Spiritual Growth Agendas, Topical Curriculum

An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

Main Point: Like a doctor is concerned about our physical health, God is concerned about our spiritual health. If we are “sick,” He gives us a “prescription” we must take for our own good.

Discussion Starter: Doctors’ Notes
This works best if you can read them off from up front, or even put them on a screen using PowerPoint. The bottom line is to make sure all the students can clearly hear and/or see the following diagnoses from doctors.

Say, “The following are from actual doctors’ notes on their patients’ charts. Get a load of this:

  1. Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.

  2. On the 2nd day the knee was better and on the 3rd day it disappeared completely.

  3. She has had no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very hot in bed last night.

  4. The patient has been depressed ever since she began seeing me in 1993.

  5. The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.

  6. Discharge status: Alive but without permission.

  7. Healthy appearing decrepit 69 year-old male, mentally alert but forgetful.

  8. Patient has left his white blood cells at another hospital.

  9. Patient’s past medical history has been remarkably insignificant with only a 40 pound weight gain in the past three days.

  10. Patient had waffles for breakfast and anorexia for lunch.

  11. She is numb from her toes down.

  12. While in the ER, she was examined, X-rated and sent home.

  13. The skin was moist and dry.

  14. Occasional, constant, infrequent headaches.

  15. Rectal exam revealed a normal size thyroid.

  16. She stated that she had been constipated for most of her adult life, until she got a divorce.

  17. Exam of genitalia reveals that he is circus sized.

  18. Skin: Somewhat pale but present.

  19. The pelvic examination will be done later on the floor.

  20. Patient has two teenage children, but no other abnormalities.

Transition Statement:
Isn’t it amazing that by examining us and noting our symptoms, doctors can diagnose our physical ailments and prescribe proper treatment? Well, God does the exact same thing for our spiritual lives. He looks at our actions – or lack of actions – and tells us what parts of our lives need healing. In a few moments, we’re going to examine our spiritual lives to see if we’re healthy or sick, and what can be done if we are sick.

Divide into Small Groups:
Let’s go ahead and split up into our discussion groups, and then afterward we’ll come back together for a final word.

CLICK HERE for a quick training article on how to maximize your small groups using our small group format—a great resource to equip your small group leaders.

Discussion Questions:

  1. AROUND THE CIRCLE: As we begin, let’s all take a second to share our names and our least favorite part of going to the doctor.

  2. ASK A FEW: Have you ever gone to see a doctor thinking you were OK, and got some bad news?

  3. ASK A FEW: What are conditions of good physical health? How about poor physical health?

  4. ASK A FEW: What are some of the conditions of good spiritual health? Poor spiritual health?

  5. ASK A FEW: What are some of the usual “spiritual sicknesses” today’s teenagers suffer from?

  6. ASK A FEW: If God gave us a prescription for our spiritual sickness, would we take it no matter what?

  7. Read the following passage:

      Revelation 3:14-22 (NIV)
      “To the angel of the church in Laodicea write:

      These are the words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the ruler of God’s creation. I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.

      Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest, and repent. Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.

      To him who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

  8. ASK SOMEONE: What were some of the concerns God had for this church in the city of Laodicea

  9. ASK A FEW: From the sounds of this passage, do you think God thought differently about the church than they thought about themselves? Why or why not?

  10. ASK A FEW: What do you think this means: “Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline”?

  11. ASK SOMEONE: What is the “prescription” that Jesus gives that church (in verse 19)?

  12. ASK A FEW: What does it mean to repent? (Leaders – Repent doesn’t just mean to feel sorry about something like sin, it means to turn your back on it. Repentance is much, much more than just an emotion; it’s a new way of life. It’s the U-turn of our lives. We were living in a sinful direction, but then we repented (did a U-turn), and are now living in a new direction.)

  13. ASK SOMEONE: What does Jesus say will happen if we obey His prescription? (Leaders – Jesus says he will come in and eat with us, but also, He will give us the opportunity to reign with Him.)

  14. ASK A FEW: By the way, what are some prescriptions we tend to give ourselves for our spiritual sicknesses?

  15. ASK A FEW: As stupid as this sounds, there are some people who do not take the prescriptions given to them by their doctor. Do you think that’s a possibility with the prescriptions God gives us, as well? Why or why not?

  16. AROUND THE CIRCLE: In what area(s) of your life will you apply God’s prescription of repentance this week?

Wrap Up:
It’s usually fairly easy to tell if you’re sick. You’ve got a runny nose, or a cough, or a sore throat, or a fever…or all of the above!

However, there are a few occasions when it’s not so easy to know if we’re sick. It might sneak up on us, or the symptoms might be delayed or even weakened, but the fact remains: we’re sick.

Regardless, in both cases, doctors give us prescriptions for those sicknesses. If we obey what the doctor tells us, we have our health restored and we feel better as a result.

This paints a helpful picture of how God treats our spiritual sicknesses. Most of the time, we know we’re sick and we know what causes it. We have sin in our lives that God doesn’t want us to have, and as a result, we suffer. In fact, sometimes those around us suffer, too.

But God gives us the prescription of repentance to help us recover. He doesn’t want us to be spiritually sick, so He commands us to repent of our sin and to live for Him instead of ourselves. When we do that – IF we do that – we are instantly healed! How cool!

But sometimes, our sin is a little trickier to spot. Sometimes, it a very dark, inner, personal sin that no one knows about…maybe even us. Maybe it’s pride. Maybe it’s fear or worry. Maybe it’s an unwillingness to forgive. If that’s the case, we want to provide everyone with an opportunity to be quiet with God.

We’re going to play some soft music for a few minutes and give you an opportunity to ask God if there is any sin in you that He needs to heal and that we need to repent from. You all have cards and pens you can write with, so take these next few moments to connect with God and let Him change your life by changing your spiritual health.

Leaders – Pass out the cards and pens. Put on an intimate worship CD or have the band play softly and instruct your group to find a place in the room so they can be away from everyone and pray as they fill out their “prescription from God.” After a few minutes, extend an invitation for those with questions to hang around and talk with an adult leader.

Close in Prayer

Idea by Danette Matty


Jonathan McKee

Jonathan McKee is the author of over twenty books including the brand new The Guy's Guide to FOUR BATTLES Every Young Man Must Face; The Teen’s Guide to Social Media & Mobile Devices; If I Had a Parenting Do Over; and the Amazon Best Seller - The Guy's Guide to God, Girls and the Phone in Your Pocket. He speaks to parents and leaders worldwide, all while providing free resources for youth workers on TheSource4YM.com. Jonathan, his wife Lori, and their three kids live in California.

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