“Every second of every minute of every day, a battle of good and evil goes on inside your body. The good is the immune system, armies of cells designed to defend the body from illness and infection. The evil comes in the form of pathogens, viruses, bacteria and mutated cells that are programmed to do harm. When it comes to cancer, the good guys don’t always win.” So begins a fascinating article by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
The article briefly describes how the immune system works. The author explains how the immune system is like an army consisting of two corps; the innate immune system and the acquired immune system. The innate is the first line of defense. It’s that part of the immune system that kills first and asks questions later. Among its different types of cells are the macrophages (“big eaters”) and natural killer (NK) cells.
The acquired immune system is that part of the immune system which is constantly learning which invaders are friendly and which are foes. It specializes cells and antibodies to kill those invaders which it has determined are foes. This is why we become immune to a virus after once being infected by it. Even the dreaded Covid-19 virus cannot attack us a second time with any success. After the first infection, our immune system will immediately recognize it as a foe and kill it off.
The Art of Deception
But does the immune system also destroy cancer cells? Yes, all the time it’s engaged in killing them off. But sometimes it fails to do so. In fact, cancer often succeeds in the body because it fools the immune system’s cells into thinking it’s a friend rather than a foe. The author explains that cancer cells even recruit the immune system’s immature cells into helping it grow into tumors and break into the blood stream (metastasize). That’s right, the cancer gets some immature immune system cells to do its own bidding.
What a picture of how Satan fools the immature Christian believer into thinking he’s a friend instead of a foe, and even succeeds in getting him to do his bidding. This is why so many well-meaning believers hurt other believers and undermine the cause of Jesus Christ. They either haven’t matured enough spiritually or remain in a perpetual state of infancy (1 Corinthians 3:1-4). They’re more easily deceived by the devil and can even become participants in his work.
Growth takes Discipline
Therefore, it is imperative that all Christian believers pursue spiritual growth and no longer be babes who are so easily led astray (Ephesians 4:11-16). Believers need to faithfully – every day – feed upon God’s word, the Bible (Colossians 3:16). They need to drink of the Holy Spirit and draw strength from God through daily prayer (Ephesians 5:18-20). Additionally, they need to stay engaged in Christian service and fellowship with other believers (1 Corinthians 15:58). They also need to submit to the Christ’s School of Hard Knocks by accepting life’s adversities and trials as the Lord’s discipline (Hebrews 12:4-11).
You know, the article I’ve referred to also described how modern medicine is beginning to effectively use new drugs to fight cancer. However, these new drugs do not attack cancer directly. Instead, they reactivate those “misled” immune system cells to do their job of killing cancer. These new medicines jump-start the immune system.
The Great Strategy
It’s the same with the church of Jesus Christ. The church’s greatest strategy against the devil is to get misled disciples to grow up, to equip them for the Lord’s work, and to get them engaged in spiritual warfare through prayer and intercession (Ephesians 6:10-18).
Friend, your pastor and priest cannot do this alone. It’s up to each of us to pursue spiritual growth and maturity and to encourage one another, day after day, to follow the Lord more closely (Hebrews 3:13; 10:24-25). Remaining a spiritual baby is not an option. As Peter commanded us, “…be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:17-18).
Dear Father in heaven, remind me that You have not called me to be a mere spectator or a passive warrior in the church of Jesus. Please inspire me to grow up, take up the sword of the Spirit, and to do my duty for Jesus Christ. Amen.
(Information from: https://www.cancercenter.com/community/blog/2017/10/how-does-the-immune-system-work-when-it-comes-to-cancer-its-complicated