Spiritual Immune SystemEGP Blog post from December 15, 2013
Throughout Scripture we find that things about our “natural” bodies correlate to things about our “spiritual” bodies (1 Corinthians 15:42–49, Romans 2:26–29). So, in this ever-lovely cold and flu season, my wife and I were talking the other day about what would be the “immune system” of our spiritual bodies. You see, immune systems come in three parts: surface barriers (e.g., your skin, peptides, etc.), which prevent penetration by microorganisms and toxins; innate response (e.g., inflammation, white blood cells, etc.), which is a generic first line of defense; and adaptive response (e.g., antibodies, T cells, etc.), which is a specific defense that “remembers” previous attacks in order to prevent re-infection.
Spiritual hedges would probably go under surface barriers, since they protect you from attacks even when you may not even know about them. The primary example of this concept is in Job 1:5–12, where Satan asks God to remove His hedge of protection from Job, his household, and everything he owns. While these hedges do offer protection, they are more of a preventative defense, and, as Job found out, can be bypassed. This layer of protection is usually requested (most likely on a daily basis) by a spiritual authority (Job 1:5–10, 1 Corinthians 7:13–14).
Your spiritual armor (Ephesians 6:11–17) would probably be considered the innate response, since it’s still more of a generic covering and the attacked one would be more aware of the battle. Inflammation, an early response of the innate immune system, is produced by injured or infected cells, which could correlate to the “off” feeling and discomfort when first undergoing spiritual attack. Also, not unlike a bulletproof vest, although you’re still protected by the armor (assuming you’re wearing it), that doesn’t make the battle pain-free. While most of the focus is on the armor, we cannot forget to take up the “sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.” While the passage doesn’t expressly say so, the armor and sword must be armed daily for battle.
This leaves the adaptive response, which I would say is prayer warring and Spiritual oneness. Prayer warring is usually specific to a situation and is less of a blanket prayer of protection like the hedge (Mark 9:17–29). Closely walking with the Holy Spirit once again carries the connotation of being daily (James 4:4–10, Galatians 5:24–25), as the Spirit tends to point out precursors to recurring sins so we can keep them in check before they become problems (John 14:26, 1 Corinthians 10:12–14, Hebrews 4:12).