I was similarly enthusiastic at the prospect of getting back to my normal routine. I felt healthy – my wife and I had avoided getting the virus during the previous year – and the future was looking bright.
But then, through a strange set of what I believe to be “God ordained” providential circumstances, various medical scans revealed that I had not only one, but two completely different kinds of unrelated cancers growing in my body. Although I felt fine and had no symptoms, the reality was I had diseases I could not see, which if left untreated, could kill me. Instead of “getting back to normal” as I had planned, the next six months became a time when I would endure two major surgeries before being considered “cancer free.”
If the doctors had not told me of the problems going on inside of me, I might well have continued on, blissfully ignorant of what could have been a devastating fate. Christmas reminds us that we all have a similar problem – spiritually speaking.
As we celebrate the birth of the Savior at Christmas, we must be reminded that there are far too many who simply do not believe they need the salvation Jesus came to bring because they do not believe they have anything from which they need to be saved! We are living in a time when many of us have become so focused on self-fulfillment, self-actualization, self-preservation and self-promotion that we fail to recognize that no matter how well we believe we are achieving elusive goals that will make us feel happy, healthy, successful and fulfilled, the reality is, on the inside, we all have a sickness that needs to be healed. God calls that sickness “sin.”
In I John 1: 5-10 the Bible says, “God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with Him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin. If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make Him out to be a liar and His word has no place in our lives.”
How often do we deceive ourselves into thinking we don’t really need Jesus? How easy is it for us to convince ourselves that our sins are “not that bad” and that we’re basically “good people,” so why would we need a savior? How many of us fail to diagnose the spiritual corruption and original sin inside of us which God tells us has plagued every human since creation fell?
The coming of the Savior on Christmas Day reminds us that we need to allow the piercing light of God’s truth to examine and expose the sin inside us that separates us from Him. Until we become aware of and acknowledge our spiritual sickness and need for salvation, we will always have a hard time embracing the One who came to heal us and save us – Jesus.
Fully exposed and gratefully healed by the only One who can forgive sin,
Rev. Jim Barnes, National Minister
Evangelical Association of Reformed & Congregational Christian Churches