(Rev 9:21) And they did not repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.
As Christians we have been very concerned about the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Many of us have been touched personally with someone we know and love who has struggled with this kind of addiction. But I have a pastoral concern for Christians who are addicted to prescription medicine. There are so many believers who are struggling with this "hidden" and legal addiction. It comes to my attention frequently in the course of my everyday ministry and counseling. So I would like to take this opportunity to encourage the body of Christ to be free as much as you can from pharmakeia!
The Greek word for sorcery in the New Testament is pharmakeia. It's from where we get our word pharmacy and relates to drugs. No, the hippies did not introduce drugs to the world back in the 1960's. Pagans of long ago used drugs in the worship of their idols. They would use hallucinogens to alter their state of consciousness as they used their incantations to communicate with the spirits. So now you know when you see the word sorcery in the New Testament that it has a background in these things and is related to drugs. That's why recreational drugs are so dangerous. And I'm not only talking physically or mentally but also spiritually. Drugs have been a doorway to the dark world for centuries. Stay away from pharmakeia.
But what about prescription drugs? Medicine was used in the Bible to help people in their affliction. Jeremiah speaks of the balm of Gilead (Jer 8:22; 46:11). Hezekiah recovered from a boil by the application of a lump of figs (2 Kings 20:7). The Good Samaritan treated the injured man on the road to Jericho with oil and wine (Luke 10:34). And don't forget that Paul had Luke the physician travel with him on his missionary journeys (Col 4:14). And who knows if he applied salve treatments to Paul's eyes? (Rev 3:18; Gal 4:13, 15)
So what about "good" drugs today? Science and medicine have come so far to help people get well, be relieved of pain, and to extend life. God can heal directly by His divine touch or He can also use doctors and medicine. But in the desire to get well we are to remember that all good gifts come from the Lord (James 1:17). And we are encouraged in the Word to seek the Lord for healing and to put our trust in Him and not solely in the doctors. (2 Chr 16:12) And in the thirty-ninth year of his reign, Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians.
Dear friend . . . I'm going to be bold here and say that of course prescription drugs are okay to use, but make sure you don't become addicted! Christians are vulnerable like anybody else. Be under a doctor's care and use only what you need. Tell your doctor you want to be off any unnecessary drugs. This includes antidepressants and sleeping pills. Don't let something good turn into pharmakeia. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we are to have the mind of Christ. Be controlled by the Spirit and not by a substance. (Eph 5:18) And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit.
Let's be practical. We should pray for healing first. If the Lord doesn't heal us then maybe He wants us to go to the doctor and go that route. I heard some practical advice from a pastor once. He said that when he gets a headache he prays for the Lord to take it away. If He doesn't, he then takes an aspirin. I like that!
So why don't you go through your medicine cabinet this week and pray over all your meds? What is needed and what isn’t? Perhaps it's time to call your doctor. And don't forget to call on the Great Physician too!