«Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones” (Proverbs 3:7,8).
A healthy diet, sunlight, fresh air, physical exercise, rest all constitute natural remedies that strengthen our entire body when properly used. However, to enjoy vigorous health, it is necessary to take into account a great number of diseases that have their origin in the people’s mind; so much so that certain studies came to conclude that 90% of the illnesses have psychological causes.
The great Russian researcher Serguei Metalnikov wrote in his book The role of the nervous system and of biological and psychic factors in immunity the following: «The role of the mind and its influence on the body is much greater than it has been thought. All the organs, the heart, the lungs, the intestine, the glands of internal secretion are all closely linked to the nervous system. This is the reason why the mental state of the patient, in all illnesses, is thus of great importance. Therefore, in the fight against diseases, it is so necessary to act on the mind as well as prescribing medication.» Nowadays, a great amount of scientific evidence shows that factors like stress, depression and/or anxiety have damaging effects on people’s physical health.
To illustrate the power of the psychological factors over the physical ones, we find in the biblical narrative of 1 Samuel 25 the story of a rich man who literally died of fear. Nabal, whose name means «fool,» had many flocks which had been sheltered by David and his men (before David came to the throne). It is told that one day, during the time of sheep shearing, David sent some messengers requesting food from Nabal; but the latter, who was just like what his name meant, not only denied David the help he needed but also humiliated him. When David found out about what had happened, he armed four hundred men and, had it not been for the wise and prompt intervention of Nabal’s beautiful wife, they would have destroyed everything he had. Hearing about what had happened, Nabal remained petrified because of shock and died a few days later. This proves how our emotions have the power over our health.
What are the psychological factors that improve health instead of weaken it? What are the laws that govern the mental area? Today’s verse offers a clear principle,
» fear the Lord and depart from evil. It will be health to your flesh, and strength to your bones.