Posted by: howvoicebegan | 29/03/2011

Purpose Beyond Flesh and Blood

I often like to read the Bible out of pleasure; in fact, it is usually in these moments that the Holy Spirit most profoundly speaks to me. There is certainly a time and place for digging deep and studying, but there is also considerable joy in reading God’s word just as it is: just God speaking directly to you.

I found I had wandered into Ephesians 6, a chapter that I am well familiar with and have read countless times. I have heard countless messages about the armour of God and how each piece of armour is significant and what it symbolizes. But, something struck me deeply as I picked up two words I normally skip over to get to the “real” message of Ephesians 6. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world….” (Ephesians 6:12)
The phrase “flesh and blood” caught me in a new light and challenged a new insight about health. This is not a verse that’s just saying, “Satan and his demons are out to get you, so watch out,” or, “You will come under attack at some point in your spiritual life.” It tells us what is really worth fighting.

In Mamelodian context: try telling a newly diagnosed HIV+ child or an end-stage AIDS young adult that their battle is not against their blood, but of spiritual forces that grip this earth. Regardless of the reason behind their status, be it innocent or due to choice, putting in the realm of a spiritual battle equips the afflicted with a God-given strength to face the future.

What’s the use in fighting for a life without purpose? Why implement HAART (highly active anti-retroviral treatment) to prolong a life of poverty, orphanhood, or worse? In a “secular” or religiously neutral society, that is simply Darwinianism; the weak (those with a life-shortening virus or illness) are weeded out and the strong survive. So why sustain the weak? Let’s make our next level of evolution a stronger species, genus, or kingdom.
It’s because this is not a Darwinian world. It’s not dog-eat-dog, it’s not survival of the fittest. It’s a world with purpose. It’s a world with people who mean something, not just a fluke (or freak) of nature occurrence. There is a reason we search for cures, educate on prevention, and strive to give the highest quality life we can. It’s because people matter. We matter because we are designed with purpose; our purpose is to glorify God and to have an ever-growing relationship with him.

I hope my meal planning for the hospice will go far to nourishing the bodies of those we care for. Health is certainly important. But, I think we are mistaken if we throw medications and food at someone and somehow deem it as sufficient for sustaining life. It neglects the entire spiritual battle that encroaches all around us and involves us whether we like it or not. For some, it’s a battle for the mind. For others, it’s over their very flesh and blood.

I’m not trying to over-spiritualize a virus, but I do believe a major component to healing lies within surrendering the self to God and living a life to glorify him. There is no known cure for HIV/AIDS. I’m not sure if you are aware, but there is also no known cure for death, period. None of us are getting out of here alive, but what does that matter if we are purely material beings wandering aimlessly through the universe? But, so many people take up battle against their own flesh and blood, be it cancer, HIV, or an eating disorder, that they miss the point. We miss THE point: it’s not about the condition of our earthly, tangible bodies, but the condition of our spirit. Shall we continue to wage war against the ephemeral, or shall we prepare to face the ultimate battle over our spirit?

Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground. – Ephesians 6:13

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