Scripture vs. Prescription Drugs
Let’s make this easy. Below is a list of ways you can misuse prescription drugs. In addition to the explanation for each misuse is a parallel misuse of Scripture. See if any of these abuses hit home with you.
1. You forget to take it.
Prescription Drugs– You have the right prescription and you intend to take it at the right time, but you keep forgetting to take it. The pill bottle just sits there on your bedside table collecting dust. Do you have a realistic hope of getting better with this behavior?
Scripture – You know from experience or even from a recommendation that spending regular time reading Scripture will help you with whatever problem you have. You have a Bible and the freedom to read it when you want to, but you keep forgetting.
Of course, you know that if it was truly important to you, you would not forget. Instead, it appears that you are more comfortable in continuing to struggle. Either that, or you would rather get your “prescription” from a non-licensed physician. Maybe your friends or the latest self-help book really can give better advice than the Creator of the universe.
2. You apply it incorrectly.
Prescription Drugs– Your elbow is hurting. Rather than going back to the doctor for a new prescription, you decide to pull out the ointment you were given for athlete’s foot last year. You rub this ointment on your elbow for relief. Don’t think this never happens!
Scripture – This one can apply two ways. First, you have good intentions, but you simply do not yet have the skills required to properly apply what you are reading. Likely, you are simply misinterpreting what you are reading. Fortunately, in this case the Holy Spirit will be helpful and guide you in the right application if you will just ask for help.
The other way this can happen is when you have a particular solution in mind before you even search God’s Word. You search and search until you find a verse that could be taken out of context to fit your needs. An extreme example would be to use Genesis 38:15-16 to confirm your weekend plans!
3. You do not fill the prescription.
Prescription Drugs– You took the time to go to the doctor and have him prescribe something to give you relief from your ailment, but you really don’t have time to go to the pharmacy to fill the prescription. Maybe tomorrow. Really?
Scripture – A friend or mentor has told you that reading and meditating on a certain Psalm really helped them get over their similar problem. You have thought about taking the time to read that Psalm, but you have just been so busy. You really have not had time to read it. You will work on that next week.
4. You won’t even go to the doctor.
Prescription Drugs– You hurt and you know there is likely something that could bring you relief, but you don’t want to ask. The doctor may think you are weird or weak. Someone may find out that you are not the specimen of health you pretend to be.
Scripture – You work with someone that often mentions how specific Scriptures have helped her overcome struggles in her life. You have similar struggles, but you cannot bring yourself to ask her where to look in the Bible for help. She may think less of you if she knows you have these struggles. You will just figure it out on your own.
5. You do not ingest it.
Prescription Drugs– You have the right prescription and you remember to take it, but you are somewhat afraid to swallow it completely. Instead, you decide to lick it on a regular schedule. Do you really think this will work?
Scripture – In this case, you do take your Bible out and read it regularly. The reading part is not the problem, but you really are not confident enough to fully digest what you have read and apply it. Instead, you are hopeful that you will gain enough benefit just from coming in contact with God’s Word. You really are hoping that maybe you will get Holy Spirit Brownie Points for the effort!
Do any of these abuses sound familiar? Do you struggle with any of these abuses of Scripture?
I think these abuses may be more common than we think. At the same time, there is one way that abuses of prescription drugs and Scripture are different. In fact, I would venture to say that this specific form of abuse can cause opposite effects.
6. You take too much of the prescription.
Prescription Drugs– Your head really hurts more today than normal. You decide to take triple the recommended dose. Surely that will take the pain away three times as fast, right?
Scripture – You find that properly taken as directed, reading and applying God’s Word really works! In an effort to increase the effects, you decide to spend a lot more time reading and meditating on it. The funny thing is that this actually works even better!
The bottom line is that we need to treat the Scripture as if it has been prescribed to us and we should take it as directed. For some specific advice on this, check out the following Scripture and see if it is clear enough for you.
What is your experience with Scripture?
Are you guilty of abusing it in any of the ways listed?
What can you do to improve your track record?