Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system begins to mistakenly turn and attack itself. In military terms, when soldiers are hit by their own army’s ammunition, we call it “friendly fire.”
A person who has an autoimmune disease is “in a warlike state of friendly fire.” The body is actually attacking itself, revealing the spiritual war going on within the person. They are in a continual war of self-rejection within themselves. There are varying autoimmune diseases, including, Type-1 Diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, celiac disease, lupus and more.
Let’s take multiple sclerosis as an example. Within every human being is a pathway of nerves that run throughout the body. Surrounding the nerve cells is a protective sleeve known as the myelin sheath, which surrounds and protects, just like a rubber sleeve protects a copper electrical wire. In someone with MS, the immune system does not simply protect their body from invaders, but the white corpuscles of the immune system turn on the person’s own body, attacking the myelin sheath. As this occurs, the protection of the myelin sheath starts to wear away, creating a scar; known as a sclerosis. In the case of MS, this person does not just have one sclerosis, but multiple sclerosis going on throughout the body. This creates a great deal of pain, numbness, paralysis and more.
Spiritually, it can be very common for people suffering with autoimmune issue is that what is happening physically is also happening spiritually. The person is under assault agains themselves. They can struggle with deep self-rejection combined with self-hate, but it often hides under the surface. The self-rejection comes out of a lack of being loved properly, usually from a father or another significant male in their life that has left them with an unhealed broken heart.
Because of this, one can struggle with constant insecurity as to who they are. They are conflicted in their identity and self-worth. They are accused in their thoughts, so guilt becomes a constant motivator in their life. The problem is that ministering to someone with autoimmune can at times be challenging, because they can cover up their self-hate and self-rejection with performance and drivenness. They feel good in finding value in what they do, rather than just being at peace in being a child of God. They keep a good facade going, giving everyone the impression that things are good, when in reality, they struggle underneath. Additionally, often they don’t know how to express hardship and struggle without going into self-pity and self-loathing.
I have learned this in my own life. I could not give and receive love without fear or uncomfortability. I sought to feel loved in what I did and how well I did it, so I would overcompensate for my self-hate by striving and doing more; never coming to peace with being God’s child–never just resting in my identity as a loved son of God. Father God has had me on a journey of learning to let his love bring rest to my heart–to quiet the conflicts in my mind where the enemy would want to accuse me and press me down. Many like me, grew up in religious patterns that allowed very heavy legalism to accuse us in our thoughts, where we never felt “good enough.” This cycle has to be broken by the grace and love of God, who receives us in because of His Son, Jesus Christ.
At the end of the day, my peace can only truly come from resting as His dearly beloved. I must take my peace in His rest, relying on the yoke of Christ to carry the load and let the Father’s love rest on me. He’s healing and restoring me day by day. I cannot allow the enemy to make me “my own worst enemy.” God has never called me to be at war against myself. Why should we?
Quite often the healing comes in learning to be loved–letting God love on you and allowing others to love on you. With this, we can learn to be our own best friend, rather than a combatant in our own thoughts.