November 2, 2014


            The word “metastases” is a medical word that means the transfer of disease producing organisms, or of malignant or cancerous cells, to other parts of the body.  We do well to include the word in our vocabulary.  It is seldom, if ever, used outside of medical terminology, but in this article I’m going to give it a spiritual application.  It will be used in speaking of a positive and a negative effect.

Lot, in the Bible, is a good example of the negative effect of metastases.  Lot did alright as long as he was with his uncle Abraham.  The herds of Lot and Abraham increased to the point where there wasn’t enough pasture for all of them.  Abraham gave Lot the privilege of choosing land at a distance and moving away.  In Genesis chapter 13 we read that Lot chose the well watered plain of Jordan.  It was a good choice economically, but a bad choice spiritually.

For some reason, Lot pitched his tent near the city of Sodom.  Verse 13 tells us why that wasn’t a wise move.  “But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.”  After that move, things went from bad to worse for Lot.  He fell under the influence of the wicked people in Sodom.  It may be that he wasn’t guilty of all the sins practiced there, but the last we read of Lot, in chapter 19, he was drunk and committed incest with his two daughters.

The word metastasis doesn’t include the spread of infectious diseases by contagion. What happened to Lot, and to men in general, is that they fall under the contagious effect of sin.  If a person spends much time in the company of sinners he begins to overlook the heinousness of their sin.  With time, he will even begin to practice it.

An illustration of the positive effect of metastases is found in Matthew 5:13-16.  “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.    Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.   Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  Our good influence can spread and permeate into the minds of those around us.  Peanuts in the shell can be soaked in salt water.  After they dry, the peanuts will have a salty taste.  In the same way, we touch the lives of others by the way we live.  That’s why Jesus said, in verse 16, that we should let our light shine.  If we radiate the joy of the Lord while we walk the straight and narrow way, people will see that it is possible to do right and enjoy life.  They see that they don’t have to live in sin to enjoy life.

When doctors find cancer in a part of the body, they are quick to recommend surgery to prevent metastases.  There is something we can learn from that.  I Corinthians 15:33 says, “Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.”  The word “communications” could better be translated companionships.  If we realize that our friends are having a bad influence on us we should break our relationship with them, just as the doctor cuts out the cancerous tissue.  As long as we stay around them we are in danger of having our good manners corrupted.  Proverbs 13:20 says, “He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.”

The same is true of other things that can corrupt us.  We must be careful about the books we read.  If they condone immorality, they shouldn’t be read.  The same is true in regard to music we listen to, and movies and television programs we watch.  If we spend time under bad influences we will be affected by metastases.  Be forewarned!

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