And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2 Command the children of Israel, that they put out of the camp every leper, and every one that hath an issue, and whosoever is defiled by the dead: Both male and female shall ye put out, without the camp shall ye put them; that they defile not their camps, in the midst whereof I dwell. 4 And the children of Israel did so, and put them out without the camp: as the Lord spake unto Moses, so did the children of Israel. Num 5:1-4
Leprosy was/is considered a horrible, physically defiling, and contagious disease. In biblical days, people with this disease had to be set apart from the healthy otherwise it spread. Today, we have antibiotics which can keep leprosy from progressing further, once it is disagnosed.
I stopped to meditate on this dreadful disease and how similar to our spiritual life it is. Just as God commanded that those with leprosy be put out of the camp, so should we do in our own spiritual lives to protect ourselves from “spiritual leprosy.” A simple Google search brought me to various websites that outlined the symptoms of leprosy. I thought it would be interesting to see what these symptoms were and how we can compare them to our own “spiritual leprosy.”
1. Symptoms begin within five years from when the bacteria enters the body. This period is known as the ‘leprosy incubation period.’ After salvation, I am not actively reading God’s word daily and growing spiritually, I am subjecting myself to a life of battles with sin. (Psalm 119:9) The more I allow sin to dwell in me, the more severe my spiritual leprosy becomes.
2. Leprosy ranges from mild to severe – from one or a few skin areas infected to many areas, which in turn damage to many organs. I was once told that a Christian should keep his sins on a very short list with God – confessing, repenting and forsaking these sins daily. The repercussions from our sins can range from mild to severe spankings from our Heavenly Father. (II Corinthians 6:14) Some consequences are irreversible. A good example is disobeying God’s word and marrying an unsaved person. The life that will follow will be filled with hardships.
3. Rashes and bumps begin to appear and the affected areas become numb and muscles may become weak. As we continue in sin, we develop “spiritual bumps and rashes” which become evident to those around us. For example, making it a practice of not going to church will surface in my actions. My language may become more foul, I may find myself hanging out with unsaved people, etc. Sin’s bacteria surfaces in my actions. (Colossians 3:5-6)
4. A diagnosis is made and confirmed by taking a biopsy of the affected tissue. It becomes evident to the more spiritual friends and church members that this person has spiritual leprosy by the fruit that is produced, or not produced in this case.
5. Antibiotics cannot cure the damage already done but can prevent leprosy from progressing. The scriptures are the antibiotic that keeps us clean. As we submit to the Holy Spirit’s leading, repent and move on, we keep spiritual leprosy at bay. The repercussions of our sin prior to the scripture’s antibiotic may continue on. (Romans 7:5) For example, a baby born out of wedlock is still going to be a part of your life even though you have repented of the sin of fornication. (Hebrews 12:11)
As we grow in Christ, we must keep ourselves from the sinful world and its leprosy. You are who you hang around with. The world’s “leprous skin” will surface on you if you do not separate yourself from it. (Philippians 3:17-19) If your sin were to be revealed on your outward appearance, how would YOUR skin look? Would your skin be soft and smooth looking or would it have lesions and oozing? I know this is a graphic thought but sin’s effects are never pretty. One only needs to speak to someone who has smoked for years and is dying of lung cancer to see/hear of its effects. And one only needs to speak to a Christian who has gone the way of the world to see that he’s become more like the world than a Christian.
This was a good way to view my sin and its effects on my life, both physically and spiritually. May I keep that at the forefront of my mind as I live each day – thinking of the consequences of my sin so it causes me to stay clear from it! The only way to keep this ever present before me is to stay in God’s word. (Psalm 119:11)