No one likes to be sick. It’s miserable. I’m at the tail end of a simple head cold—a fairly minor illness—but the first few days I figured seasonal allergies were to blame. By the third day I realized it was a virus, but there wasn’t much more I could do but take some OTC pain relievers and wait for it to run its course. Minor illnesses like this do not typically require medical consultation. It’s usually only the serious illnesses and diseases that drive us to the doctor in search of answers, relief, and a cure. According to a Forbes article, on “average, an American visits the doctor four times a year, substantially less than in other countries. In Japan, people usually go to their doctor 13 times a year.” So even when symptoms are bothersome and we should go to the doctor, another study found that 20% of Americans put off medical care in the past 12 months.
Suffice it to say, it’s those who know they are truly sick and in dire need of help that choose to visit a doctor. It’s exactly what Jesus said some 2,000 years ago:
And as he reclined at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were reclining with Jesus and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. And the scribes of the Pharisees, when they saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, said to his disciples, “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?” And when Jesus heard it, he said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:15–18)
Only those who know they are sick go looking for a cure—this is true for both physical illness and spiritual illness. Some people know they are sick and go in search of a cure; some people try to deny their symptoms and keep rolling with life. But only those with a right assessment of their spiritual condition will admit they need help. Jesus said He came for the ones who are aware of their spiritual disease.
And there’s the catch: some people (the ones Jesus called “the righteous”) assume they are spiritually healthy when they are not. It’s just like the people at the church in Laodicea. By their assessment, they did not need a physician; they did not need Jesus. But the reality is, all people need a physician because all of us are sinners (according to Romans 3:23, “all have sinned”). Therefore, all of us need Jesus.
Are you aware of your spiritual sickness? What symptoms of ill spiritual health are you trying to downplay or diminish or deny? Are you feeling lifeless? weary? bitter? disconnected? guilty? angry? hopeless? All of these are symptoms of zombie-like faith. And there is a Physician who specializes in hearts that are run down with sin and sluggish with pain and oozing with need. And you don’t need to put off a visit for even one more minute. Jesus has come, even for you.