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Reflections: Remembering My Illness

Last time you went through a bad cold or a stomach bug, did you forget you were sick in the midst of blowing your nose or vomiting? Probably not. Most of us can’t imagine forgetting we are sick when we are battling an illness.

But it can happen. I was recently talking to a friend whose daughter has been sick for more than a month. She had to convince her daughter to stay home from school recently, and she said, “My daughter has been sick for so long that she forgot how sick she is.”

Sin can be like that.

In his sermon on Mark 2:13-17, Chris spoke about Jesus Christ’s interaction with the scribes of the Pharisees. It was then that Christ said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Of course, the scribes of the Pharisees weren’t “healthy” in the spiritual sense, but they certainly didn’t seem to view themselves as sick. My first tendency is to scoff at the scribes because of their blindness, but aren’t I just like them sometimes?

Like the tax collectors and other sinners in the story, I have had many, MANY times where I see myself accurately, as a sick sinner with nothing to ingratiate myself to a perfect and holy God. It is those times that I am most in awe of the cross and the One who sacrificed himself on it for me.

Conversely, I can’t count the number of times I have thought of myself as “okay” compared to others whom I consider to be more obviously sinful than I am. Like having a cold so long that sniffles are forgotten, I have lived with my sin for so long that I don’t always notice it.

For me, accurately viewing my “health” starts by counseling myself with 1 John 1: “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (Scott Ardavanis recently did a sermon on this verse). After that, I go straight to Galatians 5, where I see the “deeds of the flesh” contrasted against the “fruit of the Spirit.” The Galatians passage reminds me of the areas of sin still lingering in my life and also the fruit of the Spirit that needs to be cultivated.

I know now that I will never be fully “cured” this side of heaven, but I am thankful to be under the care of the Great Physician in the meantime!

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