REAL POWER: MAXING OUT ON GOD'S LOVE
TREATING THE SYMPTOMS OR THE DISEASE?
One of the first lessons I learned in
medical school was to treat the disease rather than just the symptoms.
The first time I saw a patient with
abdominal pain, I wanted to write an order in the chart to prescribe
pain medication and make the pain go away. It made sense to my
inexperienced mind. I thought I would help the patient if I made him
feel better. I was wrong.
When a patient presents in the
emergency room with abdominal pain, the most important thing to do is
discover what is causing the pain. Pain is an important symptom, and
the location and character of the pain help make the diagnosis. There
are many different patterns of abdominal pain, and each one is
associated with a different disease. You donít have to examine many
patients before you figure out that the type of pain often gives you
the diagnosis. Once you know the diagnosis, you know the proper
Frequently, the diagnosis isnít
clear, and the patient must be periodically reexamined to figure out
whatís happening. You place the patient under observation and watch
how the character of the pain changes over time.
The worst thing you could do is give
the patient an injection of strong narcotic and totally relieve his
pain. You would no longer be able to tell if he is getting better or
worse. You would have masked the disease by treating the symptoms
rather than treating the disease. Usually, it doesnít take long to
establish a diagnosis, and then, judicious use of pain medication is
reasonable and safe. But until you have the diagnosis, you better
think twice about prescribing pain medication.
When you treat the disease, the
patient usually survives. If you treat only the symptoms, the patient
frequently becomes worse and may even die. Only a fool would treat
the symptoms and ignore the disease.
Healing the human heart and spirit is
no different than healing the physical body. You must treat the
disease rather than just the symptoms. Unfortunately, people who deal
in matters of the heart and spirit often fall into the trap of
treating the symptoms rather than the disease.
THE SIN TRAP
Sin is a good example of this trap.
Sin is a symptom and not the disease. Sin is a very slippery stone
and getting a handle on it is difficult. Itís easier to talk about
than it is to deal with. Two of the biggest problems with sin center
on the fact that some people deny that it exists, and others treat it
like itís the disease rather than a symptom of the disease.
You live in a moral universe that
takes a position on the choices you make. When you break the laws
governing the moral universe, you commit sin. You would have to be
blind, deaf, and stupid to not figure out that sin exists, is out of
control, and is destroying the lives of millions of people.
Some people want to tell you there is
no such thing as sin. That is as intelligent as saying you donít have
heart disease when you have crushing chest pain, you are short of
breath with beads of sweat on your forehead, and your EKG is seriously
abnormal. It doesnít matter how much you protest, you still are
having a heart attack, and if you donít do anything to treat it, you
will probably die.
One of the most common contributing
causes of death during heart attacks is people sitting around saying
they donít have a problem with their heart while they are in the
middle of a heart attack. Denial kills thousands of people each
year. I personally know people who have died of heart attacks who
were in denial up to the moment of their death.
If you donít think there is sin in
the world, you need to wake up and face reality. More than fifty
percent of marriages end in divorce. One out of eight people who
drink alcohol become an alcoholic. Drug addiction destroys millions
of lives annually. Violence is one of the main themes vividly
portrayed on television and in the movies, and they call it
entertainment. Pornographic web sites abound on the Internet. You
have to establish a firewall on your computer to stem the tide of
unsolicited pornographic material that fills your computer mailbox
with toxic waste. Only a lawyer or an insane person would be foolish
enough to argue there is no sin in the world. People who donít
believe sin exists are living in fantasyland.
The second trap is treating sin as
the disease rather than a symptom of the disease. This is the recipe
for frustration and failure. These people attack the mountain of sin
that forms the landscape of their life. They try every trick in the
book to stop sinning, but without success.
They believe that if they can just
get rid of the sin, they will be ok. But no matter how hard they try
to clean up their life, they always fail. They are trying to cure the
disease by making the symptoms go away. They are doing things
backwards, and it will not work. Even if they clean up their life and
commit fewer sins, they are only suppressing the symptoms of an
underlying fatal affliction. What they are doing is dangerous and
will not solve their problem. Sin is a symptom of an underling
problem, and sin will not go away until you solve the problem that
causes it. Attacking the symptom will not help.
CURING THE DISEASE
If you want to break free from the
chains of sin, you must take the cure. The only cure is to be born
spiritually and have a relationship with God based on love. When that
happens, God gives you a new mind and heart. He gives you a new way
of thinking and living, and you look at the world in an entirely new
When God gave the Ten Commandments on
Mount Sinai, the two most important commandments focused on love.
Jesus reiterated the supremacy of those two great commandments when he
said, ďYou shall love the Lord you God with all you heart, all your
mind, and all your strength, and you shall love your neighbor as
yourself.Ē When you love God with everything that is in you, you no
longer have a problem with sin. When you love your neighbor as
yourself, you have taken the cure, and sin no longer dominates your
These two commandments tell in a
nutshell how to have a personal relationship with God that eliminates
the symptom of sin. You must love God with all your heart, all you
mind, and all your strength. Your intellect, emotions, and will must
be fully committed to loving him. When you max out on Godís love, sin
no longer controls your life.
SIN IS LIKE A BAROMETER
Sin is like a barometer that reveals
the status of your relationship with God. When your relationship is
alive and well, sin rarely is a problem. When your relationship is
faltering and sick, sin pokes up its ugly head, and you start to sink
in a sea of iniquity. Nevertheless, the problem isnít the sin. The
problem is that your relationship with God isnít what it should be.
You donít love God with all of your heart, mind, and strength.
Sin cannot survive in a heart full of
Godís love. When his love comes in the front door, sin heads for the
emergency exit. When your relationship with God is strong, the power
of Godís love rolls through your life and gives you the strength to
live as one of his children without being burdened by sin.
If you are lost in a maze of sin, the
only way to escape is to open your heart to Godís love. Godís love is
the most powerful force in the universe, and it will blow the maze of
sin to smithereens when your heart is full of his love.
Donít just treat the symptoms; let
Godís love cure the disease. Your life will never be the same.
Jesus said I should love God with all my heart, all my mind, and all
my strength. When I love God with everything that is in me, I no
longer have a problem with sin. I have taken the cure, and sin no
longer controls my life. If I am lost in a maze of sin, the only
escape is to open my heart to Godís love. Godís love still is the
most powerful force in the universe, and it will blow the maze of sin
to smithereens when my intellect, emotions, and will are all aligned
with his love. I will max out on Godís love.
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