To Build the Spiritual Immune System

Ebola, that deadly virus is rocking parts of the globe. Other diseases throughout history have done the same. There are three main approaches to many diseases, isolation to prevent exposure, succumb to the disease and hope for survival, and with some diseases, inoculate beforehand for greater resistance. We can learn from these approaches and apply the concepts to our faith and lives.

Jesus

Jesus knew the world needed to know the good news of the kingdom. He knew that the harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few (1). So he sent out 70 of his disciples to preach throughout the surrounding cities. However, he did not send them empty handed, he taught his disciples about his kingdom and they had saw him interact with others and heard his message. They then went out and emulated that example and his teachings (2).

The act of sending out his disciples seemed to have a three fold reason: 1) so others could hear of salvation and his Kingdom, 2) to prepare the way for his preaching and 3) so the disciples would have hands on experiences sharing the Gospel to prepare for future experiences.

This builds a backdrop for many things we can learn. However, in this post, I want to focus on one aspect, the third main reason for sending out the disciples – to prepare them for future experiences.

Time of Questions

I have some questions. How do we learn? What are some powerful steps for deception prevention? In what way can we prepare for and be protected from the philosophical ugly heads that keep raising against our faith? How do we prepare ourselves, young disciples of Christ and our children from evil attacks on the Christian mind?

Lesson from Biology – Isolation vs. Inoculation

Lets answer this by considering our immune system. We can do two things to prevent ourselves from contagious disease 1) isolation from that infection or 2) inoculate the body to be prepared to defend itself.

Isolation is sometimes the essential and only mode to be protected from disease. One separates oneself from the communicable diseases – such as Ebola. However, with isolation comes a down fall, one has no immunity. In the world of ideas, many isolated young people, rebel in their independence. Their views were never challenged in age appropriate situations and settings, so they never were able to build a solid foundation. They had very little experience, foundation and growth. If we isolate ourselves we lose reality and the ability to learn and affect others.

Acquiring the infection is only worse. It would be crazy to go into battle without proper weapons and training. They have had now experience,  and walk into the midst of fire. Most succumb to the disease.

However, while isolation and infection are inadequate, inoculation of one’s system build resistance and immunity is of great value. Allow controlled and structured experiences for immunity and growth is the answer Jesus used to prepare his disciples for future evangelism, push-back and persecution.

Using these elementary principles of immunology, let’s apply this to our own lives. As humans, we are not usually isolated, nor necessarily should be from each other. Being a Christian does not change this interaction. In fact followers of Christ are supposed to be ambassadors of the Kingdom, being “light” and “salt” effecting those around us (3). But it is a dangerous place out there, so what do we do?

Three Main Steps

I can think of three main steps that will help one build “resistance” and prevent from getting sidelined or discouragement.
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  1. Construct a firm foundation for life. In a previous post titled “Wrong!” (Click Here) I detailed out how to protect and shelter the young. However, at this time, one needs to be building a healthy and the spiritual “immune system”. At our disposal we have tools and weapons – such as the Holy Writ, prayer, the power of God to use our God given wisdom and the philosophy of Christ which builds knowledge and reason to prep for reality. As goes the adage “more sweat in training, less blood in battle.
  2. Be real a real follower of Christ. Outlined in a post titled “Christian Narcissism” (Click Here), I describe how we are called to do Christ’s commands and shun hypocrisy. We need to love God with our whole being and love our fellow man. Without this foundation, all or efforts are void. How can we be valuable to prevent deception and how can we help the spiritually immature and the sick if we ourselves aren’t prepared?
  3. Three main steps of inoculation. As with any preparation or training there are three main steps to proficiency and mastery. This last step brings everything together. First we need to train to gain in understanding and knowledge. Second is the time of testing and examination, which is where we are put on the spot in difficult situations to give us experience and help drive us to learn more. Third is a debriefing, appraisal or analysis where assessment takes place. We look at our experiences and find our weakness and return back to the training phase. Anyone who takes time to think and learn automatically does these three main steps. However, having them spelled out helps us focus to excellence. This process is also called discipleship. Without this, our spiritual “immune systems” will be weak.

As we train ourselves and others we must keep this in mind, prepare them for the real world by solid and clear training, let tests present themselves in a controlled manner and then let questions assessment check ones status.  The last step is essential to clear the confusion and indulges in more training. If our desire is to help others, we ourselves must have a strong “spiritual immune system”.

What’s your thoughts, please post below: 

What experiences do you have in this area? What are some things that you could prepare for? Who in your life do you think you can “inoculate” and how are you going to do it?

(1) Matthew 9:37
(2) He sent them out at least twice, at on time he sent out the 12, at another time he sent out the 70. Matthew 10, Luke 9, Luke 10 and Mark 6.
(3) 1 Corinthians  5:10

Image source: UK Ministry of Defence
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