A Check Up

I don’t know anyone that enjoys going to the doctor. It’s not the healthcare provider that most of have an issue with or we would surely find another. But the blood work and the exam and the conversation about life choices and their impact can be a little daunting.

Getting on the scale with a nurse standing there waiting for the number may be humiliating. The possibility (or likelihood) of needing to get undressed can ramp up our anxiety. I sometimes wonder how accurately the blood pressure reading can be when we are in such an uncomfortable situation.

But we need to go. Most medical issues are more easily corrected when they are identified early instead of waiting until there is a serious problem to address. I suppose it’s a lot like a plumbing problem in your house. It’s cheaper to fix it immediately than to have to repair a bunch of damage brought about by allowing it to continue.

This is why we have the idea of an annual check-up or physical. It is a routine broad screening of our health meant to see and address small issues before they become much bigger, more troublesome matters. This obviously becomes much more of an important practice as we get older.

That phrase—“as we get older”—probably gets under my skin more than it should. But the truth is that age takes a toll on our bodies and makes us ever more susceptible to the ravages of time and gravity and the slower consequences of the choices we have made throughout our lives.

I know that there are many spiritual principles that I have found in my walk with God that are reflected in the physical realm. I think I see an important one here in this idea of a check up.

The longer we walk with God, the easier it can be to approach our personal relationship with Him in a pattern of comfortable familiarity. It can lead to an auto-pilot response to the spiritual health questions that arise in our engagement with the Scriptures. But there is a grave difference between acknowledging truth with our minds and inviting God to examine us by that truth—to show us where we need to invite Him to work in us.

It’s not comfortable to open our Bibles sometimes… for the same reasons it’s not comfortable to go to the doctor. If we genuinely look into the Scriptures, it can feel like we’re naked on the examination table. But it’s always for the reason of seeing to our spiritual health and allowing the Great Physician to uncover for us the things He desires to work on in us. 

At the very least, it’s like standing in really bright lights in front of a mirror… with your soul instead of your body laid bare.

But if you hurry through your reading and don’t take any time to stand in front of that mirror, you can move along without the discomfort of being examined by it. You can walk away without much thought about what the mirror was revealing to you.

James wrote of this when he challenged us to do and not simply hear the Scriptures. We must apply them. Just like we would never look in the mirror to see how dirty our face is without pausing to wash our face, we must never merely look at the mirror of the Word without letting it move us to action.

James concluded this lesson with this urging:

But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

James 1.25

So maybe we could paraphrase: the one who climbs up on the examination table and walks away to take the medicine or make the changes the doctor prescribes will be blessed in his going.

I know it’s not comfortable to be vulnerable. It requires a lot of trust in our Physician. But He is trustworthy. He is good.

Isn’t it time for a check up?

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