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Does Scripture Have Side Effects?

Fatigue … Cough … Sleep Deprivation … Blurred Vision … Agitation … Cataracts … Heart Attack …

These are not symptoms of disease, but side effects brought on by the medications prescribed to manage or heal disease …

Sometimes, in order to prevent serious trouble or even death, we must take medication and learn to accept and manage the side effects. Those who must manage high blood pressure, diabetes, depression, arthritis, or a myriad of other conditions understand that the benefits of medication outweigh the side effects that come with it.

God’s Word, taken as directed, is like medicine for our entire being—body, soul, and spirit. But scripture has side effects too. Consider the following instructions from God’s Word as well as some of the side effects:  

Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t snap back at those who say unkind things about you. Instead, pray for God’s help for them, for we are to be kind to others, and God will bless us for it. 1 Peter 3:9

Showing kindness instead of repaying others for the evil they do towards us has health benefits for every part of our being: joy, peace, freedom. Obeying God is worth it because He is focused on our good! But there may be some unpleasant side effects when we follow His plan for forgiveness: temptation for revenge, struggle with patience and a blow to our pride.

So submit to [the authority of] God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him] and he will flee from you. James 4:7

The above scripture is historically misquoted—most only focus on the second half. But we cannot fully resist Satan’s power in the world unless we first submit our lives to God. We cannot do what we will to do, then try to resist Satan’s influence. When we submit to God there is no better place, no safer place that we can be. But we should be aware of the side effects: denying selfishness, temporary pain of not getting our own way, giving up our plan for God’s plan.

But remember this—the wrong desires that come into your life aren’t anything new and different. Many others have faced exactly the same problems before you. And no temptation is irresistible. You can trust God to keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it, for he has promised this and will do what he says. He will show you how to escape temptation’s power so that you can bear up patiently against it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

We all face temptations, though they vary in nature and strength. God understands this part of us better than we may believe, and He stands ready to help us resist what in the end can be our undoing. But again, there will be side effects: resisting strong emotions and desires, denying self, treating others as we wish to be treated even when we don’t  get what we wanted in the situation.

Doing the right thing, the healthy thing, can be a struggle. Caring for our mind, body and spirit is not without struggle, but God holds the answer to every need in His Word. Like medication for our body that may bring side effects with the benefits, scripture will lead us to life and health when we follow God’s Voice found within it.

Do you trust God and desire to follow His teachings, even when you must press forward with difficulty?  Will you seek the answers to your needs and concerns in His Word?

TLB, Amplified Bible, biblegateway.com

About Lisa

My husband Dan and I have three children and three grandchildren. We live in central Illinois. I am a graduate of The Institute of Children's Literature, a member of faithwriters.com, and a member of SCBWI. My writings have been published at chirstiandevotions.us, in DevotionMagazine, the PrairieWind Newsletter, and here at thebottomline.co.

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