Nevertheless, as I read about it, I felt the finger of God on it.
Pus, as you’re probably aware, is the byproduct of a serious battle: It’s “actually a sign of your body’s ability to fight infection. Pus means your white blood cells are attacking infections present on or in your body.”
Pus means you’re putting up a fight, you’re fighting off an infection. The infection is the crap that the enemy is trying to infect you with: lies (such as “You deserve this kind of thing”) or identity statements (“This is what you are”), emotions (“I deserve this; I’m this way”), desires (“I want this; I enjoy that”), compromises (“You don’t need to actually live that way!”).
The treatment of a pus-filled infection (as outlined by the WiseGeek) falls into four categories:
- Time. Just as your body has a natural and effective immune system, which takes some time to work. Your spirit also has an immune system, and your spirit’s immune system – in a healthy spiritual person – will protect your soul (your mind, will, emotions). The regular maintenance of a love-life with Jesus is enough to handle most of our small pus-filled infections (aka “pimples”). This is why we need to live a life of spiritual passion, not (primarily) spiritual discipline: it is a better immune system. And just living a life in love with Him will be sufficient to keep much of the enemy’s drivel from infecting our soul.
- Topical antiseptic and careful hygiene. The purpose of both antiseptic and hygiene is cleanliness: in this application, not letting infections start and/or grow. Purity is an effective weapon against the enemy. There’s a reason that wisdom teaches us that if there’s an area of our life that we’re tempted with, we maintain a higher standard of purity there, so as to not be tempted. That’s why recovering alcoholics don’t drink socially. (But someone else who is not tempted towards drunkenness may have a beer with dinner.) This is also why fasting is a powerful tool: it works to reduce the natural desire of the flesh to take leadership of the soul, subjecting it to my spirit’s leadership.
- Heat. Medically, that’s a hot compress to help the pus drain out more quickly. Metaphorically, it’s still a process of turning up the heat. Spiritually, we turn up the heat – we apply external heat – by worshiping more or with greater passion, by sitting under more or more anointed teaching, by participating in more prayer gatherings or participating with more intensity. Turning up the heat is a great strategy to fight off the infections of the enemy. It’s also a powerful tool for igniting passion in our spirit. (I would add that while a life of passion is “the normal Christian life,” that life should not depend on a schedule heavy with prayer gatherings, additional church services or conferences: those are the gravy on the meat, not the meat itself.)
- Antibiotics. There are times that our body just can’t win the fight. And there times that our normal Christian life – our personal practices and our community practices – just aren’t enough to overcome a particularly vigorous infection. There are times when we need to get ourselves into the hot-seat and get a bunch of seasoned warriors to lay hands on, anoint with oil, and go to battle on my behalf. James 5:14 is not limited to physical sickness. There’s a time to visit the healing rooms. There’s a time to sign up for Cleansing Streams or Sozo Ministry or whatever inner healing & personal deliverance ministry you trust. There’s a time to gather an increased level of prayer support for a season.
Finally, it is probably worth noting that a small amount of pus is typically a sign of good health: it’s a sign that our immune system is working as it should. Similarly, a life without some opposition, without some things that need to be resisted, washed or guarded against is probably not being as effective as we should be.
The reality is that the stuff that makes infections – staphylococcus bacteria, or staph – actually lives on pretty much all human skin; it only becomes a problem when it gets inside the body. We are not intended to live in a staph-free environment. We’re to live in the midst of the world. We’re just not to let infection inside of us.
This is soooooo good! I see what you mean about passion being more effective than disciplines. Oh yes! So right! What a wonderful insight and analogy! I love it!
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