Reverse Hypochondria – RTD # 3

Preached by Andrew Smellie, October 21, 2007

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Did you know that pain is a good thing?

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2 Corinthians 12:7-10 Paul boasts in his weaknesses because he learned that in weakness, he could be strengthened by the power of God. However, the world views weakness or pain in quite the opposite way.

Hypochondria: an abnormal, usually long-term preoccupation with health and bodily sensations, accompanied by a deluded conviction of having a serious disease without objective evidence. (Encarta World English Dictionary)

Considering the preoccupation that many have about their physical health, it’s almost the reverse when it comes to paying attention to their spiritual health needs. Spiritually, the devil can tempt us to become a reverse hypochondriac not wanting to be diagnosed and wanting to ignore the cause of our symptoms.

The world teaches that pain is bad and something to get away from–even that experiencing pain is a sign of weakness . . .or to blame the pain on others (that never provides the relief we desire!) As a result, men store deep down inside the pain and suffering they feel instead of receiving the comfort that God can give them. The real question is: How do you deal with the pain God has allowed in your life?

“Reverse Hypochondria” preached by Andrew Smellie on Sunday, October 21, 2007

2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Hypochondria: an abnormal, usually long-term preoccupation with health and bodily sensations, accompanied by a deluded conviction of having a serious disease without objective evidence. (Encarta World English Dictionary)
• Spiritually, the devil can tempt you to become a reverse hypochondriac.
• If you are a reverse hypochondriac spiritually, then you do not want people to diagnose you.
• If you are a reverse hypochondriac spiritually, then you do not like to deal with pain and you ignore it and it can kill you spiritually.
• Through your faith, you try to put up a religious facade because you do not want to deal with your spiritual issues.
• The world does not men to boast about their weaknesses.
• Men are taught that to experience pain is to be weak.
• As a result, men store deep down inside the pain and suffering they feel instead of receiving the comfort that God can give them.
• One can read the Bible but not get it.
• You go through pain in your life.
Question: How do you deal with it?
• You deal with pain in one of the following ways:
i. You cover it up and act like nothing is wrong.
ii. You deal with it and get the help that you need.
iii. You obsess about it.
Question: Do you have the courage to deal with it?
• You need to admit the truth.
• You do not know how to deal with your own pain or other people’s pain.
• Pride is the root of every evil thing.
• Imagine if you had a thorn in your flesh.
• You think that you should not be tormented by your pain.
Question: Is God’s grace sufficient for you?
• You believe that you need and/or deserve to receive so much more.
• You do not deserve to be alive.
• When you are weak, God can show how strong He is.
• Unless something bad happens, people do not want to know God.
Question: When was the last time you boasted gladly about your weaknesses?
• You are at a better place spiritually when you think and feel like you are blowing it.
• God likes people who are not really impressed with themselves.
Question: Why does God allow pain to come into your life?
• God wants you to rely on Him.
Question: Are you relying on God?
“Life is ten percent of what happens to you and ninety percent is how you decide to respond to it.”

1. Spiritual pain is a gift from God.
• People will hurt you because every human being on earth is imperfect.
Question: Are you at war with Satan?
Question: Why do you need to remain steadfast?
• Because sometimes the people who are the closest to you may fall away.
Question: What is right?
Question: Are you doing something to change the world or are you just watching?
• The absence of spiritual pain means one of two things:
i. You have a hard heart.
ii. You have been spiritually drugging yourself.
• For example, you spiritually drug yourself by keeping busy.
• Being Under Satan’s Yoke: BUSY.
Question: What does the world do to numb itself?
• You start to lose part(s) of yourself in the process of spiritually drugging yourself.
• You do not have a lot of joy, hope, love, etc. anymore.
• You numb yourself of the pain and you start running away from the pain.
• It is a gift to be able to help other people.
• God is looking for people who know that they are stuck and cannot make it.
• Accepting the truth allows you to put your newfound hope in God.

Mark 1:40-42
• When Christ healed someone of leprosy in ancient times, He was actually healing someone of his painlessness.
• He was giving this guy the ability to feel pain.
• God wants you to learn from your experiences to not make the same mistakes over and over again.
Question: Has anything changed in your life?
• Spiritual leprosy can mean that you run away to people who tell you what you want to hear.
• Pain protects you from self-destruction.
Question: What are the things that dull you but you do not even know it?
• Pain will connect you to God.
Question: Do you really believe that it is the pain that allows you to not make the same mistakes over and over again?

2. You are trained by spiritual pain.
Hebrews 12:4-11
• It is okay to feel spiritual pain.
• If you do not feel spiritual pain, then maybe the world is your father.
• God wants to train you to be righteous.
• If you are not allowing God to train you, then you are an illegitimate child.
Question: What is the pain that I feel when I share my faith with people and they reject me?
• Keep your heart soft and your hide tough.
Question: Are you being trained by pain to give your best to God?
• There is a false notion that you should always comfort people in their pain.
• People need to work through their pain.
• The devil can tempt you to compromise the standard of God to briefly alleviate the pain of someone else.

Proverbs 27:5-6
• You need people who tell you what you need to hear and not what you want to hear.
• You cannot be a light to the world if you do not let sparks fly. (Proverbs 27:17)

Galatians 2:11-14
• If you do not change and if you do not repent, then other people will follow your example and fall away.
Question: Are you a friend and say what needs to be said or are you not going to say what needs to be said and think that he will figure it out?
Question: How would you respond to such a painful rebuke?
• Peter repented and then he was willing to change. (Acts 15:5-11)

Psalm 141:5
• You got to understand that Jesus understood that pain was a part of His training.

Hebrews 5:7-9
• Submit to God’s will.
• Obey God’s will.

3. You have to face pain together, with the body of Christ.
“Before we share the peace, we share the pain.” – Murray Haar
Question: Is that what you want to do?
• The Bible calls you to get help from God, from the Word of God and from others.
• We need to help from God and from other people.
• Pain is a gift.
• Pain inspires you to repent.
• Pain inspires you to be grateful.
Question: When was the last time you said to someone ‘My heart is overwhelmed with sorrow’?

Proverbs 18:24
• It would be so much easier to have discord and dissension than to deal with the issue.
• If you have an issue with another disciple of Jesus Christ, then you follow Matthew 18:15-17.

2 Corinthians 1:3-11
• Anytime you think that you are going through a hard time, look at Jesus during the crucifixion. (Philippians 2:1-11)
• The pressure and the hardship of Paul’s life.
• Paul shared his pain with others.
• You got to pray for other disciples of Jesus Christ.
• Satan is on the attack.
• You can only be strong with God.
• You will never graduate from needing Jesus and other disciples of Jesus Christ.