When it comes to going to the doctor, I’ve got friends on two ends of the spectrum. On one end are people who don’t like to go see the doctor. They like to say, “Every time I go to the doctor, they find something wrong.” By not going, they assume the problem isn’t there and won’t go until it’s too late to be helped. On the other end, I’ve got friends who want full body scans often. They’ll say, “If there’s something going on anywhere in me, I want to know about it.” They realize that something can pop up quickly, and they want to catch it early knowing it gives them a greater chance at success in beating it.
Psalm 139 is one of those chapters many of us quote or have memorized. It starts out saying, “O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me” (AMP). God has searched each one of us and knows what’s going on in us well before we do. He is acquainted with ALL our ways. He not only knows the number of hairs on our head, but He also knows our thoughts and intents. He knows us better than we know ourselves. The psalmist understood that and began this psalm recognizing who God is, which makes it interesting that he closed the psalm by saying, “Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart; Test me and know my anxious thoughts; And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, And lead me in the everlasting way.”
The closing search is what I referred to earlier. It’s so that he would know what’s going on inside himself. He invited God to thoroughly go through the hidden places of his heart, to the dark corners of his mind and to find the skeletons in his closets so that he could be led more surely in God’s ways. It’s something each of us need to invite God to do. God already knows what He’s going to find, and He loves us anyway. It’s truly up to us to invite Him in to expose our hidden sins and intents so that we can follow Him more closely. There’s no need to fear a thorough search. He’ll forgive what gets exposed, you’ll find freedom and walk more confidently in the everlasting way.
I’ve got a friend who doesn’t like to go to the doctor. He says, “Every time I go, they find something wrong.” Isn’t that the point? If there’s something wrong, wouldn’t you want to know about it? For some people, if the problem isn’t exposed, it doesn’t exist. So if they don’t go to doctor and have the tests run, they aren’t really sick. That’s the wrong way to think about things. If you have a sickness and there’s a cure, wouldn’t you want that sickness exposed so the disease doesn’t run its course?
To some of you, what I just described sounds crazy. Others of you can identify with it. Whichever side you’re on, the truth is that many of us think the way my friend does when it comes to sin in our lives. We don’t want to shed light on it or expose it, much less have a test run to prove it exists in our body. If there’s something wrong spiritually with you, wouldn’t you want to know about it? Wouldn’t you want to get it cured?
David fell into the group that wanted to go to the doctor often and have tests run to make sure nothing was wrong. In Psalm 26:2 he prayed, “Examine me, GOD, from head to foot, order your battery of tests. Make sure I’m fit inside and out” (MSG). He wasn’t afraid to have God shine His light into every dark corner of his life. He knew that sin likes to lay hidden in our lives unexposed. It tells us to pretend we are perfect and nothing is wrong. The truth is that all of us are infected with sin, and the way we rid ourselves of it is to expose it to the light of God’s Word.
If we truly want to live the lives God has called us to, we can’t be afraid to go to The Doctor and have Him test our lives. God will not condemn us for having Him expose our sins. Instead, He will be faithful to forgive us and to lead us down His paths. We can’t be afraid that He will find something wrong with us or what others will think. There’s a cure for the sin that’s holding us back and it’s free. Jesus already paid the price for our sin and has written out the prescription. Ask God today to examine you so you can be fit inside and out.
Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
Have you ever done something wrong and then tried to cover it up? Of course you have. You’re human. There’s something inside of us that think if we cover it up, no one will know and it will go away. I’ve been trying it since I was a kid. In fact, my friends and I once started a fire when we were young. When it started smoking a lot, we tried to cover it up…with dried up pine needles. The fire roared even bigger. Instead of asking an adult for help, we went to my friend’s brother who was only two years older. By the time he realized he couldn’t put it out either, a neighbor saw the blaze and called the fire department who came and prevented a huge forest fire. By then, there was still significant damage we could have avoided had we confessed sooner.
I’ve found that people are more willing to forgive your shortcomings when you’re open and honest about them. But there’s this voice in our heads that creates doubts and insecurities in us. It tells us, “If they knew this about you, they would never talk to you.” When we listen to that voice, we choose to cover up our sins, failures and shortcomings which compounds the problem. We know it doesn’t work, but we try anyway thinking we might get away with it this time. The temptation to cover things up is such a challenge that it’s often more tempting than the temptation to sin. The problem is that sin covered up is unconfessed sin.
Proverbs 28:13 says, “If you cover up your sin you’ll never do well. But if you confess your sins and forsake them, you will be kissed by mercy” (TPT). We confess our sins to God for forgiveness. We confess them to others for healing. We need to get better at showing people mercy for their confessed sins. That’s the only way to break this cycle of covering up sins. We all sin, and we all need mercy and grace from each other. Jesus said it was the merciful who will obtain mercy. Let mercy start with you today.
Years ago, I found myself sitting in my room holding a loaded 12 gauge shotgun. I had two people in mind as I sat there knowing where and when they’d meet. At that moment, I realized that every sin lives in me. It’s only waiting for the right circumstances to be woken up. It scared me to death that I could be capable of such a thing. I put down the gun and drove for over an hour away. I then parked on the shoulder and sat there fighting the mental battle to not return home. I didn’t want to make an emotional decision that would affect the rest of my life.
David knew that struggle as well. The wrong circumstances plus the wrong thoughts equals the wrong action. In Psalm 19:12-13 he prayed, “How can I know all the sins lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults. Keep your servant from deliberate sins! Don’t let them control me. Then I will be free of guilt and innocent of great sin” (NLT). He found that certain circumstances awoken hidden sins, and the more he thought about it, they became deliberate sins.
I think this is something we all struggle with at some point in our lives. We get caught up in a moment and time, combined with our emotions, our thoughts have the ability to run wild and direct our actions. A momentary weakness creates a lifetime of regret. A hidden sin in our heart, when woken up, can cause us to do or want to do the unthinkable. David prayed against those. He didn’t want to be controlled by thoughts that caused him to sin against God and others. That’s why he continued the prayer to go a step further.
He prayed, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” If thoughts control your actions, why not pray that your thoughts would be pleasing to God? What we think and meditate on grows in our lives. We can choose to entertain thoughts that develop hidden sins or we can choose to meditate on good things. Proactive prayer can keep us from the hidden sins lurking in our hearts.