I recently had the horrible experience of a gallbladder attack. I found myself in the emergency room pretty sure my time had come and the Lord was going to take me home. If you have ever experienced a gallbladder attack you will completely understand how ready to go home I was! I was diligently praying for quick release! But, it was my gallbladder letting me know that its time in my body was done, and it was ready to be taken out. Yesterday, I went into the hospital and they removed it from its long time residence in my body. The surgeon who did the surgery told us that it was full of stones and was very mushy, and it was a very good thing we took it out when we did. I do apologize if my words are a little graphic, but I believe that there is a spiritual application in this escapade of mine that we can all benefit from.
As I laid on my bed last night thinking of how much better I was going to feel now that the problem was out of my body, my mind went to some areas of my life that I know the Lord has been wanting to remove from me. He, being my Great Physician, reminded me last evening that any part of my body that is sick only causes the rest of the body to suffer, and those sick parts need to be removed.
“If you right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if you right hand causes you to sin, cut if off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell.”
Matthew 5:29-30 (ESV)
Matthew 5:29-30 (ESV)
About a year and a half ago I was in the hospital for similar issues and they told me then that I needed to have the gallbladder removed. But, at the time it was not giving me that many problems and the pain that it threw at me occasionally was tolerable. So I continued to ignore the issue. Unfortunately, the issue continued to grow and get worse, until I landed in the ER of our local hospital, praying for Jesus to take me home!
Paul asks us in 1 Corinthians 5:6 if we know “that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?” (NKJV) Do we know this? Do we understand that a little bit gone unnoticed and not dealt with will eventually, cause the whole lump to be infected. The longer we let an issue in our life go, or a sin in our life go not dealt with, the more it will grow until it we are sick from head to toe with it. Just like yeast in bread dough, the longer you let it sit the bigger the dough grows. If you let it go too long it ruins the whole loaf and has to be discarded.
Jesus tells us that if there is sin in our lives that is causing us troubles then we must get rid of it. Not politely, but violently. Don’t wait for it to become so bad that it affects every aspect of your life. Get it out now and toss it aside. Just like the surgeon opened me up and removed the sickness from my body, we must allow our Great Physician to remove our sicknesses. Your sin affects your entire body. I was to the point where I could not eat, and there was a constant pain in my side. I felt like I had tennis balls stuck in my side and no matter what I did it caused more and more pain, making my daily life hard to get through. Those issues and sins that you are not dealing with today will eventually catch up to you. But something else I think the Lord wants us to see is that our sin not only affects our body, it will eventually, affect the whole body of Christ.
“For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function, so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.” Romans 12:4-5 NKJV
We are not alone. We are one body and the whole body is affected by our decisions, our choices and our sins. My kids, when they were teenagers, used to tell me that it was their life and they could choose to live however they wanted. But, I would remind them that statement was not true. Every single choice we make, every single decision we are faced with will, in some way or another, affect someone else. Our personal choices, our personal liberties, our personal decisions will in some way affect the body of Christ, either for the good or for the bad. The choices we make will either help the body to grow and become a healthy body or it will cause it to become sickly.
These sins in our lives that we keep living with because they are tolerable will eventually grow until they are so painful we cannot function. That little bit of leaven you don’t think is so bad today will grow into a larger lump and not only will your personal body be affected, but the whole body of Christ will suffer with you. The more I push aside unforgiveness, the more I push aside hurt and pain, the more I push aside the Holy Spirit knocking on the door of my heart the sicker I will become. We cannot go through this Christian life thinking that our choices and decisions have no affect on anyone, because they do!
We are members of one body and if there is a part of the body that is sick, then the rest of the body needs to step up and do something about it. No wonder why the body of Christ has no power in this nation- we have allowed sick members to remain, tolerating their sins and adapting the worldly mentality that it is our life and we can live it as we choose. Letting sick members continue in our body only makes the rest of us sick too.
If you go back to 1 Corinthians 5:1-5 you will see that Paul is telling us the same thing. They have allowed a sickness into their body and it has affected the whole body. In verse 5 he tells the Corinthian church to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that “his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.” (1 Corinthians 5:5 NKJV) The longer you ignore the sins and the issues in your life, the sicker you will become and eventually your sickness will affect the whole body.
“Therefore, purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover was sacrificed for us.”
1 Corinthians 5:7 NKJV
The longer you let sin, unforgiveness, bitterness, envy, malice and all those other issues your Great Physician has been showing you needs to be purged from your life, the sicker you will become. Because I chose to ignore the issues my gallbladder was giving me a year and a half ago, I ended up sick and in need of emergency medical attention. Christ did not suffer and die for just a few of us, He suffered and died for the whole body- His body. The more we tolerate these issues and sins in our lives, the sicker we will become, and the sicker His body will become.
Let us not be so full of pride in our hearts that we think the warning signs will just go away. Let us get out of this worldly mindset that our choices have no affect on our body or on the body of Christ. Let us remind ourselves daily that a little leaven will leaven the whole lump, and let us be willing to lie down on the table of our Great Surgeon, our Great Physician and let Him remove the sick members of our bodies. Then and only then, can we truly begin to be healthy again. Amen?