Fighting Infection

We had an unexpected and unwelcome guest drop in at house last week. The Flu! Clif became another victim of the virus that’s been rampant in the Atlanta metro of late. Once his diagnosis was confirmed, I mounted a largely solo campaign to keep everyone else in the house from succumbing to the powerful and miserable effects (headache, body aches, high fever, nausea, fatigue, etc.) of this particular strain of the virus.

My strategy included:
-Calling Ryan to make sure he wasn’t planning a surprise visit home from college
-Sending Jason off to his best friend’s house in advance of a three day camp-out with the Boy Scouts
-Cancelling my girl’s day out with Laura for Saturday
-Instructing Laura’s boyfriend to make sure that his plans didn’t include coming to visit us on Sunday
-Sequestering Leia in other parts of the house
-Maintaining a washing, sanitizing and disinfecting blitz to keep the common areas of the house as bug-free as possible.

And, not surprisingly, no one objected to my efforts to try to keep them healthy. Jason didn’t insist on staying at the house one more day. Laura didn’t show up for an unannounced visit. Leia didn’t ask a single question about how close she could sit to her Dad on the couch or when she could use one of his cups. That’s because we all believed the doctor’s warning that this was an especially contagious virus and everyone wanted very much to avoid the misery and potential complications that come with a bad case of the flu.

You know, I wonder what kind of suffering Christians could avoid if we responded to sin the same way we treat the flu virus. Most of us are so quick to trust the instructions of a human doctor and often so very hesitant to heed the clear guidelines that come from the One who created the universe and holds all things together. (Col. 1:17)  Scripture counsels us to “flee” immorality (1 Cor. 6:18), idolatry (1 Cor 10:14), and youthful lusts (2 Tim 2:22), and to avoid “foolish controversies” (Titus 3:9), worldly, empty chatter, (2 Tim. 2:16) and to stay away from those who are unholy, ungrateful, conceited, and reckless (2 Tim 3:2-4).

But, a wise attitude of avoidance and prevention isn’t often what we adhere to when it comes to protecting ourselves from even the most obvious and easily avoidable dangers described in scripture. Too frequently, we fail to take even the most basic precautions even though we can all point to countless examples of people, both in the Scriptures and our personal lives, who suffered the ill effects of ignoring the healthy instructions of a loving God and wound up flat on their backs in enormous and obvious pain.

While we can never completely rid our environment of all contaminants, in Ephesians 4:22-24 we find a prescription for three godly practices that, if heeded, will help prevent the spread of sin in our lives.

Sanitize: “Put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires,” Any effort to promote health has to start with deep cleaning. Straightening up, dusting or moving things around won’t do anything to get rid of germs and viruses. You have to clean tainted areas thoroughly and either wash or throw away surfaces that breed infection. The same is true spiritually. You will never grow godliness in an atmosphere of decay. So step number one will always be putting off corruption and ungodly practices.

Be Diligent -“be made new in the attitude of your minds.” It’s not enough to just wipe counters and sanitize your hands once. You have to be meticulous to clean and re-clean problem areas. Spiritually speaking, diligence is key. If you really want to promote a healthy soul, it takes more than cleaning up outward behavior once. Effective sanitation begins in your mind… by altering the way you think. That’s one of the primary functions of the Word of God in a believer’s life. It teaches you how to consistently reorder your thoughts in ways that are consistent with your new life in Christ.

Change your lifestyle“put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” If you really want to stay healthy, you don’t just start cleaning when a virus shows up at your house. You have to develop a lifestyle of holiness. This is why so many believers fall to the same temptations over and over and over. Even committed believers can get fatigued of scrubbing up and through neglect, allow lying, anger, lust, jealousy, revenge and so many other impurities to pile up, only to become concerned with them when suffering and pain lay us up! At that point, it requires a double effort to knock down and clear out the contaminants that we voluntarily let into our system.

Whether we recognize it or not, we’re being influenced by the prevailing attitude, practices and belief systems of people who, at best, don’t know God, and at worst are God’s enemies, actively opposing His will. Remember that how we think will always determine how we behave. Always. So, the more you limit contact with these attitudes and beliefs, the more spiritually healthy and strong you’ll be to “Fight the good fight of the faith. (and) take hold of the eternal life to which you were called” (1 Tim 6:12).


27 thoughts on “Fighting Infection

  1. Joe Rodriguez says:

    Excellent piece! Truly insightful, convicting, and reassuring. Your analogies are amazing and so on point. Thank you for allowing God to use your writing skills to breath hope and strength to the body of Christ. You said, “Effective sanitation begins in your mind… by altering the way you think.” That is a very powerful statement that complements Romans 12:2 “Do not conform to the pattern of this world [contaminate yourself], but be transformed by the renewing of your mind [chaning your thought patterns].” And as you states, this can only be achieved by the renewing power of God’s Spirit through obedience to His word. Thanks again Karen. Blessings!

  2. Julie says:

    Great analogy Karen. Your writing is an inspiration. Thanks for sharing and I’m glad to hear your home is flu-free now.

  3. Lori Schumaker says:

    What a great comparison! We do all we can to get medically healthy and we need to do the same for our spiritual (and emotional!) life! Thanks so much for sharing this post at #MomentsofHope! Love it!
    Blessings and smiles,

  4. June says:

    Excellent post, Karen! What we put in front of our eyes is the first line of defense in all these areas. Trusting that everyone is back to healthy at your house! Have a blessed weekend!

  5. nylse says:

    Sin is a sickness with more long term ramifications than the flu.
    You definitely attacked the flu – I’m not like you. But I definitely am vigilant about sin.
    Great post and analogy.

  6. Dawn Boyer says:

    Great object lesson here! I tend to get a little control freakish when sickness invades my home so I really loved the analogy to tackle sin the same way. It’s stuff we know, right, but the whole parable story re-telling makes it sink in a little bit better. Great reminders here. Thank you!


  7. Charlie | says:

    I have never thought of sin like this! Thank you for the new perspective. I love this: ” I wonder what kind of suffering Christians could avoid if we responded to sin the same way we treat the flu virus.” How thought provoking and true! Thank you for sharing this post at Encouraging Word Wednesday this week!

  8. Brenda says:

    I’m sorry y’all’ve had that unwelcome flu come for a visit, Karen. Sounds like you were able to contain it. Prayers it stays away from the rest of you. — “You will never grow godliness in an atmosphere of decay.” Great phrase, Karen. I pray the Lord helps me cultivate a lifestyle of holiness, so I’m able to always recognize when something is not of Him. — Thanks for sharing your words with #ChasingCommunity today, Karen. ((hug))

  9. Ugochi says:

    This is a profound analogy… hmnnn… the way we attack sickness.
    We are asked to flee every appearance of evil and not to give the enemy a foot hold. Even when we do make a mistake, we should attack the sin like David often does and get back on track with God immediately.
    This is a great read Karen, thanks for sharing.
    Have a super blessed day!

  10. Aletha Oglesby says:

    Insightful analogy. If other people in your community had done what you did- stay home, keep visitors away- maybe your family would not have become ill. Our actions don’t just affect us and our family, but those around us.

    1. Karen says:

      Excellent point! Sin… just like the flu… doesn’t stay to ourselves. If we don’t clean up well, our ‘infections’ impact others dramatically. Thanks for adding to the conversation!

  11. Kristi Woods says:

    Karen, this is one of those pull-me-in posts. It’s really good. And, WHY don’t we treat sin similarly to the flu? Great analogy. Loved every bit of this – seriously. I hope your home is “fluless” by now, too. #heartencouragementThursday

    1. Karen says:

      My husband is better and back to work and it didn’t get any of the rest of us, though I think my hands were almost raw from using so much sanitizer! haha! The truth is we need to just as work hard keeping ourselves free from sin too.

  12. Cheryl says:

    What a wonderful, edifying post! I am so sorry you had the flu visit your home, but it sounds like you warded off a worse attack by your diligence! I love the way you compared it to sin and the things we can do to avoid falling into satan’s traps. I always find such encouragement here and so enjoy visiting with you. God bless you!

    1. Karen says:

      Thanks for reading Cheryl! No one wants the flu at their house and I’m thankful to report that we are past the danger zone, and no one else got it at our house! Believers need to definitely be as diligent about spotting Satan’s traps! Glad you are following along!

  13. Tammy says:

    Awesome Blog Karen…You always write in such a way to bring the truth to us in our daily lives.. Thank you my friend for all you do!!

  14. Nicki says:

    What a great way to attack sin, with an analogy that we can all relate to, the flu. Love this!

    1. Karen says:

      It’s makes avoiding sin much easier to relate to when we think about how badly we don’t want to be physically sick. How much more should we avoid spiritual sickness! Thanks Nicki!

  15. Kathleen says:

    Sounds like you know how to prevent the spread of flu, Karen! Also…the spread of sin! Appreciated the tips. Especially: “Remember that how we think will always determine how we behave. Always.”

  16. Brenda says:

    This was great! Thank you so much for sharing these truths from God’s Word!


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