Sickness

Today, my two youngest kids are sick. Let me correct that. They've been sick for a couple of days now. Laying on the couch, running high fever, occasional vomit sick. It's fascinating to observe how sickness affects them so differently. My youngest daughter simply drops where her body fails her. I've found her draped across the steps asleep (hardwood floor steps, mind you) and she is consumed by this persistent fog. On the other hand, my son is much more vocal about his maladies. He doesn't embrace being sick very well and can't understand why he can't go outside or attend preschool when his temperature cracks the 102 mark. He's always ready to roll, until he collapses and succumbs to a more than necessary nap. It's a battle of extremes.
I spent a few years as a paramedic, surrounded by some pretty sick people. I'm not sure exactly how it worked, but when I was enclosed in a metal box mounted on wheels, surrounded by hacking and leaking and spewing people, I rarely got sick. One morning when I arrived for a shift my supervisor ordered me to go to the health department immediately for some high dose antibiotics. It seems as if a patient I had recently transported was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis, which means I was in tight quarters with a patient who was fighting a pretty serious illness. Yet I felt great and never got sick.

Now as a parent of four kids, a week hardly goes by when someone isn't laid up for at least a day. Health professionals are constantly reminding us to wash our hands regularly and take all the necessary precautions to avoid spreading germs, yet it seems that the more careful we are to avoid the microbial culprits the more success they have in affecting us.

Sin works a lot that way.

Let me say this first: Sin is bad. "There is no one righteous, no not one." (Romans 3:10) It's what severs our relationship with God and sin is what led Jesus to offer His life as a substitute for ours on the cross. Yet the effects of sin are fluid and ever-changing. It seems as if the more sensitive that we are to the effects of sin and the harder we fight to live righteous lives before God, the more sin has a way of creeping into our lives to jumble things up and derail us from our pursuit of holiness.

When we are resigned to live in any old way that suits us, unconcerned about whether or not our lives are pleasing to God, then we won't be as sensitive to sin because we will actually be under it's ownership. "When you were slaves of sin, you were free from allegiance to righteousness." (Romans 6:20) As a student in college, I rarely paused to think of the fact that I was actually a part of the university. Instead, I went to class and and immersed myself in the college scene. It wasn't long before I became virtually inseparable from my surroundings. Giving in to the sickness of sin, we can become immune to it's advances, becoming almost content with who we have become.

And please know that our enemy the devil has no qualms with this. When we become indifferent to righteousness and settle on a mediocre life of settling for where we are spiritually, why would we find ourselves under excess attack by sinful temptations and struggles? That would be a waste of the enemy's time since we would already be serving his purposes. He cannot claim us for his own, yet if he can draw our affections away from Jesus then we are no threat to him. He would rather focus his efforts on those who are still passionately pursuing the heart of God.

This leads to an obvious, and perhaps even uncomfortable question. Are you finding yourself oppressed by the enemy as he reacts to your pursuit of the heart of God, or are you existing in a truce-like state of spiritual anemia? There is cure for sin sickness. It's Jesus. We can still display the symptoms of the illness if we choose, but we were created for things better than this. It's time to get off of the couch.

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