“Achoo,” I heard my parents sneeze, followed by an accumulated build-up of around three sneezes each (including myself). “Oh, great,” I thought to myself, making my way to the medicine cabinet to take some zinc vitamins, followed by a thorough hand washing and spray of the Lysol against any germy little critters hanging on for dear life.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been terrified of getting sick. And ironically, my boyfriend is too, but whereas he’s just petrified of throwing up, I’m appalled of colds and sicknesses in general. Call me an emetophobic being if you want, but I am your go-to girl for home remedies, natural health, and all holistic options. Though I am not 100% immune to anything, this got me thinking, how much more spiritually healthy would we all be if we took our religious precautions as seriously as our physical ones?

Let me explain. As an Educator, your child’s school supply list always asks for GermX, Clorox disinfectant wipes, paper towels, and tissues. Ask any student in my class, and they will tell you I use hand sanitizer religiously. No joke. I apply it so often I don’t know when I don’t. 

 Touch a paper? Hand sanitizer.

 Does a kid sneeze near me? Another squirt into the palm.

 Someone sick opens my door, “Dear Jesus, please help me afford more sanitizer.” But all jokes aside, we both know it’s true wherever you go!

 Doctor’s Office? Sick people on one side, healthy on the other. 

 Kroger? Wipes to clean your cart are readily available. 

Home? I am the Queen of all cleaning supplies (though I hate to clean or dust) and you can ask my poor mom how many times throughout the years I’ve asked, “Do you think I’m getting sick?” proceeded by a ritual freakout ending in more anxiety, stress, and depression than I bargained.  

But you know what? It’s inevitable. I got sick in November and don’t want a repeat, yet that’s just part of life.

However, what if we as a society learned to be as concerned with our spiritual health as much as our physical? If we pondered our heart health as much as the next facade of holistic remedies. I believe that the Book of Ezekiel, Chapter 14, can teach us this small principal well. 

Beginning in verse 1, Ezekiel Chapter 14 continues the story of a severe condition of the heart in Israel. Israel’s leaders have fallen to the sin of idolatry, and though they may look fine externally, they are crumbling internally as the certainty of the Lord’s judgment comes upon them. Giving a message to the people from the Lord, Ezekiel speaks boldly and with much conviction. Yet some of the leaders, try to plea bargain their way out of an already condemned accusation.

“Then some of the leaders of Israel visited me, and while they were sitting with me, this message came to me from the Lord: “Son of man, these leaders have set up idols[a] in their hearts. They have embraced things that will make them fall into sin. Why should I listen to their requests? Tell them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: The people of Israel have set up idols in their hearts and fallen into sin, and then they go to a prophet asking for a message” (Ezekiel 14:1-10, NLT (Ezekiel 14:1-4 quoted)). 

Painstakingly evident, Israel has a case of the common cold, but this time, it doesn’t sound like “Achoo,” but a louder and more painful breaking of “Let me bow down to you my great idol.” In these first ten verses, God is clear and direct with these people that He sees and knows their hearts (Ezekiel 11:5-6, NLT; 1 Samuel 16:7, NLT). He knows they are very sick, and as any good Doctor prescribes, He as the Great Physician offers complete healing and redemption through Him alone (What a remarkable prescription)! But as any taker of medicine knows, if you start an antibiotic, you have to finish it, or the infection will come back even stronger. And in Israel’s case, their common cold sin was out for revenge, destruction, and ultimately, death. Though the Lord had warned them that if they didn’t get healing for their hearts, the punishment would result, they chose to think of themselves as superb “self-diagnosers” rather than looking to the actual holy healing clinician.

Rather it is idolatry (Ezekiel 14, NLT), lust (2 Timothy 2:22, NLT), gluttony (1 Corinthians 3:16-17, NLT), greed (Exodus 20:17, NLT; Ezekiel 28, NLT), pride (Jeremiah 9:23-24, NLT), you name it, they are all common cold conditions of the heart that need eternal healing and restoration. Each of these concerns is a disease of the heart. An illness that significantly impacts our external bodies as much as our internal ones. 

“Their idols are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands. They have mouths but cannot speak, and eyes but cannot see. They have ears but cannot hear, and noses but cannot smell. They have hands but cannot feel, and feet but cannot walk, and throats but cannot make a sound. And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them” (Psalm 115:4-8, NLT)

Idols? Worthless.

Pride? You’re nothing without God.

Lust? Sex will not cure your deepest desires.

Jealousy? The root of all evil.

Don’t have mouths, ears, noses, hands, and feet that know how to function, but don’t work correctly. You know how to be well! It’s a sin to know the right thing to do and not do it (James 4:17, NLT).

This cold and flu season, know that yes, it is essential to take care of your physical body. Stay healthy, exercise, do some Godly yoga, meditate on Scripture, take vitamins, clean, wash your hands, and take preventative measures.  But, don’t also forget to care for your spiritual body as well. These two things can efficiently work together as complementary sides of the same coin. Read your Bible, pray, listen (something I struggle with), journal, and seek the Father for the ultimate restoration of your cold infested heart.

When you, your child, student, parent, you name it is sick, you don’t try to catch what they already have, right? You don’t say, “Hey, sneeze all over me,” while you kiss someone with strep or deliberately touch your eyes, nose, and mouth after coming into contact with something you know is germy! You have more common sense than that! Then why treat your spiritual life any differently? Fight off your heart battles with prayer, Scripture, meditation, and God— No other prescription has such an eternal value.

“As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness” (Proverbs 26:11, NLT). 

Don’t stick your hand back into the snotty tissue. Flee from the germ-infested table you usually sit at for lunch. Spray the Lysol like it’s confetti in the air.  But, never forget the condition of your heart, my friend. Whether it is idolatry, greed, pride, lust, jealousy, anger, you name it (and I know I write about it a lot), these things have got to go. They are conditions, common colds of the heart, and they matter so much so, I want to make sure you have the right prescription, an eternal one.

A lasting one.

A healing one.

A forever one.

The right one.

“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be” (Matthew 6:21, NLT).


Agape, Amber.