Russell and Duenes

Health Regimens: The Doctor’s Prescription

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prescriptionFrom of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen, a God besides you, who works for those who wait for Him. – Isaiah 64:4

For the same Lord is Lord of all, richly blessing all who call upon Him. – Romans 10:12

Daniel Fuller, author of The Unity of the Bible (which, in my opinion, should be read by every sentient Christian), argued that our discipleship to Christ must be viewed as a doctor’s prescription, and not as a job description. For the doctor-patient relationship appropriately mirrors the way we must come to Christ – as needy clients and supplicants of mercy – rather than the boss-employee relationship – where the boss is the needy one, and we provide services to him or her in return for wages. In Fuller’s opinion, too many Christians conceive of their service to our Lord as a boss-employee relationship, where God is our boss and we work for him in return for wages (“blessings” in biblical terms). And no wonder, for God is indeed “in charge” and He rightfully calls the shots. Further, the Bible tells us at every turn to “serve the Lord,” and so we naturally think in terms of servants who work for someone.

Yet the prophet Isaiah tells us that our God is not like the other gods, indeed, our God is of a kind which “no one has heard or perceived by the ear, nor seen by the eye.” (Isaiah 64:4). Why is God unique? Because He Himself “works for those who wait for Him.” Id. Thus, we properly serve God by waiting for Him, just like we wait upon a doctor or a lawyer. When we go to the doctor’s or lawyer’s office, we do not presume to “work for” the doctor or lawyer. Rather, we are the needy clients, and we put ourselves at their disposal, asking them what action they recommend for our healing and well-being. They are the ones with the knowledge and wisdom. We call upon them in order to give us “the doctor’s prescription.” And then, if they are competent physicians, we diligently take the prescription they have given us. We obey their orders and let the healing occur.

A boss, by contrast, is lost without his employees. He is the needy one. He pays us wages because, without us, he is sunk. Yes, he may have wisdom and power, but his power comes from those who work for him. It is a derivative power. We are doing something for him “as though he needed something.” See (Acts 17:25). And we must constantly labor under our burden, lest we get fired and lose our wages. And the boss must constantly keep us happy, lest he lose his workers. This is not the proper way to think of our service to Christ.

Jesus echoes Isaiah’s theme when he says, “the Son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:45). The author of Hebrews says that we ought not be afraid of other people, for “the Lord is my Helper, I will not be afraid, what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 12:5). We do not help the Lord; He helps us, the needy clients. The Psalmist tells us to “call upon the Lord in the day of trouble; I will rescue you, and you will honor Me.” (Psalm 50:15). Why is God honored when we call upon Him, rather than trying to “work for” Him? Because we are then shown to be the supplicants of mercy, the needy clients, and He is shown to be the one with all the power, wisdom and resources. His strength is the strength by which we then serve. See (1 Peter 4:11).

So, is there a prescription for healing when it comes to the sickness of impatience? Indifference? Ingratitude? Self-adulation? Arrogance?  Greed? Adultery? Jealousy? Laziness? Anger? Moral blindness? Dishonoring God? Is there a health program for attaining love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, humility, courage, gratitude, contentment, faithfulness, and self-control? Indeed there is. Jesus is the Great Physician. We dare not “work for” Him. Rather, we must obey His commands and rely on His promises, just as we would obey a doctor’s commands to take our anti-biotics three times a day, with the promise that we will then feel better. We must be careful to apply the wisdom God gives us in the Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Fuller even suggests we must look to the wisdom of men that is consistent with God’s wisdom (giving Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People, and Mortimor Adler’s How To Read a Book as examples). All of life becomes part of God’s health regimen, and when we think of His commandments as our health prescription, His commandments then are “not burdensome for us,” as the apostle John says. They are for our good.

Therefore, let us do what God commands, which is simply to “call upon Him,” to “wait upon Him,” to “hope in Him,” and then let Him work for us as we obey His commands. Let us encourage each other to do this. Let us constantly remind ourselves that “serving the Lord,” does not mean laboring for wages, but “offering ourselves to Him as living sacrifices,” so that He may do with us as He pleases, for our good and His glory.

-D

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Written by Michael Duenes

March 23, 2013 at 9:24 am

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