I’m reminded of Jesus’ question to the paralytic in John 5:6, “Do you wish to get well?” It seems like an odd question to ask someone that has been sitting on the side of the road asking for money every day for many years. I’m sure the casual reader would think, “Of course he does! Who wouldn’t?” But what if the paralytic had said no? It isn’t a hypothetical question at all. And when it comes to the pride that plagues the soul, this question is pertinent. Do you want to be well from your spiritual cancer? If so there are three key commitments you’ll need.
If pride is spiritual cancer as C. S. Lewis says, then we are in in a battle to the death. We need to be resolved to defeat this enemy. We need to regard pride as cancer, as a disease of the soul that will take our lives, and go to war against it. We must beat this cancer into remission. We need to do it for the sake of our soul, for the benefit of those around us and the glory of God. It starts with having a commitment or a mindset that is appropriate for the threat level. This spiritual cancer will never go into remission if we under-estimate its vigor, strength, and determination. We need to regard pride as cancer... and go to war against it Click To Tweet
So what does it look like for us to take on this mortal foe? What sort of mindset will we need to adopt? This mentality, in a nutshell, is composed of three things:
There is a degree of determination or commitment required. Nobody approaches the subject of eradicating cancer with a half-hearted approach. It’s an all or nothing game. Winner takes all. Cancer is a life and death struggle. There will be only one victor, and it part of what determines who the victor will be is the determination of each party. Your pride is determined, so you’ll need to commit yourself to its eradication.
This determination means you’ll need to have some clarity about what humility looks like. You will need to build a picture of a humble person. To do this, we’ll look at some of the hallmarks of what humility looks like in future articles. But you’ll also want to find people around you who are humble and godly people.
Don’t look for just one person. You might not find the perfect package – nobody is perfect, right? But look for character traits that demonstrate humility and take a note of them. Go to that person and tell them that you admire this manifestation of humility you’ve observed in them. Ask them, “Is this something that comes easily or is it something they’ve had to work at?” If they’ve developed it, ask them how they have done this. They might have some useful ideas!
Having a clear picture of where you are going gives you clarity about how far you’ve got to go. The determination to keep pursuing humility is related to knowing where you want to go. If you know where you’re going, you’re less likely to give up before you get there.
No doubt treatments exist that help fight cancer. It could be as simple as changing your diet or getting a surgical procedure at the right time. However, the treatment will need to be followed precisely, and considered in light of other therapies. Most of all, we can’t afford to skip a treatment. We can’t overlook anything if we are to prevail. Every option gets investigated, and we should not dismiss anything lightly. If it might help, we should study it and implement it.We need to be rigorous in our fight to defeat spiritual cancer Click To Tweet
We need to be rigorous in our fight to defeat spiritual cancer too. We can’t leave any treatment on the shelf uninvestigated. Take the suggestion I made above, where I suggested telling someone that you admired a manifestation of humility you had observed in them. What stops you from doing that? If you’re like me, it is likely that you reserve your praise for yourself and it is humiliating to give your praise to someone else. In other words, our pride prevents us from taking hold of all the tools at our disposal. The commitment to rigor starts right there – doing the things that are helpful, particularly when they require us to humble ourselves!
It is amazing how health issues can make you re-evaluate what is important. When we realize we’ve been neglecting what is really important, the need to make changes while we are able grows in our mind. The life and death nature of the struggle means we will have to make sacrifices. The things that are important are what matters. We need to be ruthless with the rest.
What sort of things will we need to ruthlessly sacrifice? We will need to let go of pet habits, pet lusts, and even pet peeves. We’ll need to change what we believe, how we think, what we do for ourselves, how we treat others and much more. It will mean risking emotional (or even physical) injury. It will require us to stick our neck out for others. We will need to sacrifice time, money, affection, rest, sleep, comfort and much more to pursue humility.
We won’t need to do all these all the time, but we will need to do many of these things much of the time.
Is it worth it? If we take our pride seriously, like the cancer it is, then yes – it is worth it. The stakes are too high not to.
Pause for a moment…
The need for ruthlessness cannot be over-emphasized. Pride wants to kill us. But it doesn’t do it with a front on assault. Pride is subtle. It will use our desires. It will use our suffering. It will use whatever it can. In short, we will want to comply with our pride. We will need to be mentally alert to the things our pride uses and put them to death.
It will mean sacrificing the desire for people to approve of us. It will mean sacrificing our desire for the comfort for which we have worked all day. If the things we love increase our pride, then they will prevent us from pursuing humility. Therefore, we will need to be ruthless with the things our pride uses in our pursuit of humility.we will need to be ruthless with the things our pride uses in our pursuit of humility Click To Tweet
Adopt a warfare mindset against pride
While we can’t eradicate it entirely in this life, we can wage war against pride. The pursuit of humility requires that we treat pride as the spiritual cancer it is, a mortal enemy that seeks our life. We cannot pursue humility on the one hand, while we hold onto our pride with the other.
The pursuit of humility requires that we have the determination, rigor, and ruthlessness to detect pride and destroy it wherever we find it. We can’t take prisoners. There is more at stake than just our temporal life. The results of this battle will indeed ring through eternity. Therefore, if want to get well, if we want to grow in humility, we have to recognize that our pride is one of our greatest enemies.
What other mindset changes do we need if we’re going to defeat our pride? Leave a comment below.
2 thoughts on “The 3 key commitments you need to defeat spiritual cancer”
Thanks again Darryl. This fitted so well with our study in Galatians 6 at church today. Like Paul in v14 the only thing we have to boast in is the cross of Jesus.
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