Throughout history, there have been various diseases and outbreaks that have caused widespread illness and even panic. From the Bubonic Plague which began in Europe between 1346 to 1353, to the Spanish Flu epidemic which took place in 1918, to even the most recent outbreak of Legionnaire’s disease in NYC. There have been historical accounts of diseases that have spread and killed many throughout human history. Even so, there is a common term that is associated with multiple illnesses and that is the term called ‘cancer.’
Whether it be breast cancer, colon cancer, or prostate cancer, the impact of cancer upon one’s body can be fatal if not treated. However, one such fact about cancer is that it is formed from an individual cancer cell. According to the American Cancer Society, it is said that cancer occurs when a cell or cells begin to grow out of control. This in turn means that once a cell is cancerous, it spreads and begins to corrupt other healthy cells. Once this occurs it then means a weakening of the immune system which results in serious illness and or death. However, to eliminate the cancerous cells and their damage, treatments (whether chemically induced or naturally ingested) are prescribed to produce a remission of the cancer in question.
Spiritually speaking, sin exhibits the same characteristics as a cancer cell. If untreated or the remedy who is Jesus Christ is not introduced, then our sinfulness begins to cause our lives to spiral out of control. In the book of James chapter 1, the writer who is James mentions the impact that sin can have on those who allow it to rule in their lives. Verses 14-15 state the following:
(NLT) “Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”
It important to note that the context of this part of the chapter was written in order to explain the aspects of testing and temptation. In verses 12-13, James tells us that we should not assert blame towards God for allowing us endure or experience temptation or testing. He wants every reader to understand that it isn’t God who tempts humanity, rather temptation comes from the evil desires that are within us.
James makes it clear that all of us will be and we are tempted to sin or commit evil acts. The sin that is already within us from birth is what creates the temptation or the desire to go against the Will of God. James says that it is our desires which entice us and drag us away. Once we have the urge or the temptation is presented, then the possibility of being lured away becomes a reality.
However, notice what verse 15 says:
(NLT) “These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.”
It is the sinful desires within all of us that can give birth to sinful behavior. Basically, he uses the word ‘birth’ to denote that there is a process that takes place concerning sin. Some translations of this scripture such as the King James Version, use the term ‘conceive.’ Basically, to conceive is to produce which then means to give life to something. Much of the temptations within us start within our heart and in our mind. The mind and heart are the most powerful parts of our being, especially that of the mind.
Proverbs 23:7 says that what a man thinks in his heart, he is. This means that what we think of ourselves or allow to penetrate into our heart and mind is what we become or do. If you allow the enemy who is satan to flood your heart and mind with sinful lusts, then eventually you will act upon it. The conception of sin is in a single thought. The key is that when the thought is left open for further ponderance then your actions will follow suit to what your mind focuses on.
James continues by saying that when sin is allowed to grow it gives birth to death. The keyword as with the theme of this post and a previous post is ‘grow.’ What happens when sin begins to grow? James gives us the prognosis which is ‘death.’ Once again, this doesn’t just mean a physical death but also spiritually. The consequences of a life that is ruled by sin is one that begins to erode in all senses.
Our global society has become a testament to the depravity and morbidity that comes when sin is embraced. Various countries around the world have been thrown into confusion because of entire populations that have forsaken the laws and ways of God. A blatant refusal to accept Jesus Christ as Lord & Savior has taken root within the hearts of many, and as a result death both physically and spiritually has reigned over many nations.
The fact is that when we decide that we want be a god unto ourselves or that we want others to be our god, then we are handed over to our own lusts and evil desires. It is also important to note that sin grows not only within our own lives, but it affects the lives of others. Entire families and human populations have been affected by the wickedness that exists in leadership capacities. World governments have produced chaos, oppression, and disdain among their citizenry. That is because, like a cancer cell, sin starts with one person and spreads to others.
However, there is great news and that is Jesus Christ is the remedy. How do we escape the harsh reality of what sin can do to us? Here are a couple of considerations:
1. Our mind must be renewed and transformed daily – For those of you who are not in Christ, your mind is given to depravity because you are in sin. However, when you accept Jesus Christ, He is the one who renews your mind. Romans 12:2 says that we must be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Why does the Apostle Paul focus on the mind? Simply because the mind is where sin is conceived. This means that if our mind is not renewed by Jesus Christ, then we will operate out of our sin. Even for those of us who are in Christ, we must be renewed daily through God’s Word, in His Presence and in constant prayer. Without renewal, then our mind will revert to carnality.
2. We must yield our lives unto the control of the Holy Spirit – This falls in line with being filled with the Holy Spirit. When you and I have accepted Christ and we are in a relationship with Him, we have access to the power of the Holy Spirit. This means, that when we seek God for the in-filling of the Holy Spirit that our lives become controlled by the Holy Spirit as long as we are obedient. We gain the fruits of the Spirit because we are spending time in God’s presence. 1 Corinthians 2:14 says that the person without the Spirit cannot accept the things of the Spirit because it seems like foolishness. In order to avoid the growth of sin, we must yield our lives over to the Holy Spirit to renew us and cleanse us of all unrighteousness.
The overall word to remember is that we must ‘surrender’ our lives unto God through Christ. Naturally, we are all inclined to sin and be disobedient. However, it is by accepting Christ and giving our lives away to God every day that will remedy the growth of sin in our lives. If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord & Savior, your life is being ruled by sin. To be free from that sin, you must confess your sin unto Jesus Christ and accept His sacrifice. Then and only then will you be able to avoid the death that comes with living a life in unrepentance.