Dear People Who Keep Company With God,

When you come in contact with the heart of God, you will experience a radical change of heart and life. It is like being born again, again.

the nocebo effect photoMy whole belief system about God and the spiritual life went through a major transformation. Arthur Burt said many times, “Your believing rules you. You don’t rule your believing.” I found out it is truer than I knew.

The placebo effect is such a great illustration of this. As part of medical studies, participants are randomly assigned to either a real drug or a placebo in the form of an inert pill (usually a sugar pill). The patient doesn’t know which they are taking, and even those taking the inert drug tend to show some improvement thanks to their belief in the treatment.

But, there is also a dark side to this. It is called the nocebo effect. “Nocebo” (meaning “I shall harm”) is the evil twin brother of placebo (“I shall please”). People taking placebos often report puzzling side effects, nausea, headaches, or pain that are unlikely to come from an inert pill. Every participant in a clinical trial are given exactly the same health warnings whether they are taking the real drug or the placebo and somehow, the expectation of the adverse side effects produces them in some placebo takers.

Here is a testimony reported by Dr. Roy Reeves that attest to the power of the nocebo effect. In 2007, Mr. “A” was suffering from depression when he consumed a whole bottle of pills. Regretting his decision, Mr. “A” rushed to the ER, and promptly collapsed at the reception.

It looked serious; his blood pressure had plummeted, and he was hyperventilating; he was immediately given IV fluids. Yet, blood tests could find no trace of the drug in his system. Four hours later, another doctor arrived to inform Dr. Reeves that the man had been in the placebo arm of a drug trial. He had overdosed on sugar pills. Upon hearing the news, the relieved Mr. “A” soon recovered.

Why are beliefs so powerful? It is because beliefs exist at the heart level. They are not just intellectual. The Bible reveals this. “For with the heart one believes…” (Rom. 10:10) Our beliefs shape how we feel and act because they are in our heart, they are a part of who we really are (Prov. 27:19).

Our beliefs about God and self are the most important of all beliefs. Together they determine the course of our life. Before touching the Father’s heart, I was mired in the nocebo effect. The evil twin brother was creating havoc in my life. I believed wrong things about God, life, and myself and it was like a terminal disease, slowly killing me.

We all suffer from the evil twin brother and Jesus spoke to this when He addressed anxiety in Matthew 6:26. He said, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap or store up food for the winter.” That is, birds don’t grow their own food and save some for a rainy day. Then He said something very profound, “And yet your heavenly Father feeds them.”

He then shifts the focus toward us. He tells us something that will transform your life if you believe it. It is a belief that the Father has for us, “The Father Himself believes you are of the highest value and worthy to be cared for.” That is a powerful remedy, not just for anxiety, but also for our entire lives.

Abraham became righteous because He believed what God believed about him (Rom. 4:3). I pray we all would have a belief changing, life-changing encounter with the heart of God.

Many Blessings, BW


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