We would be devastated if a doctor gave us the bad news, “I’m sorry, but it is cancer and it is malignant.” We would rejoice if he continued, “But it is localized, and surgery can provide a total and permanent cure.” In this situation we would welcome the surgeon’s skill and expertise. We would trust him to make the necessary incision and remove all that was diseased. As we lived healthy lives in the years afterward, we would recommend both the doctor and the surgeon whose skills and knowledge helped us.
In much the same way Jesus, the one with the sharp, two-edged sword, comes to us and says, “I’m sorry, but there is sin in your life. It is malignant. Left unchecked, it will continue to grow and destroy our relationship.” But similar to the surgeon, he offers to use his razor-sharp “sword of the Spirit” to remove that sin.
We would not welcome either diagnosis, nor would we look forward to the process that would remove the problem. However, after the treatment we would be able to live healthy, active, fruitful lives and praise God for providing the cure.
As Christians we seem all too willing to live with spiritual cancer while we demand the immediate, total removal of the physical disease. We would never argue with the doctor by saying, “Well, maybe I do have a little cancer. But it isn’t my fault. That’s just the way I am.” Or “At least I don’t have as much cancer as my neighbor,” or “If that’s the way you are going to talk to me, I’ll just go to another doctor.”
But when the Holy Spirit comes to us and shows us that we have sin in our lives we respond in these or similar ways.
We must seek and accept God’s diagnostic revelations of our spiritual health. We must allow him to perform whatever surgery is necessary. His skill and knowledge are equal to the healing task. Our only role is to give him permission to do what needs to be done.
We can never enjoy full spiritual health until we accept the Savior’s surgical work.