I’ve been a registered nurse for 20 years. I have spent countless hours passing out medications for one ailment or another.
Complain of a headache? You get Tylenol. Complain of nausea? You get Phenergan. Complain of allergies? You get Zyrtec. The list goes on …
These medications work very well. Sometimes too well as they mask the underlying issue. When the symptoms subside, you continue on with your day without another thought of your complaint until it surfaces again, then it’s the same cycle of taking medications to alleviate the symptom.
What are the symptoms trying to tell you? A symptom is the evidence or indication of the existence of something else. An occasional headache or bout of nausea might be just that, an isolated illness. But the same ailment occurring frequently over time, or becoming worse, can be a symptom of a deeper phenomenon that is unseen. Once the root of the problem is identified, the focus turns away from the symptoms and onto the problem.
When bitterness, anger, hatred, bad attitudes, unkindness and a multitude of other behaviors are present, you can be sure that they are symptoms providing the evidence that something else going on.
Matthew 7:16-20 tells us that we are known by our fruits:
You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.
Like a tree, when our spirit has been wounded or is dying, we produce bad fruits such as bitterness, anger, hatred, etc. We then try to treat the symptoms with avoidance, staying busy, making excuses or using alcohol or drugs. This kind of treatment only masks the underlying issue and will soon wear off revealing more bad fruit. The opposite is also true, a healthy spirit is reflected in the good fruit that is produced.
We all want to be healthy. How do we create a healthy spirit where the fruit, or symptoms, that are produced are that which is spoken of in Galatians 5:22-23?
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
Prayer, praise and worship, Bible reading and Bible study, fellowshipping with others, seeking godly counsel and being thankful are just a few things that we as Christians should have in our medicine cabinet. And they should be administered daily.
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
What are your symptoms? Are you simply treating them or are you curing the problem?