the animal propensities are increased, the intellectual and moral powers are decreased. The use of the flesh of animals tends to cause a grossness of body and benumbs the fine sensibilities of the mind. . . . The intellectual, the moral, and the physical powers are depreciated by the habitual use of flesh-meats. Meat-eating deranges the system, beclouds the intellect, and blunts the moral sensibilities. We say to you, dear brother and sister, your safest course is to let meat alone.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 63, 64.
Then people read another book, Fit for Life (Harvey and Marilyn Diamond, Mass Market Paperback, February 1987), that says you do not need to eat breakfast, you can just drink fruit juice. But the Spirit of Prophecy says that we need to eat breakfast: “It is the custom and order of society to take a slight breakfast. But this is not the best way to treat the stomach. At breakfast time the stomach is in a better condition to take care of more food than at the second or third meal of the day. The habit of eating a sparing breakfast and a large dinner is wrong. Make your breakfast correspond more nearly to the heartiest meal of the day.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 173.
People believe the secular writers, so they add barley green (which is good) in the juice in the morning, eat a salad for lunch, and ingest a heavy meal in the evening, because that is what some nutritionists and doctors say to do.
Use the Manual
Many people on a juice diet have told me they will be on it for life. They may be diabetic, have cancer, or suffer from another malady. I could give case after case, testimony after testimony, contradicting such a diet, but what does the Word say? We must have a barometer to interpret everything we read. I have hundreds of books, but I know what is right because of the Bible—to the law and to the testimony. If you have never read the law and the testimony, you will buy into everything.
I challenge every medical missionary to go back to the Manual [the Bible]. I deal with Adventists who are off into all kinds of modalities such as acupuncture, reflexology, crystals, and iridology. They claim these things work. The devil believes also; he works and performs miracles too. “Satan is working with everyone who is not under the control of the Spirit of God. It is the lying wonders of the devil that will take the world captive . . . . He is to work miracles; and this wonderful, miracle-working power is to sweep in the whole world. It is now just beginning.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 51.
How are you going to know what is what unless you know the Word of God? Show me iridology in the Bible . . . it is not there. Be straight, be plain. Anything that is mysterious is not of God. God’s Plan is simple. He takes the simple things to confound the wisdom of the world. One rock felled Goliath; eleven unlearned men turned the world upside down.
Faith is Vital
Jesus says, “And He entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city. And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” “But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (then saith he to the sick of the palsy,) Arise, take up thy bed, and go unto thine house.” Matthew 9:1, 2, 6. Jesus first said, “Son, be of good cheer, your sins are forgiven.” Then He said, “Arise, take up thy bed, and go into thine house.” As Jesus healed, He included the three aspects of mental, spiritual, and physical.
Notice in verse 2 it says, “Seeing their faith.” Whose faith?—when Jesus saw the faith of those who had brought him! Ellen White tells us that we should speak of such faith to those in our care: “You can speak often to the sick of the Great Physician who can heal the diseases of the body as verily as He heals the sickness of the soul. Pray with the sick, and try to lead them to see in Christ their Healer. Tell them that if they will look to Him in faith, He will say to them, ‘Thy sins be forgiven thee.’ It means very much to the sick to learn this lesson.” Medical Ministry, 196, 197. [Emphasis supplied.]
The story is repeated in Mark 2 with more details: Jesus was in a place where there was no room for a sick man to get to Him. This man had four friends who knew that Jesus was the Chief Physician, but they could not get their friend near Jesus. What did they do? They climbed up on the roof and tore open a hole! They actually removed the roof to let their sick friend down into the room where Jesus was. The roof was separating the Saviour from them. Are there any roofs in your life that are separating you from the Saviour? If so, you need to tear them out!
When Jesus saw the young man with palsy, and He saw their faith, He said, “Son, thy sins are forgiven thee.” (Verse 5.) What do those words mean to you and me? Does it mean that we can bear someone up in the arms of our faith to give Christ access to their hearts? Yes, it does. We can bear our children up; we can bear our spouses up; we can bear the church up; and we can bear souls up in our faith! That is why we must be sure that our faith is not spotted with the world. We want to be sure that when we pray to our heavenly Father that our prayers do not go up to the ceiling and drop back down. That is why we do not want to regard any iniquity in our hearts. “If we regard iniquity in our hearts the Lord will not hear us. He can do what He will with His own. He will glorify Himself by working in and through them who wholly follow Him so that it shall be known that it is the Lord, and that their works are wrought in God.” Counsels on Health, 378. “If we regard iniquity in our hearts, if we cling to any known sin, the Lord will not hear us; but the prayer of the penitent, contrite soul is always accepted. When all known wrongs are righted, we may believe that God will answer our petitions.” Steps to Christ, 95.
That is why I want to walk the talk. I deal with too many suffering people, and I want God to hear my prayer in behalf of those souls. I want God to access their lives through my faith.
If you have faith, God can touch someone’s life. That is what these Scripture passages are telling us. They also show us that mental healing precedes physical healing.
Be of Good Cheer
As soon as we are diagnosed with a dreaded disease, such as cancer, the mind begins to go through depression. It shuts down. But Christ repeatedly exhorts us to be of good cheer: “Be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.” Matthew 9:2. “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” Matthew 14:27; Mark 6:50. “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33. The opposite of good cheer is fear. Fear occurs when false evidence appears real. Some of us handle problems by faith, with good cheer. Others handle problems with fear. God says that perfect love casts out that fear. When we can rise above the fear, we can live. “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:18.
The Bible goes on to tell us that in Him we can have peace. John 16:33 says, “In the world ye shall have tribulation.” We must come to the conclusion, as a Christian, that we are going to have trouble. Once we resolve that we are going to have trouble, we do not have to focus on it anymore. Man is born into trouble. Do not worry; do not dwell on it; do not look for it; know it is there—it is going to come. We might have financial trouble, children problems, sickness problems, but do not worry about them, because God says, “Be of good cheer, I have overcome.” Ibid.
Ellen White wrote that “there are many who desire to love and serve God, and yet when affliction comes upon them, they do not discern the love of God in it, but the hand of the enemy. They mourn and murmur and complain; but this is not the fruit of love to God in the soul. If we have perfect love, we shall know that God is not seeking to injure us, but that in the midst of trials, and griefs, and pains, He is seeking to make us perfect, and to test the quality of our faith. When we cease to worry about the future, and begin to believe that God loves us, and means to do us good, we shall trust Him as a child trusts a loving parent. Then our troubles and torments will disappear, and our will will be swallowed up in the will of God.” Sons and Daughters of God, 193.
Shift Your Focus
Once we shift our focus from the trouble to the solution, then we can go on to live the Christian life.
The biggest challenge in dealing with sick people is to help them shift their focus from their sickness to the Healer. If a person wants to lose weight, all they do is focus on losing weight. Stop dwelling on losing weight, dwell on being healthy. Stop dwelling on gaining weight, dwell on being healthy. Stop dwelling on diabetes, dwell on being healthy. Stop dwelling on the problem! If we will do that, watch the endorphins start kicking in; watch the immune system boost up. Our biggest challenge is to stop dwelling on the negative circumstances.
“The mind will strengthen by dwelling upon elevating subjects. If trained to run in the channel of purity and holiness, it will become healthy and vigorous. If trained to dwell upon spiritual themes, it will naturally take that turn. But this attraction of the thoughts to heavenly things cannot be gained without the exercise of faith in God and an earnest, humble reliance upon Him for that strength and grace which will be sufficient for every emergency.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 408. We should understand “how closely body and mind are related and show the need of keeping both in the very best condition.” Medical Ministry, 263.
Body and Mind Relationship
“The relation that exists between the mind and the body is very intimate. When one is affected, the other sympathizes. The condition of the mind affects the health to a far greater degree than many realize.” The Ministry of Healing, 241. Have you ever gotten up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, without a light on, and stubbed your big toe on an object? The brain begins to tell the mouth to say, Ouch! The brain says, Hand, grab that toe. Have you ever had that experience? The reaction is automatic! When one is affected the other sympathizes. Therefore, we find that the condition of the mind affects the health to a far greater degree than many realize. “Many of the diseases from which men suffer are the result of mental depression.” Ibid.
When we were in Thailand, we had one stop on our way to another meeting, and I picked up a newspaper to take on the plane with me. An article in this paper stated that 50 percent of the people in Bangkok suffer from mental depression. If we add together the populations of New York City and Los Angeles and multiply that number by 1,000, we would have the population of Bangkok. The reasons they are mentally depressed are the traffic, the noise, the pollution, and the economics. Fifty percent! One out of every five Americans are suffering from depression. Even those of God’s professed people suffer from depression.
Inspiration continues, “Grief, anxiety, discontent, remorse, guilt, distrust, all tend to break down the life forces and to invite decay and death.” Ibid. “Doubt, perplexity, and excessive grief often sap the vital forces and induce nervous diseases of a most debilitating and distressing character.” Healthful Living, 48. God did not say it is a sin to go through these emotions, but He does say that if we continue under their burden it is going to wipe out our vital force. Such a thing could happen even to someone like Elijah, a mighty prophet of God. “In the desert, in loneliness and discouragement [after his mountaintop experience on Mt. Carmel], Elijah had said that he had had enough of life and had prayed that he might die. But the Lord in His mercy had not taken him at his word. There was yet a great work for Elijah to do.” Prophets and Kings, 228. Was he depressed? Yes, he was. But God had not forsaken him; He said, What doest thou here? What are you doing under this depression? Instead of being under the circumstances, you need to be master of the circumstances. Elijah’s “petulance was silenced, his spirit softened and subdued. He now knew that a quiet trust, a firm reliance on God, would ever find for him a present help in time of need.” Review and Herald, October 23, 1913.
Jesus was not a depressed man, but depression shrouded Him in Gethsemane—so much so that He sweat great drops of blood. (Luke 22:44.) But Jesus looked through that depressed moment and saw the glory of His Father.
Grief, emotional suffering, disaster, unfortunate outcomes, anxiety, if any of these are chronically part of your life, wearing out your mental, spiritual, and physical vital force, look to Jesus. You cannot get physically well unless you hear Him say, “Be of good cheer.” God’s grace is sufficient.
These mental states can affect the whole body, but God wants us to be on top of the circumstances. He does not want us to carry the world on our shoulders—the whole world is in His hands. The mind has a definite affect upon the body. God has given us the mechanism—the biological and physiological mechanism—to deal with emergency situations short term. Heart rate accelerates, breathing increases, blood vessels constrict, fats are dumped off into the body—this gives us the fight or flight syndrome. That is all right in an emergency. But if it continues two days, three days, weeks, months, and years, it would have a devastating impact upon us.
Attitude of Gratitude
Emotional distresses can cause any disease, but God has the whole world in His hands. Courage, hope, faith, sympathy, and love promote a long life. A contented, cheerful spirit is health to the body and strength to the soul. “A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Proverbs 17:22. So if a merry heart does good like a medicine and a broken spirit dries the bones, that means that when we have an attitude of gratitude the immune system is strengthened. Every time we praise God, every time we count our blessings it has a physiological effect on us. Let us praise God! Let us think of His goodness.
One day take a sheet of paper; draw a straight line down the middle, and on one side list all of your blessings and on the other all of your curses. I will guarantee that your blessings will out-weigh your curses. God is good.
“How often those who are in health forget the wonderful mercies that are continued to them day by day, year after year. They render no tribute of praise to God for all His benefits. But when sickness comes, God is remembered. The strong desire for recovery leads to earnest prayer, and this is right. God is our refuge in sickness as in health. But many do not leave their cases with Him; they encourage weakness and disease by worrying about themselves. If they would cease repining and rise above depression and gloom, their recovery would be more sure. They should remember with gratitude how long they enjoyed the blessing of health; and should this precious boon be restored to them, they should not forget that they are under renewed obligations to their Creator. When the ten lepers were healed, only one returned to find Jesus and give Him glory. Let us not be like the unthinking nine whose hearts were untouched by the mercy of God.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 315.
Wilt thou be made whole? Physical healing follows mental and spiritual healing. I pray that God gives you this healing; and may you shift your focus from your problems to the solutions and connect with Jesus. Do not just get theoretical knowledge, but obtain an understanding of how to apply the grace of God to your life so you can enjoy true health and happiness.
Thomas Jackson is a health evangelist and Director of Missionary Education and Evangelistic Training (M.E.E.T.) Ministry in Huntingdon, Tennessee. He may be contacted by e-mail at: email@example.com or by telephone at: 731-986-3518.