Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), also known as acute myelogenous leukemia or acute nonlymphocytic leukemia (ANLL), is a cancer of the blood cells, characterized by the rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells that accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal blood cells. The symptoms of AML are caused by replacement of normal bone marrow with leukemic cells, which causes a drop in red blood cells, platelets, and normal white blood cells.
First-line treatment of AML consists primarily of chemotherapy. The goal of this therapy is to achieve a complete remission by reducing the number of leukemic cells to an undetectable level. After first line treatment, Stem Cell or bone marrow transplant maybe required to then replace the original leukemia effected cells and thus initiate the reproduction of healthy blood cells. Unfortunately complications can arise, treated patients may be receptacle to Graft-versus-host disease.
Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) is a complication that can occur after a stem cell or bone marrow transplant. GVHD may occur when someone receives bone marrow tissue or cells from a donor. The new transplanted cells regard the recipient’s body as foreign. Subsequently the newly transplanted donor cells attack the transplant recipient’s body.
The indwelling of God’s Spirit into us (humanity) initiates a similar response. The newly acquired ‘donor’ Spirit is now in conflict with its host. The Spirit desires what is contrary to the Flesh and the flesh what is contrary to the Spirit. The Apostle Paul experienced this in his own transformation and writes to educate those who will go through similar symptoms. His goal is to minimise this conflict and allow the transition to occur with minimal side effects.
Unfortunately as is the case with GVHD, many Christians may continue to face this conflict for years, unaware of what is happening. Facing a life of constant turmoil rather than the promised peace of Christ, they often give up and completely reject the donor and return to their old way of life. Depression,anxiety, stress, fear and grief become the cyclic symptoms. The ill-informed Christian wonders where is the promised joy, love, peace and patience (Galatians 5:22)? Sadly, many never attain these and live a life of spiritual Graft versus host disease till the day they die–the constant struggle of wrestling with God.
When we receive Christ’s spirit into our soul, something Holy and pure has taken residence inside of us–something which seeks to think and act in a Holy manner, to avoid all sin and to seek to do only good. This is where the analogy with GVHD differs greatly. With Graft Versus Host disease, we do not want the donor to die. Rather, the hope is that the donated cells may stop being in conflict with its host and succumb to the host. With the Indwelling of the Spirit, the goal is the complete opposite. The host is to succumb to the donor.
The host is actually required to die and allow the characteristics of the donor to take control. We are required to deny ourselves and live by the Spirit, not by the original fleshy nature. Struggling with earthly desires, temptations, sinful gratification, materialism, indifference, and never truly walking in the Spirit of Christ, the donor is actually rejected by the host. Christ is not made the Lord of the host. Jesus knew this by stating “Why do you call me Lord and not do what I say?”
True spiritual enlightenment comes from total surrender. Surrender to God’s will and His alone. Understanding God’s will comes from diligently studying God’s Word, prayer ,and experiencing the suffering of denying the sinful nature. Allowing its desires to be denied and eventually overcome.
It is a difficult journey; it is called the narrow path. Stop gratifying the desires of your sinful nature and allow the desires of God’s Spirit to take over. You will find yourself becoming less and the Donor becoming more.