I have a confession. I have seasonal allergies.
Ok, if you have been around me at all during the Springtime then you know that wasn’t much of a confession.
The Spring and Fall have caused me to be a mouth breather for about as long as I can remember. (However, on the plus side, as I have gotten older the Fall side of things hasn’t been quite as bad as it was when I was a kid…so yay?)
A little less than a year ago I went to an Allergist to check what exactly I was allergic to and also to find out what I could do about it. The doctor confirmed that I actually wasn’t allergic to much, but that what I was allergic to I was really allergic to. He also confirmed that the few things that I had reacted to manifested themselves most during the Spring and Fall.
I remember saying, “Ok, I kind of knew that already. So, what can I do about it? How can we cure this?” I was looking for some sort of pill, shot, or miracle.
His answer was both annoying, profound, and completely spot on.
“The best, and only real, way to be cured is to stay away from the things that make you sick.”
That statement, while easier said than done, is still some of the best advice I have heard.
The doctor then explained to me what causes allergies. He went on to use a bunch of fancy words that I can remember, but I was still able to get the sense of it.
It wasn’t necessarily the ragweed itself that caused my symptoms, it was how my body responded to the allergen. My immune system sees certain “triggers” as threats and works extra hard to expel them from my body. The results are sniffling and sneezing. To quote Switchfoot, “The sickness is myself.”
I have been thinking a lot about that conversation with the doctor lately. And while I can’t avoid Spring, I do think that his words are still some of the wisest I’ve heard.
“The best, and only real, way to be cured is to stay away from the things that make you sick.” It doesn’t just apply to allergies.
There are many things in life that make us sick. There are many things in our lives that are harmful to us physically, emotionally, and spiritually. While I know that we cannot just simply gate ourselves off and avoid them all, that’s not typically how life works, I do think that we should make efforts to avoid our “triggers.”
1 Thessalonians 5:22 says to abstain, or flee, from every kind of evil.
2 Timothy 2:22-23 instructs us to flee from youthful passions and lusts and to “have nothing to do with” foolish debates that cause quarrels. Instead, Paul says, to “pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace.”
And Philippians 4:8 says, “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
The best way to avoid the consequences of sin is to avoid sin.
We become emotionally and spiritually congested when we try to work life out on our own strength and in our own way. The awesome thing is, that God knows that we are sick. He knows what harms us and He has given us the cure. Jesus sacrificed Himself so that we can be healed from all that ails us. We must put our trust in Him.
But even after we trust in Jesus we still have a tendency to run back to our “allergens.” We still tend to grasp at the very things that make us sick. We need to avoid them.
But we can only truly avoid them with God’s help.
He can and will give you the strength to make it through your “allergy season.” But you need to talk with Him. Agree with Him that you are in need of rescuing, admit that you cannot do it on your own, thank Him that Jesus made a way for you, trust Him to guide you, and actually listen to and follow Him.
As the writer of Hebrews puts it- “let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely…and cling to Jesus, the founder, and perfecter of our faith.”
Ok, time to blow my nose for the 10,000 time today.