Did you know your spiritual immune system needs “feeding” just as much as your physical immune system does? We have the same two choices in the spiritual realm as we do in the physical realm: we can live a constructive or destructive spiritual lifestyle. The way you handle the troubles life brings will depend almost entirely on how well-nourished your spiritual immune system is.

Consider the apostle Paul. What made it possible for him to rebound so consistently when wave after wave of trouble came crashing in upon him? He was “hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed;...perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed” (2 Corinthians 4:8-9). His spiritual experience was the equivalent of a person walking through a laboratory of deadly pathogens, viruses, and bacteria with no protection — yet not succumbing to any of them. His spiritual immune system was so strong that, while he experienced the occasional fever, chills, headaches, and sniffles, he was never knocked out of action. His spiritual body was well-fed; his defenses were strong; his resources were well-stocked.

If you are to survive physically in this world, your body’s immune system must be strong. But if you are to survive spiritually, your spiritual immune system must be stronger. Because, as many have proved and are currently demonstrating, your physical health can be taken away in the providence of God without destroying your spiritual health. Many Christians, confined to a bed or wheelchair, continue to exhibit a sweet fragrance and aroma of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their spiritual immune systems gave them victory over things which even their bodies could not withstand.

So how do you keep your spiritual immune system in good shape? Let me begin by drawing five parallels between the physical and spiritual dimensions of our lives — both types of immune systems need the same basic things:

1. Immune systems need food. Fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are the staples of our physical diet, but the Word of God is the spiritual food we rely on. When the words and will of God become sweeter to you than honey, you will know your spiritual immune system is being fed properly (Psalm 119:103).

2. Immune systems need water. Ninety-two percent of our blood, and nearly 98 percent of our digestive juices, are comprised of water. We are literally surrounded by water, which is a beautiful picture of the way we ought to live spiritually — surrounded by the presence of the Holy Spirit.

3. Immune systems need exercise. The body’s lymphatic system — filled with disease-fighting white blood cells — circulates in the body as a result of physical motion; it is not circulated under pressure like blood is. And spiritual ministry provides the interaction you need with others that continually stimulates you to love and good deeds

4. Immune systems need rest. “It is useless...to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to his loved ones” (Psalm 127:2, NLT). God can speak to your spirit even as you sleep, healing and refreshing your heart and mind. It is the quietness of the night-time hours which allows the Spirit complete access to your undistracted spirits. (Matthew 11:28-30)
5. Immune systems need pure thoughts. Proverbs 14:30 says that “a tranquil spirit revives the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones” (NET). David said that when he kept silent about his sin, his bones wasted away (Psalm 32:3 NIV).
When you live a healthy lifestyle, you don’t live in fear of germs; you rely on consistent investments in your immune system to defend yourself against sickness. And when you make equally consistent investments in your spiritual immune system, you don’t live in fear of what’s around every bend in life’s road. Healthy portions of the Word, the Spirit, service, spiritual rest, and a pure heart don’t guarantee that all troubles will stay away. But it does guarantee that when they come, they’ll succumb to you — not vice versa!
Dr. Jeremiah is the founder and host of Turning Point for God and senior pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California. For more information on Turning Point, go to www.DavidJeremiah.org.