A couple of weeks ago I endured my annual physical exam ... was told I'm overweight (didn't need a Dr. for that diagnosis), blood pressure was okay but need to keep an eye on it, all the poking and prodding revealed no problems, and the blood work was fairly normal. Today was my annual visit with the Dermatologist. The exam isn't nearly as invasive but it does cover the largest organ in my body ... my skin. So it is rather important.
People gather with me in that waiting room for various reasons. Some were there for cosmetic reasons - botox injections, skin tightening, dark spots, etc. Others for medical reasons such as acne, psoriasis, rashes, warts, etc. And still others are there because of skin cancer concerns.
I had never seen a dermatologist until a couple of years ago ... didn't really see or feel the need for it. But when, during an annual physical, my Doctor said I have some pre-cancerous looking spots I realized it was time. I guess I could have ignored the spots since they weren't really bothering me or causing discomfort. Perhaps I could have decided to manage these spots by myself. But wisdom dictated that I get them treated and removed before they developed into something much more severe. Sure enough, when I did visit the dermatologist that first time she said the spots were indeed pre-cancerous and needed to be dealt with. She also said that more spots would appear over time and that I must give constant attention to my skin.
All this in some ways makes me think of church - why are people there? what motivates them to come? Let's be honest, not just about other people but about ourselves. We often involve ourselves in the life of the church for cosmetic reasons - we feel like we look better, others will think more highly of us, it makes us happy, we get a good feeling, it eases our conscience, it energizes us for the week, maybe it helps us see some spots in our lives we need to better manage, etc. But our Great Physician has diagnosed us with a much more severe problem = sin. This sin is extensive and pervasive, we're not able to manage it, if not dealt with it will result in death (physical and spiritual), and it keeps reoccurring and must be dealt with constantly.
There are various ways to treat skin cancer - surgery, excision, laser, radiation, freezing, etc. Today, as expected, Dr. Appell brought out the liquid nitrogen and froze off a few spots. I'll likely be going back for some additional treatment in the next few weeks - pending approval from insurance. But there's really only one treatment for sin - the cross, the substitutionary atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. As we consider our motive for church involvement, let's be sure it's not just for cosmetic reasons, let's not try to manage sin on our own (with a little help from Jesus and our friends). Rather we must recognize our sin problem and run together to the healing power of the blood of Jesus Christ ... and not just to apply it to a few spots, but to bathe ourselves in it completely.