How to Treat Soul Cancer

So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls. –James 1:21 (NLT)

As a child of the 70s in Southern California, I was painfully ignorant to the potential skin damage that was waiting in my future. Honestly, all I remember about sun protection are the Coppertone® ads (and the little girl’s bikini bottom being pulled down by a dog). Sunburns sucked, but being tan was highly valued as a teenager. Coppertone simply blocked my bronze potential. Instead of sunscreen, I opted for baby oil (and Hawaiian Tropic®).

Needless to say, 30 years later, I have a very intimate and frequent relationship with my dermatologist. He’s a great guy, but standing before him in my underwear every three months while he scans every inch of my body and then reports his findings to a nearby female scribe isn’t my idea of a party. But, it’s my reality.

I’m starting to get used to having skin cancers cut out. First, the doctor cuts and then the tissue is evaluated. Next, if any signs of cancer are still remaining in the margins of the cut tissue, a larger cut is made. This procedure continues until the margins are clean and the cancer is gone.

I’ve been reflecting on the steps required to eradicate cancerous cells and how they’re actually similar to the steps toward removing the diseased elements that reside within our inner, spiritual selves. Read the list below and consider the parallels:

What I’ve done to treat skin cancer:
1. I realized the need to be evaluated.
2. I went to someone who could help.
3. The “problem” areas were thoroughly investigated and recorded.
4. Surgical plans were made to eradicate the problem.
5. Surgery is performed.
6. A close inspection follows to ensure the problem is eliminated.
7. A regular follow up is scheduled to safeguard against the problem returning.

I realize that dealing with the dark defects that loom in the soul are often much more difficult to identify than a mole or freckle changing its shape. But I also know that the insidious cancers within the heart are easy to hide. These “cancers” are issues like pride, untamed anger, lust, selfish ambition, greed, jealousy, deep insecurity, revenge, wounded relationships, lack of forgiveness, inappropriate relationships and a mean spirit.

As you look at your own life, don’t wait for issues to fester, allowing soul cancers to grow. Find someone who can help you prepare for the needed surgery. Invite others to the exam table of honesty and deal with issues before they deal you a world of pain and hurt. Please don’t let another week go by without taking steps toward healing. None of us are immune.

1. What’s the sickness that you’ve been hiding that could destroy your spiritual health and your relationships?

2. What is your plan of action to cut out the spiritual cancer from your life?

James 5:16; Proverbs 13:10

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Doug Fields

Doug Fields is the senior director of HomeWord. He speaks to thousands of leaders, teenagers and parents each year. He’s also the author/co-author of 50+ books including: Parenting in a Screen Saturated Culture; Intentional Parenting; 7 Ways to be Her Hero – the One Your Wife Has Been Waiting For; and To Have and To Hold. In addition to Doug’s speaking and writing, he is also the co-founder of and the youth pastor at Mariners Church. Doug has been married for more than 35 years to his wonderful wife Cathy, and they live near their 3 married children and 3 grandchildren in Southern California.

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