Discomfort: The Spiritual Immune System at Work
Viewpoint of Mark Cadwallader, Creation Moments Board Chairman
I cut the bottom of my foot the other day by jumping onto the edge of a cement step. It wasn’t too bad, but the skin tore off and it was painful. My wife cleaned it up, put on some ointment, covered it with gauze, and wrapped it with an elastic bandage to protect the wound. Soon I was able to walk vigorously, but after a few days, it was still sore, so I asked my wife to take another look. “It’s healing,” she said. The wound was red, swollen and warm to the touch, but I didn’t need the bandage anymore.
Now my wound is “all better”. This is the healing process.
In this world, our bodies are literally fighting all the time – fighting for biological life! God has created a life-saving healing mechanism for us – the immune system. And it was working in my cut foot. There was inflammation, swelling and heat – a sign that infection-fighting cells like white blood cells and killer T-cells – as well as body-repairing proteins – were being sent to the damaged area. Increased temperature meant cell metabolic rates were ratcheting up so that the work of fighting off infection and repairing and remodeling the damaged skin could proceed to my advantage.
If our bodies did not have these infection-fighting cells, we would succumb to even the most minor of wounds. The signs that we associate with illness – like fever or swelling – are actually signs that healing processes are going on. They indicate that a battle is taking place at the cellular level, with immune cells literally “eating” the germs of infection and others literally killing infectious organisms with enzyme coatings like a “toxic spray”.
There is a spiritual lesson in all this. Just as a biological battle rages against various agents damaging to our physiology, so we live our life surrounded by and engaged in spiritual warfare. In this, we are fighting not with physical and biological weapons but with spiritual ones – weapons that reach into people’s hearts. As the Bible says, “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ”
(2 Corinthians 10:4-5).
When the immune system is not working, there may be no fever, no inflammation, no swelling, no signs of fighting the infection – but then, we would die! There is a similarity here with spiritual struggles. If there is no resistance, no pushback to the “high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God”; if there is no use of spirituality to “bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ”, then the Church and the culture slides downward toward apathy and atrophy.
Healing requires pushback against a sinful and God-denying world. It requires standing in faith for biblical truth. Bible-truth says we need forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ. It says we should confess our sins and repent in sorrow, forgive others as we have been forgiven, abide in His wondrous love for us, and be thankful to our good and holy Creator.
These spiritual truths bring spiritual healing to people. Though it is difficult for us to consistently adhere to these spiritual truths, they are essentially simple alignments with biblical truth and with truthfulness (honesty) about ourselves.
When Adam and Eve sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, they tried to hide from God. They felt the guilt and the shame, but instead of coming to God in confession and repentance, they tried to deny their own fault in the matter – Adam blamed Eve, and Eve blamed the Serpent. They were not honest with themselves or with God. They did not embrace the whole truth.
Truth is vital. Embracing God’s truth about Him, about us and about the world leads to life! Denying the truth leads to death. One of the first accounts of the early Church is what happened to Ananias and Sapphira. To appear better than they were, they lied to the church and, as Peter pointed out, they lied to the Holy Spirit about the donation from the sale of some of their property. And they were struck dead in the midst of the congregation!
God was making the point, as He also made with Adam and Eve, that genuine truthfulness about our condition before Him (humility) is vital in order to be sustained and empowered by His life. Genuine healing flows out of this radical commitment to believe the truth and to “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 3). As with our immune system, we are called to “…fight the good fight of faith and lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called” (1 Timothy 6:12). This becomes essentially a “spiritual immune system”.
Not only does such an immune system help us each individually, it brings a healing process to the society and culture around us as well. “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14). As we’ve pointed out, the healing comes with doing spiritual battle against the damaging influences. And as with my cut foot, there is pain and inflammation, heat and distress with the battle that is raging within. Nevertheless, it is part of the healing process. So if there is no spiritual immune system activity – just as if there is no biological immune system activity – there is a succumbing to death.
This is why we need to call out and expose the false philosophies and lies of the world, the flesh and the devil – and to be thankful that there is a fight going on. This is why we need to keep proclaiming the truth about creation and exposing the lie of the theory of evolution with all its repercussions in this world. Thank you for standing and acting with us and for praying – because this is the spiritual immune system at work in God’s plan for the current age!
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