Did you know that AIDs has been spreading in the church?
That’s right, in my travels to Africa it was not uncommon to visit villages and churches that were 80% infected with the HIV virus and hundreds dying from AIDS. I’ve listened to multiple heartbreaking stories from pastors who had conducted weddings and memorials services for the same couple within a 3-year timespan because of the spread of AIDS. It’s crazy!
With the advancement of modern day medicine and testing today, why isn’t something being done to stop this virus from spreading? When I asked the question, I was shocked by the response.
I was told that HIV/AIDS is a taboo topic within their culture because it’s primarily a sexually transmitted virus. In other words, to be tested for AIDs or admit you might have the virus is to admit to sexual promiscuity and bring shame on your family. Therefore, no one inside the church or outside the church will even talk about the topic, let alone prevent it from spreading. They will simply say someone is “sick” until they die!
I know it sounds crazy, but in many ways, this is also happening in U.S. churches today. It may not be an AIDS issue, but Christians today seem very hesitant to talk about their sinful struggles (i.e. lust, greed, bitterness, gossip, etc.) for fear of shame or being judged. As a result, Christians are spiritually dying while giving the impression everything is okay. So how can we prevent this from happening? How can we protect against HIV Christianity?
James 5:16 – …confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
Include Others in Your Struggles
The Christian walk is to be lived out in an honest and authentic way. This doesn’t mean that you tell everyone your deepest, darkest struggles, but it does mean you tell someone. Scripture calls you and me to include others in our lives and sinful struggles. When you isolate, cover-up, and privatize, you set yourself up for self-delusion and become a target for the enemy (1 Peter 5:8).
You will also be fostering hypocrisy, which will become the deathblow to your walk with the Lord. When you open up to others and confess your sin, you don’t give the enemy a foothold and prevent a spiritual sickness from taking root. It is critical that you pick a Christian friend you can talk to. It is critical you sit down with them and confess ways you are being tempted and blowing it. In doing so, you will be keeping yourself spiritually protected.
Partner with Others in Prayer
James 5:16 also highlights the importance of praying for one another in order for spiritual healing to take place. It is one thing to talk about and confess sin, but it’s another to pray about it and bring it to the Lord. When you include God in your struggles, you are engaging in a supernatural process that relies on His strength and care. God doesn’t want you to fight the battle in your own strength, but to rely on Him! (Ephesians 6:13)
Who do you have praying for you? Who is lifting you up to the Lord on a daily basis? If the answer is no one, you are at risk! It’s vital to make sure that when you include others in your struggles you also ask for prayer. Be specific and ask for prayer regarding any upcoming situations, circumstances, or encounters that may be tempting to you.
Ask for prayers of protection and God’s covering. The more we pray for one another the more effective we are in dealing with sin because we will be operating in God’s power and strength!
So take some practical steps this week and protect yourself against HIV Christianity. Your spiritual life is on the line!
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