Originally published July 2013.
Just in case you wondered, you are not God. If you don’t believe me, ask your spouse. Neither are there little pieces of God scattered throughout the universe.
Splendor. Beauty. Expanse. As amazing as that rock formation is, God created it; He doesn’t reside in it.
Magical. Breathtaking. Spectacular. As rightly awed as you may be by the beauty of the night sky, remember, God spoke the stars and planets into existence; and when He did, He didn’t leave a part of Himself behind. God isn’t there. Though, if you watch carefully, you may find His glory being proclaimed (Psalm 19:1).
Powerful. Amazing. Soothing. Yes. But, the God of the Universe does not mystically linger in your little bottle of essential oil or incense. I don’t care what the name on the label says. If you’ve been freaking out about that, you’re missing the point.
God spoke herbs and essential oils into existence at Creation when He formed the plants, trees, flowers, and shrubs and gave them to man (Genesis 1:29), but they are gifts given for our service (Psalm 104:14; Ezekiel 47:12). Good gifts. Just, don’t look for God there. Instead, open your Bible.
You alone are the Lord; You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and everything on it, the seas and all that is in them, and You preserve them all… (Nehemiah 9:6)
Many Christians have inadvertently relinquished their rights to God’s good gift of natural health, a gift that encourages the body to do what He designed it to do. In fact, God gave us our immune system as a gracious tool, and the plants He gave us at Creation are designed to complement and nurture it.
The vitamins and minerals, enzymes, amino acids, proteins, essential oils, and millions of other intricate necessities infused into the plants and trees are not there by accident! They were weaved into Creation by a loving Father for the purpose of serving His children.
“Their fruit will be for food, and their leaves for healing.” Ezekiel 47:12
Remember, all of these things work together to provide nourishment to our bodies, which keep all of our body systems, including our immune system, running like well-oiled machines.
Ironically, many false religions embrace the gift, but reject the Gift-Giver. Or, they try to turn the gift into the Gift-Giver. Christians, on the other hand, rightly embrace the Gift-Giver; but they too often, tragically, devalue His gifts by placing them below man’s wisdom in worth and authority. In other words, they pridefully snub the Gift-Giver’s gifts and become wise in their own eyes. Both are wrong.
Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the Lord. (Jeremiah 17:5)
Arrogant. Futile. Anemic. The gift of natural foods and remedies was given to us by God for an ultimate purpose, therefore they’re good and useful, and will serve us well when used properly and with thanksgiving. But, if we don’t reclaim this territory for Jesus—if we continue to eat empty, toxic foods and blindly trust in large, powerful medical corporations to be our “miracle makers,” we will become weaker and sicker and find ourselves utterly unable to fulfill our calling.
Asa became diseased in his feet, and his malady was severe; yet in his disease he did not seek the Lord, but the physicians. So Asa rested with his fathers; he died in the forty-first year of his reign. (2 Chronicles 16:12–13)
Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them deliver you in your time of distress.” (Judges 10:14)
When we must seek help from doctors (and there are times when this too is a huge gift of God), we also can’t forget that all healing ultimately comes from the Great Physician, so we should always cry out to Him. When my daughter fell headfirst out of a tree onto a boulder, we rushed her to the emergency room, but we prayed the entire way there! In fact, the first words out of my mouth were cries to my God!
This is one reason that, when we anoint ourselves with essential oils, we pray and ask God to answer our supplications (James 5:14). Faith, obedience, and prayer are crucial.
Whether God wants us to anoint ourselves with oils while we pray or even dip ourselves in the Jordan seven times (2 Kings 5:10; John 9:6,7), why not?
And in this case, anointing the sick and downcast with oil is found throughout Scripture. Unfortunately, I think it’s the tendency of our wandering hearts to put our hope and trust in anything but God.
So it came to pass, through her casual harlotry, that she defiled the land and committed adultery with stones and trees. (Jeremiah 3:9)
We often trust in the Internet, in doctors, in influencers, in pharmaceutical companies, in immunizations, in chemo, and even in created things—gifts intended for our good, but used in a sinful way. Some of us even put an idolatrous trust in essential oils! Any good thing can become an idol if we’re not careful!
James wrote in his epistle that if someone has a need, we should call the elders of the church to anoint them with oil and pray! Scripture is clear that God hears and answers simple prayers of faith!
“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up…” James 5:14-15
God is the ultimate Provider. In Genesis 22:14, He is called Jehovah Jireh, which is Hebrew for “the Lord will provide.” He is also called Jehovah Rapha, which means God is our healer. When we sing the doxology, we “praise God from whom all blessings flow.” In James 1:17 we’re reminded that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights.”
We need to stop living like we believe that God’s good gifts to us belong to mystics. Praise God for what He has given us; live like you believe in God’s graciousness; study and learn how to make His gifts useful for yourself and your family (physically and emotionally). And glorify Him by using them with a thankful heart to strengthen and edify His people, and to further the Gospel.
If Christians would do this, the world would stop associating God’s natural gifts with mysticism, and they would begin to see the power, provision, and graciousness of a loving and creative God. Choose to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
I’m here to help.