Anyone who has ever had to take medicine is aware that there are both good and bad side effects.  Although if the medication does what it is supposed to do, that’s not really considered a side effect, just the intended result of taking the medication.  When you consider it, anything we put into our bodies has some effect on us.

If we put in healthy, nutritious food, then we reap the benefits of good health (hopefully).  If we gorge ourselves on junk food, then we have the side effect of our bodies not working in top condition or even breaking down.  If we treat our bodies right, then logically we should have continued good health.  There are also however those things that we never intended to put in our bodies that can cause us difficulties as well…second hand smoke, pollution, pesticides from foods we eat.

When you suffer from chronic pain, the medication you take can be life giving even though it is not necessarily essential for sustaining your life.  For instance, it can reduce your pain, it can help you sleep, or it can boost your energy.  When the medication that you put in your body does what it was intended to do, it can literally change your life.  This happened for me in November 2015.  My Rheumatologist increased one of my medications and it had the effect of rendering me nearly pain free.  For five years, I endured pain on a daily basis. For the past year I have had the pleasure of living pain free and it has truly been a blessing.  Putting something into my body that had the effect of what it was meant to do was incredible, unfortunately it was not without its negative side effects.  So many of the medications that the world provides even when they help and do what they were intended to do, have such negative side effects. But, can you imagine trying medication after medication without them helping with the added frustration of negative side effects? One medication I tried caused sever shaking.  It was so bad that I had trouble tying my shoes at times. When you are shaking so bad driving that you wonder if you can keep control of the car, it’s time to consider the benefits verses the consequences.

Like our physical bodies, it is important to consider what we are feeding our spirit. For Christians, if we are filled with the Holy Spirit, then we should bear the fruit.  We should show love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self-control as the consequence.  However, the side effects of sin can be so debilitating that the benefits of that fruit are almost hidden from sight.  I find that it isn’t the obvious sins that cause the most negative side effects, but the daily things we allow to squelch the Spirit that cause the worst pain. It is the sin that we let fester; bitterness, anger, resentment, selfishness, pride. These have the side effect of hindering our relationships, not only with other people, but with God himself.

If we are trying to allow the Holy Spirit to have reign in our life, but allow sin to cause these negative effects, our lives will not be complete. It is similar to my experience with this medication that rendered me pain free, it is not without negative consequences.  When we allow the Holy Spirit just a small portion of our lives, the side effects of sin can still touch our lives in negative ways. I am far from effective in allowing the Spirit complete control of my life and believe me, I do feel the effects of my sin on an almost daily basis.  It is a constant battle in this imperfect world to put “good” things into our bodies and spirits.  It is only by the grace of God that I continue to strive toward the prize (Philippians 3:12-15) that is waiting at the completion of my life and I thank Him daily for the grace and mercy He alone can give.