I heard on the radio yesterday of six more deaths due to the flu here in Washington, 34 thus far! Although Paula and I have both been fighting something, our symptoms have been fatigue, congestion, and coughing rather than intestinal and respiratory distress with a fever. We are about half-way through the flu season and “public service announcements” are still urging people to get a flu shot. I got mine a couple of months ago—an injection of some strains of the virus which are dead, from which your body builds antibodies which can fight off the live virus if you are exposed. Before they gave me the shot they told me of the risks and asked for my consent. Here in the Pacific Northwest Physicians are recommending the injection for everyone between 18 and 64. With the flu near epidemic rates, the choice between immunization or infection seems pretty straightforward—when it comes to the flu, I prefer an injection to infection.
God used the experience, including yesterday’s newscast about another death, to remind me of another situation—one where many people have been unknowingly immunized against infection. Unfortunately, not only was the immunization administered without knowing consent, in this other situation the infection is to be much preferred over immunization. You see, the infection I am talking about is an infection which enables you to be hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; and struck down, but not destroyed. Wow! If those are the effects, I’d definitely prefer the infection to the immunizing injection. What about you?
Of course I don’t have scientific proof, but I believe it is possible to inject people with a dead form of truth (perhaps by exposure to [or “teaching” by] those Paul describes as “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof”), to the effect that those injected become immunized. They think they “know the truth and are free”—yet they find their personal experience does not match the life Jesus promised—life actually experienced by His early followers. Thereafter they can be exposed to the truth, but because they are immunized, they don’t become infected. In time such people become disillusioned—some of them will become crushed, despairing, and destroyed; they may conclude that everyone else is faking it (so they will too), Christianity is a lie (so why bother), or that it’s not for them (even those once infected can lose heart, so why are we surprised if the merely inoculated walk away?). Maybe you know some people like this; maybe, just maybe, to a greater degree than you are willing to admit I have just described your own experience. If so, I have good news! God is in the business of bringing life to the dead. He is fully capable of bringing real infection to those who’ve previously been merely inoculated! But He won’t do it without your consent: Are you willing to catch the fever? If you are already infected, are you willing to expose others?
Over the next several weeks I hope to expose you to contagious truth! I can’t guarantee you will get infected, that is up to you and the Spirit of God—but if living “hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; and struck down, but not destroyed” appeals to you, talk with Jesus right now about your desire to catch His fever. It is not about you, it’s about Jesus; He is the one who leads us in His triumph.
Until next time, ask Him to let you see Him as Triumphant and praise Him as The Victor.