If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice 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 cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:6-7
Pruning may be good for roses and vines and fruit trees, but most people, personally, don't like to be pruned.
Not so very long ago I heard of a man who had a lengthy list of illnesses. Doctors? He'd seen a million of them. Tests? He'd been poked, prodded, pinched and punctured. Medicines? The bag carrying his cures no longer fit into the overhead storage compartment of any major airline. Still, when all was said and done, the length of his list of maladies hadn't been shortened.
The man had resigned himself to living a life with ailments, until, one day, he received wonderful news of a doctor who could cure just about anything. With high hopes he made an appointment and sat through the examination. Two days later, at a return visit, the doctor offered her assessment of his condition.
She said, "My friend, you're a sick man."
He knew he was, but it was nice to have someone confirm his complaints.
The doctor continued, "You can get well again if you will follow my advice. This is what I want you to do. I want you to lose about 40, no, make that 45 pounds, start a walking program, get eight hours of sleep each night, and eat more dark-green vegetables. And ...."
Ahh, here it comes, the man thought to himself, she's going to suggest surgery, or prescribe some super pill.
"And ..." the doctor went on: "you can dispose of your pills in the proper way. You don't need them. That's it."
After his initial shock, the man stammered and pleaded for some kind of potion, some kind of tonic that would make him well.
The doctor stood her ground by saying, "You need a change in your life, not in your medicine." She was done with him, but he was not done with her. The man left the doctor's office and told everyone the doctor was a "quack."
That story, as good as any, explains sinful humankind's relationship with the Lord. God is the Doctor and in the blood of Jesus Christ He always has a cure for the sins which ail us.
In His Holy Word He calls us to a change of life by saying, "Repent, believe, be saved." That's what God says, but it's not what humanity wants to hear. We don't like to be told we're sinners; we don't want to be told we need a new life and a new heart; we don't want to have anyone suggest it is only through Jesus Christ that we will get into heaven.
We don't like it, but it's true. If we're going to be saved, we need to repent, believe, be saved.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, it is a sad thing when sinful humans think they know what is best for them. May doubters, detractors and cynics be given eyes that see the sacrifice Jesus made, so they might be well. May they see and then, by the Holy Spirit's power, may they repent, believe and be saved. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries