This afternoon, Kimberly and I spent some time talking with the head Pharmacist with the transplant program here at the hospital. It was a very instructive time. As a transplant recipient, Kimberly will have to take a set of medications twice daily for the rest of her life. These medications are called “anti-rejection” drugs. They will suppress Kimberly’s immune system so that it will not attack the “foreign body” in her abdomen, the transplanted kidney. The medications are necessary, because the natural condition of our body will fight things put inside it that are not “original equipment.” This is how God designed our bodies to fight off infections and diseases. In order for the transplanted organ to survive, Kimberly’s body’s defense mechanism must be depressed so the new kidney can survive.
Hearing about these medications made me think about a deeper spiritual reality. As believers in Jesus Christ, our spiritual bodies are equipped with a sin fighting defense system . . . the Holy Spirit. God placed His Spirit inside His children to “guide them to all truth” and to equip and empower them to overcome sin and live a righteous life. For the believer in Christ walking daily in the power of the Holy Spirit, sin is not very palatable. I do not mean that sin is not tempting, or momentarily enjoyable, but for the one who is trusting in Christ, sin ultimately over-promises and under-delivers. It leaves us with regret, disappointment, and disgust. When we experience these emotions regarding our sin, we are experiencing God’s spiritual immune system, fighting off the foreign body of sin.
However, at different times in our spiritual lives, believers can experience a suppression of the power of God’s sin fighting Spirit. This spiritual suppression is best diagnosed when sin no longer bothers the Christian . . . i.e the Christian deliberately and intentionally sins, yet no longer feels bad about doing it. The Bible has a phrase for this anti-spirit rejection: hardness of heart. In Hebrews 3:13 God speaks of the “hardness of heart” that His children can possess when He says, “But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called today, that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.” This passage informs the Christian that sometimes if we sin too much, our heart will no longer be disturbed by sin because it is hardened to it . . . no longer softly receiving its direction from the Lord. In a very real way, persistent sin serves as the anti-rejection drug of your spiritual life. . . it causes your body to tolerate a foreign object of affection.
For Kimberly, she takes the anti-rejection drugs so that the kidney (which was invited in and freely given) will bring life. However, for the Christian who persists in rebellious sin, the hard heart takes root and leads to a deadening of one’s relationship with Christ.
My encouragement to all is to pursue life . . . for Kimberly, that will mean taking a handful of pills each day . . . for the Christian, that means keeping short accounts with God concerning our sin that we would not find our hearts hardened to its deadly effects.
Fellow believers, we are to exhort one another to live a life of godliness that sin would not harden our hearts. This is one truth we should not reject.