August 7, 2012
J. Heinrich Arnold wrote; “Jesus alone can heal us and give us a new heart. He came to restore us through his blood, and every heart, however tormented, can find comfort and healing in him” (Freedom from Sinful Thoughts).
Part of the human condition is to look for life apart from God. At one time or another everyone resembles the church family at Laodicea. These Christians believed that because of their wealth, their continued prosperity, and their industry that they needed nothing. They clung to the belief that their hard work, their great economy, and their wonderful city provided for them everything they needed.
The problem was God saw things differently. They saw themselves as fashionable and wealthy, but God knew they were poor, naked, and pathetic (Rev. 3:17). Their source of life and healing was nothing but a broken cistern, unable to give them what they truly needed.
The counsel Jesus gave to this church was to turn to him and he would give them real wealth, real healing, and real fashion. These Christian would rather make do with the things of this world than to experience the real life Christ delivered them to live.
Too often I continue to insist on finding hope, healing, and life on my own. The question Erwin McManus asked in the podcast I listened to two weeks ago seems to apply here: “Why do we continue to search for life in dead places?”
I search for life in good things like relationships, possessions, and traditions. I know that many people have searched in vain for life in evil things like drugs, pornography, and immorality. Everything from education to politics to entertainment can be turned into a source of life, healing, and hope. I need to remember that as I search for life in things other than God, I am searching for a life that cannot satisfy.
I need to remember what the apostle Paul wrote:
I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death,11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! (Philippians 3:7-11; NLT).
This brings me back to the quote at the beginning: Jesus alone brings healing. The condition attached to the healing Jesus offers is that I need to set aside what I have been clinging to and come empty handed to him. It is not easy to break free from the things I have for so long been the source of my identity, life, hope, and healing, but it must be done. That is what repentance is all about.