At the same time we have a primary responsibility to trust God for healing and leading in these areas. Some medicines have horrible side effects that are not beneficial for the believer and can even be detrimental to their ability to follow Jesus. Other medicines are produced by evil means (such as from aborted baby body parts.) So while taking certain drugs is acceptable for a Christian, it is by no means a no-brainer proposition. Taking drugs/medicines should be considered a spiritual decision, and not just a physical one.
Another issue we have in the realm of good drugs designed for the right reasons is that there is the tendency for people to become addicted to certain medicines. What may start out as a good treatment can become an evil crutch in a believer's life. One of the great tricks of the enemy is to make us dependent on something that is not inherently bad. Prescription drug abuse is a major issue in America. It drives a huge black market industry... not in our back alleys, but in our living rooms.
When you take something good and use it for evil, you exchange the blessing that came with it for a curse that goes with you. Over time a person takes a certain medication to deal with a real issue. At some point the health issue clears up, but they do not want to give up the drug that helped them. Whether it is some sort of painkiller, or another type of drug, they have become dependent on it and cannot break free from its effects to go back to a normal life. Just like with any addiction, it will take the power of Christ to break its hold. But it seems like a more difficult conversation when you are discussing a drug prescribed by a doctor as opposed to a drug sold by a seedy dealer.
The Bible gives some insight into this issue of how dangerous it is to use things that can be good in a bad way. In a letter to a young preacher, the apostle Paul said, "Timothy, don’t continue drinking only water, but use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses." (1 Timothy 5:23) Paul was giving Timothy a prescribed method for treating a sickness. Apparently a little wine would help over whatever was bothering his body. Paul believed in instant healing. He had by the power of God raised at least one person from the dead. But he also knew the medicinal value of wine... but only a little wine.
Earlier in the same letter to Timothy when Paul was giving directives on who should be a leader in the church he wrote this... "An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, an able teacher, not addicted to wine, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy - one who manages his own household competently, having his children under control with all dignity." (1 Timothy 3:2-4) So Paul advises Pastor Timothy to drink a little wine for his health after telling him that an overseer should not be addicted to wine.
This is a perfect example of what we are looking at today. It is alright for believers to take a little medicine to help with their physical issue. But it is not okay for a Christian to let that drug rule them. It is impossible to be self-controlled, sensible, respectable, and competent to manage your household if you are strung out on prescription drugs.
Last night as I was talking to a friend about this devotional he told me, "Pastor, I have to stay away from certain medicines. As a former addict, I look at some medicines and realize that they are a pathway to my past life. I don't take some drugs that would help me because I don't want to go back to that place."
Drugs are powerful... that is why God gave them to us. But it is also why the enemy uses them. God has told us to be sober-minded. We can't do that if we are sacrificing our faculties to a pill... even a good pill.
Today if you find yourself in the grips of a good drug, first call out to Jesus. He can break every chain of addiction. And then find a pastor or spiritual mentor to which you can safely commit this truth about yourself. They can at least pray with you and help hold you accountable, or they can help you find more help as you leave the lifestyle of prescription addiction.
Tomorrow we will look at the ugly dangers of recreational and illegal drug use. Why is it wrong for a believer to use various types of drugs for pleasure?
[Bible quotes are from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, unless otherwise noted.]
Find more of David’s work at Heart Of Ministry.