Compromise, Of A Different Sort

1 Thessalonians 5:23,

23. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Taking a holistic approach to our nature and existence, we can see from the above passage that we are integrated beings made up of three essential parts: body (soma in Greek), spirit (pneuma in Greek), and soul (psyche in Greek).

The question is, should we even bother taking a holistic approach in the first place? In a word, yes. First, this was the commonly maintained view that ancient Jews held on humanity. Men like Paul, who wrote this verse, would feel totally comfortable with the idea.

Second, when we undertake to understand these three areas of human existence, it becomes a must.

The body, or soma, is the totality of one’s person. It encompasses the physical frame, including the flesh (sarx in Greek). And obviously, incarnate within one’s physical frame lies the spirit and soul, as well.

The spirit, or pneuma, is the vitalizing essence. It is a what, not a who. There is no personality to one’s spirit. It’s simply a functioning thing. It is the breath of life from God (Genesis 2:7, Ecclesiastes 12:7). A similar word, of Latin derivation, is anima. The spirit is what animates us, i.e. makes us alive. The body without the spirit is dead (James 2:26). When the breath of life or spirit from God (not His Holy Spirit, just the general vitalization given to us by our Creator) comes into contact with flesh (at conception) it creates a soul (Genesis 2:7).

The soul, or psyche, is the essential us. Who we are behind the eyes, if you will. It is incorporeal, not tangible. Unlike the spirit, the soul is a who, and the who is you and me and everyone else, individually speaking. The soul is made up of other parts and functions, including: 1.) emotions, 2.) the will, 3.) cognition or reason, 4.) intelligence, and 5.) sentience.

So now, looking at the average human this way, it’s much easier to see why a holistic approach should be taken when considering one’s person.

Further, when a moment is taken to really think some things through, it can become clear that what one does to or with any of the three affects the other two, and vice versa, including all possible combinations.

For example, someone who harms or defiles their body, by default, is going to harm and/or defile their soul. If the harm is great enough, it may even cause the spirit to vacate, i.e. death. Further, if someone is an amputee, the removed body part begins to die and decay, thus showing that neither spirit nor soul is resident in the lost member. These, and other examples, prove just how integrated we really are. Thus, a holistic approach is warranted.

1 Corinthians 3:17,

17. If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

We know of course, from a very similar passage (namely, 1 Corinthians 6:19) that the human body, or soma, when Holy Spirit-filled, is the temple spoken of here in chapter 3. Even the Lord Jesus, when speaking of His body, referred to it as a temple (John 2:19-21).

Now, going back to the holistic view of humanity found in 1 Thessalonians 5:23, we might understand that if we defile (i.e. corrupt, destroy, or deprave) the human body, which is the totality of all we are: flesh, spirit, and soul, including the physical frame in which we reside, God will destroy us (Here, Paul uses the same Greek word twice, though it’s translated in two different ways).

Towards that end or idea, I want to talk about compromise, but of a different sort.

Usually, when we think of the word compromise and the spiritual things of faith, we think of someone caving in on some moral point of righteousness. When a saint compromises, we think they are giving in to their flesh, becoming worldly, and etc. While this is true, this would be of the same sort that most talk about when they think compromise. I’m going after a different meaning.

What I’m after might be closer to the idea compromising structural integrity; that is, when the standard parameters and constitution of a thing is weakened and endangered, like, for instance, a building after an earthquake.

In this way, what I really what to talk about is compromising one’s immune system. And no, I’m not speaking in a spiritual metaphor. I mean literally and physically (which, hint-hint, automatically makes it spiritual).

The immune system of the human body is made up of different parts and functions. These all work together to keep the body healthy, free from disease, and generally speaking, functioning at a prime level of output. These parts and functions are physical in nature, a system of chemicals and organisms controlled by the brain for the benefit of the whole.

But notice, just because these processes are physical, it doesn’t mean they don’t have a real spiritual component to them. Here’s what I mean. Within every cell is a nucleus. The nucleus is the control/command center, telling each individual cell how to function and do what it was designed and created by God to do. These cells are alive! And what part of us is the vitalizing principle or animating function that makes us (including our cells) alive? That’s right! The spirit or pneuma.

And what happens when spirit and flesh meet? They create soul. So, if you can imagine it, within each human cell, the human spirit is working upon it, moving it, guiding it, causing it to be alive and work properly. And somehow, because that cell is physical, tangible, material flesh, and because the human spirit is at work on, upon, in, and through it, some aspect of the human soul is also involved.

So what happens when the human immune system is compromised, i.e. weakened and endangered?

We all know. We get sick. But there’s more to it than that.

When we are weakened and in danger of getting sick, we feel it physically. Symptoms of the virus or infection manifest. Fever, headaches, nausea, cough, cold, aches and pain, weakness, diarrhea, and etc. all depending upon the illness in question. These symptoms are proof that our immune system has been temporarily overcome. In fact, they are the body’s overdrive response designed to kick the sickness out of us entirely. But if our immune system were stronger or uncompromised, we would have never gotten sick in the first place.

What happens to you spiritually when you get sick? Feel like praying much? Able to fast? Miss church? Miss work? End up with a bad attitude? Can you even get out of bed?

What I’m trying to say is that these things affect us spiritually as much as physically. A person with a compromised immune system (not talking of auto-immune diseases; those are different and are beyond human control), who is vulnerable to sickness and disease is making themselves a target for attacks against the soul (emotions, the will, etc.).

This is what I mean: a sick person, who isn’t up to prayer and worship, who can’t fast, who is grouchy and mean toward others, and perhaps even toward God if He doesn’t heal them, who ends up missing church and work, throw themselves into imbalance.

Now, before you freak out, hear me out. I know we all get sick. It is sometimes unavoidable. But guess what IS avoidable? A compromised immune system. The fact is, what we eat, drink, expose ourselves to, and generally speaking, how we choose to live our lives greatly determines our overall health. Garbage in, garbage out.

It is proven scientifically and medically that diet especially determines how well our immune system functions. So, if a person is a glutton (not obese, there’s a difference), and can’t refrain from junk food of various varieties, they are just asking to get sick, at least a couple times a year (if not more).

And we might say, So what? We have medicines and doctors for all that. But check this verse out:

Matthew 24:1-8,

And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.

As the end of this age approaches, and as we see more and more birth pangs take place, we must be aware that one of the sorrows preceding the Great Tribulation is pestilences. These are diseases and plagues that will, in a very real sense, plague humanity.

But you say: God will protect us.

Really? I thought God will destroy whomsoever harms His temple? You’re telling me that you’re immune to God’s promise of divine retribution when you ingest all manner of poison into your system thinking God doesn’t care?

What’s the difference between heart disease and lung cancer? Both will cut your life short, but one is caused typically by bad diet (and is easily avoidable) and the other is caused typically by smoking (and is likewise easily avoidable).

We eschew cigarettes and judge the smoker, but chomping on and swallowing down cotton candy, McDonald’s, and diet Coke (or worse), on a regular basis is somehow okay? The modern food processing industry is killing people in droves and the Church just chews the fast food like it’s no big deal. Our pre-meal prayers of blessing can’t help here.

Think of it like this. Next time you end up sick for two weeks, and miss work and church, just remember that, if you processed garbage in, it’s no wonder your compromised immune system ends up processing garbage out.

It’s like this. Right now, a flu epidemic is sweeping the nation. Projections for how bad it’s going to get are severe. Let’s say I compromise my immune system with poor diet and lifestyle choices. Let’s say I’ve been doing so all year (or life) long. Let’s say that next week, I end up contracting influenza. I miss four days of work, and two church services. Then my kids get sick, and they miss church another two times while their stay at home mom is desperate to stay well. Finally, after about two weeks or so, we all get better. Et cetera, et cetera. Life goes on, right? No big deal, right?

Well, let’s inventory that little scenario and break it down with some potential possibilities. Stop me if I’m hitting too close to home.

1.) Missing work means less wages come pay day.

2.) Less wages means more stress come end of the month.

3.) Less wages also means a decrease in charitable giving, especially if you give a tenth of your gross income.

4.) Loss of charitable income from you affects your local church and all that it financially supports.

5.) Stress is placed upon the ministry because income levels dropped (you weren’t the only one sick who missed work, you know).

6. That missionary your church was supporting and helping to feed received a smaller check that month (but you shrug it off because you know, God supplies all our needs miraculously. It’s not like He ever uses humans and our material wealth to do anything!).

7. In addition to the financial strain both at home and at church, your compromised immune system got someone in your family sick, like maybe, your spouse or your kids. More work and possibly school missed.

8. You and your spouse never get along when you’re both sick. Lots of nasty little words get shared over the course of those two weeks.

9. Financial stress adds fuel to the fire.

10. You’re children overhear the mean things you say, and suddenly, they’re in bad moods, and don’t know not to sink to your level, being young and all. Plus, having missed school, they are now behind on homework and depending on you to get them caught up. More stress.

11. More downward spiral. You prayed for God to heal you and He didn’t. Faith decreases because you can’t understand why God wouldn’t heal you. Condemnation sets in.

12. You get back to work finally, but with faith decreased (just ever so slightly) you don’t witness to that co-worker God placed in your life to win.

13. That soul you could have won never comes to church, your church doesn’t experience the revival it could have had, and remains in the slumps of the spiritual doldrums. But hey, these things happen. You’ll just weather this like before.

14. Did I mention, that while you were at home with sick kids (who you got sick through your compromised immune system), God moved in their Sunday School class, and three children repented of their sins and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit?


Am I going overboard?

“If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy”.

You think God owes you salvation for you and your family? Like there isn’t something on our end to do? If we can’t do the simple things required of being a temple, is it no wonder we suffer in sickness as often as we do? We want God to heal all manner of flu, sinus infection, bronchial problems, head colds, and etc. but we never ask Him to help us take a moral inventory and change the way we live. Hhmmm?

Again, I’m not talking about people who have medical conditions/constitutions that make them vulnerable to illness (e.g. pregnancy, having certain genetic dispositions, etc.)

But the rest of us, all too often, just sit around, munching on all sorts of trash, thinking how yummy it all is. I don’t mean an occasional Pop-Tart or Snickers. I’m talking about daily habits of diet, i.e. regular ingestion of unhealthy foods, beverages, and etc.

Just for fun, take a look at these:

– Did you know margarine is one molecule away from being plastic?

– Did you know that a common ingredient used in many dairy products is used as a de-icer on jet airplanes (it’s called carrageenan)?

– Propylene Glycol, used in many frozen food products like ice cream and in cake mixes and yes, even dog food, is actually one of the main ingredients in anti-freeze. You know, that chemical dogs sometimes get into and die from ingestion.

– Ever see what a few ounces of Coca-Cola can do to a tooth overnight? Next time your child loses a tooth, give it whirl and see what happens.

– Did you know aspartame is 11% wood alcohol, which the human body transforms into formaldehyde, a chemical used in the preservation of dead bodies and in embalming of corpses?

The list goes on. Dyes, artificial sweeteners, artificial flavors, high fructose corn syrup, unnatural preservatives, unnecessary sugars (I’m looking at you fruit juice), trace elements of pesticides and other chemicals which the FDA doesn’t require food companies to report or label, GMO’s (most tomatoes are interbred with fish scale DNA to make them frost resistant, for instance), and whatever else. Growth hormones, animal antibiotics, etc.

All of this man-made, commonly ingested poison daily compromising our immune systems and slowly killing us, i.e. harming God’s temple.

And guess what? I’m guilty, too. So no finger pointing here. But, thank God for a wife who’s made a major difference in my dietary habits. And for our kids, too.

Finally, I leave you with this:

Matthew 24:42-51,

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of, And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Luke 12:33-46,

Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not. Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all? And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath. But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken; The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

At the coming of the Lord, our Master will be looking for people who are involved with doing the will of God all the way up until that Last Trumpet blast. But, before and during such a time, when pestilence and disease, as the sorrows of the end, run rampant throughout the world, how many saints of God are going to find themselves “eating and drinking [unhealthy garbage]”, and so, with a lifelong compromised immune system, end up being too frequently sick to serve God when the Son of Man comes through the clouds?

What kind of portion might that poor soul be given?

Reread 1 Corinthians 3:17.  You might just find God’s answer.


~ by votivesoul on 01/11/2013.

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Mark Showalter's Blog

Always seeking to know God more

Theo-sophical Ruminations

A collage of theological and philosophical musings

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