How to fight the lasting effects of spiritual sickness

A new study in The Journal of Science last week showed some interesting things about measles vaccinations. Doctors have long understood that administering the measles vaccine to a child, adult,  or group of people, dramatically reduces the level of measles. But here’s the surprise: children who received the measles vaccine also showed much lower rates for contracting other diseases.

An international team of medical researchers funded by the Gates Foundation analyzed measles cases and death rates from other infections before and after widespread measles vaccination campaigns in the U.S., England, Wales, and Denmark. They found that, as expected, measles cases declined in all the countries. But they found an amazing trend, too: deaths from non-measles infections, including mumps, pneumonia, many respiratory, gastric, and diarrheal infections also dropped significantly.

The bottom line: People who got a vaccination for measles didn’t contract other infections or diseases nearly as often as those who were not vaccinated.

h3vr1f8-cai-brooke-cagle-healthWhy is that? The medical researchers found that when a person get measles (and they suspect other infections as well), their entire immune system is weakened dramatically. Per one doctor: “practically, it goes to zero”. This means that a person’s ability to fight other diseases breaks down. Subsequently, for months after having measles, a child or adult has almost no immune system. The math works like this: Avoiding measles keeps our immune system strong. Getting measles makes us susceptible to all sorts of other sicknesses. Sadly, the study found that children who were not immunized we much more likely to die from a range of illness.

Health begets health; sickness leads to more sickness. Avoid one sickness, or you might get a whole bunch more. I think this is true spiritually, too.

James 1:15 shows a progressive nature to sin. We see this all around us, in addictions and struggles. When we give in to a little sin, we open ourselves to a whole host of problems. Unbridled, a few martinis leads to a habit of drunken nights leads to rehab. A little white lie  becomes a regular lie becomes a heart which finds lying easy. A bit of lust for a new bag or tie becomes a love of things and can build to a shopping addiction. Sin is progressive.

Measles vaccinations might teach us that spiritual health is progressive, too. When we spend time with God in prayer, reflection, or study, we are immunizing ourselves against the spiritual diseases around us. A bit of prayer about the day’s work might actually be protecting us from other attacks or weaknesses–at school, on the road, or at home, too. Focusing for a moment of thankfulness for God’s blessings  pulls us upward toward him, and might help us be strong when that tough choice comes along later. Reading a Bible verse out loud each night before bed will help us sleep better, but it also might keep us from losing it or giving up the next day. And on and on. Health is progressive.

There is a word for the wise here: today, choose spiritually healthy practices to avoid a long list of spiritual sicknesses.

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.  – James 4:7-8

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