“When Jesus heard it, He said to them, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance'” (Mark 2:17).
OUR MOST SERIOUS AILMENTS ARE NOT PHYSICAL BUT SPIRITUAL. We are hurt far more by the malignancies in our character than by the illnesses in our body. And it is the removal of these sins in the heart that God is concerned with. The Great Physician desires to restore our spiritual health and wholeness.
If we want to improve, we must be honest and open to the truth about our character right now. Not even the Great Physician can help us if we’re not willing to be examined. Trying to hide our symptoms and pretending that nothing very serious is wrong will only result in our getting worse. An accurate diagnosis will be humbling, to be sure, but we should still want to know the whole truth. David’s prayer is that of an honest man: “Search me, O God, and know my heart . . . see if there is any wicked way in me” (Psalm 139:23,24). We must desire to see ourselves as God sees us.
But more than that, we must cultivate confidence that God knows what He’s doing. Whether we understand the wisdom of His plan or not, we must trust both the accuracy of His diagnosis and the effectiveness of His treatment. We must also have the courage to submit to the healing process that He prescribes. The cancer cannot be cut away from our character without radical surgery. Because sin is so entangled in our thinking, the purging operation is always painful and often lengthy. But as with physical disease, if we’re not willing to endure momentary pain in order to become healthy later on, our only option is to get sicker and sicker. We can stay in our sickly “comfort” zone or we can move toward greater health, but not both at the same time. “I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live” (Deuteronomy 30:19).
How much commitment do we have to the truth about ourselves? For all our talk about loving the truth, do we really desire to see all that God sees when He examines our hearts? There will be no redemption for those unwilling to face reality.
“When we go to our meeting with God, we should go like a patient to his doctor, first to be thoroughly examined and afterwards to be treated for our ailment. Then something will happen when you pray” (O. Hallesby).