Sunday, Pastor Jimmy gave me some great insight which I hope to share with you. While some very sincere folks believe that whatever ails us can be cured by faith, the fact is that some problems need earthly medial assistance. If break my arm, God has given some very good doctors who know how to set broken bones and I'll see the physician before I try to fix it myself. If my psychological balance is out of whack, most self-help books are the last resort and the best possible solution is to see a therapist. This is not to place faith in a useless category, but to be aware of the realities of illness that can be self-induced and illness that needs medical help.
I still remember situations that happened during my clinical training when patients, in the face of clear and practical diagnosis, got up and walked out because they refused to accept the realities of their future without expert treatment. Most of us have also read too many reports of truly faithful believers who firmly believed a family member would be healed by prayer and when that family member died announced, "It was God's will."
In case you have not figured me out, I believe that God has invested wonderful men and women with the gift of mental faculties who can do research, training and application of the latest medical advancement. Since God has provided these folks, it seems pretty odd to turn down what God offers.
If you haven't checked out the advertisements lately, then do so and you will find that there seems to be a pill for everything. There are pills to help one lose weight, get sleep, quit smoking, control depression, improve thinking, grow hair, get a tan and do things that we used to but now can't due to age (this is a family article). Of course there are certain cautions: bleeding, loss of memory, heart damage, kidney problems and if something happens that I can't put in print, then call your doctor right away.
Now let's get serious. I have a condition which I can't control by myself. No matter how hard I try, how good I try to be, how sincere I am and always aware of my shortcomings, I am a sinner. I'd like to believe I am your average sinner and not a sinner of headline proportion. It would be so nice if someone could invent a pill for sinners. "One a day, keeps the devil away!" I could take one every morning right after breakfast and dance out the door knowing that old sinful self is in good hands and under control. Just to be safe, I could take a half tablet just before bed to curb any uncontrolled dreams. Oh, I suppose if I went on a once-in-a-lifetime vacation then I would quit taking those pills for about a week so I wouldn't miss any fun. I can always go back on the plan when I get back home.
Let's stop and back up. Sin is not a disease, a chronic illness or a temporary ache that exercise, diet, attitude or a pill can improve or remove. Sin is not simply an activity. Sin, in the biblical understanding, is the unique and undeniable essence of every human being. I could live a perfect life and still be a sinner. I could avoid every temptation known and still be a sinner. I could keep every commandment that has been written and would not change my sinful condition one iota. I might choose to live in total isolation apart from any outside contamination and would still be a sinner.
There is only one cure. There is only one hope and it does not come with a guarantee, but comes with an unbreakable promise. There is no fine print and it is absolutely free. These are the words of God, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!" What does this mean? It means that my sinful self is redeemed and I can stand before the Almighty God. It means I have an Advocate, Jesus Christ, who stands with me and vouches for me. It means I am forgiven! I am healed!
That old nagging heartache? It's gone! I feel good!