How Discontentment → Disease
Don’t be obsessed with money but live content with what you have, for you always have God’s presence. For hasn’t he promised you, “I will never leave you alone, never! And I will not loosen my grip on your life!” So we can say with great confidence: “I know the Lord is for me and I will never be afraid of what people may do to me!”
--Hebrews 13:5-6 TPT
Envy (zealously wanting something that someone else has) rots the bones (see Proverbs 14:30). What does that mean? Neuroscience shows that for every thought that we have, a corresponding nerve or neurotransmitter in our brains is triggered to release a chemical or hormone into our bodies. Our thinking affects our physiology. What happens over time when we think or ruminate on thoughts of envy, such as the following:
"If I had [the money for] a private jet or all the money that So-and-so receives, I'd put it to much better use for God's kingdom to enrich people's lives." "That person doesn't deserve all that money." "I could use and steward money far better than that person." "Why should that person be so blessed financially? I've worked harder than him/her." "If only I had x amount of money, then I could/would be happy and/or give more away to those in need…")?
Thoughts of discontentment or envy tell the body via the brain's hypothalamus gland, "Osteoclasts [bone-removing cells], I just got off the phone with headquarters (HQ). Our quota has increased and we need to tear down more bone cells than before. Osteoblasts [bone-forming cells], go on break; don't replace those removed bone cells." The long-term physiological result can be osteoporosis, rotten teeth, etc. How then, if we have osteoporosis due to thoughts of discontentment, envy, etc., can we recover or be healed? There is good news: all we have to do is "to change the way [we] think;" the Bible word for that, from the Greek word "metanoia," is "repent."
Let your character [your moral essence, your inner nature] be free from the love of money [shun greed—be financially ethical], being content with what you have; for He has said, “I will never [under any circumstances] desert you [nor give you up nor leave you without support, nor will I in any degree leave you helpless], nor will I forsake or let you down or relax My hold on you [assuredly not]!” So we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently say, “The Lord is my Helper [in time of need], I will not be afraid. What will man do to me?”
--Hebrews 13:5-6 AMP
As we become doers of the Word in Hebrews 13:5-6, then our fearfully and wonderfully made bodies will respond accordingly: "OK, osteoclasts, the orders from HQ have been reversed. Don't tear down all those extra bone cells. Osteoblasts, you can come back to work and form cells for all these bones." We can go to our heavenly Father and have a conversation with Him about what we see in passages like Hebrews 13:5-6. Talk to Him about/through passages like Hebrews 13:5-6 day and night (see Psalm 1; Romans 12:2; Isaiah 66:2).
We may recognize where we've fallen short and share with Him where we feel we aren't thinking quite the way He thinks or have failed to trust Him in some area of our lives. We can ask and thank Him for enabling and empowering us to think the same way He does about finances, money, provision, blessings, envy, discontentment, our lives, our circumstances, etc. Then our thoughts can match His thoughts--thoughts of love towards Him, other people, and ourselves--and His truth shall make us free.
He designed our bodies fearfully and wonderfully in His image to function according to His nature of love (see Psalm 139:13-16; Genesis 1:26-27; 1 John 4:7-21). Loving thoughts bring our bodies into homeostasis and health. Agreeing with thoughts that are unloving (such as accusation, discontentment, rage, slander, gossip, bitterness, unforgiveness, self-rejection, self-hatred, selfishness, etc.) cause us to lose our homeostasis/"shalom" peace, and our bodies may break down with disease. See John 10:10; 2 Cor. 10:5; 1 Thess. 5:23; Romans 8:6-13; Galatians 5:16-26.
For more information on this topic, see my old blog post: “Spiritual Component to Dental Care.”
I first learned about osteoblasts and osteoclasts from the “For My Life Online” lesson on envy and jealousy. For more information about this online course, see https://www.beinhealth.com/for-my-life/.