Read: Leviticus 13, Matthew 26:20-54
Leviticus 13 is probably one of the most disgusting chapters in the Bible. I don’t mean that in a Hey man, that was totally disgusting! (which really means cool) kind of way. I mean it’s gross. It’s an entire chapter on rashes, boils, pus, and other infections that I’d rather not read about in such detail. But it’s important.
In a practical sense, removing from the camp those with infections was helpful to the entire nation. Left to fester, a person could end up infecting a high percentage of the population over a period of time.
In a spiritual sense, we can take away a few things. If we take the concept of an infection and apply it to our spiritual lives, those infections become ideas. Some ideas are good and, like a nasty rash, some are bad and can spread in a hurry. So what can we do?
- Identify. Is my perceived issue really an issue at all? Are the ideas rolling around in my head just ideas or are they more? Do they have the potential to create bigger issues down the road if left unchecked? If you’re not sure about some thoughts or ideas you’ve been entertaining, check with the Word of God. 2 Corinthians 10:5 says that we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. Once you’ve identified whether a thought is obedient to Christ or not, we can move on.
- Incubate. Some ideas never go beyond an initial thought. They come and go. Others may need more time to fully form so that they can be weighed against the Bible. Leviticus describes some skin rashes that either healed over a period of seven days or began to fester and spread. Some thoughts will be brought into line simply by renewing our minds while others may start to get out of control if not reined in.
- Isolate. If a thought or idea that you’ve been entertaining proves to be set against the knowledge of God, it’s time to isolate. When a person was found to have an infectious skin disease, they were isolated until they were healed and could once again be made ceremonially clean. If the infection persisted, these people were forced to live outside the camp to prevent the infection from spreading to others. If you find your thoughts leading you astray, isolate them. Take them captive. Don’t entertain them. Don’t spread them.
Ideas, when they become words, are like an infection. Once they’re out there, it’s pretty difficult to take them back without a great deal of effort and energy. By dealing with issues before they ever get to the contagious stage, we could solve a lot of issues in the church. Our standard always has been and should be the Word of God. If what we think or say is not for God, it is against Him. And it is up to us to keep ourselves and each other in line—even if it means taking the time to correct our thought patterns. Better to live in isolation for while than to have to live outside the camp and fellowship of other believers.
Difficult? Maybe. But we have the mind of Christ according to 1 Corinthians 2:16.