Last Friday was my annual well visit (aka check up). Well visits are encouraged by insurance companies now but that doesn't make them any more enjoyable. I know that I need to lose a few pounds, I know that my cholesterol has been creeping up, and I know that my thyroid levels were not perfect at my last well visit. Well visits are uncomfortable because it causes us to face reality. Regardless of the fact I am several pounds overweight, my cholesterol measured high, and my thyroid levels need to be watched, I don't want to actually believe that. I have been exercising and eating healthy (at least on weekdays) for the last month, which happens to be about the amount of time one needs to get their cholesterol down, but one month of trying to make better choices did not get me an A grade on my well visit.
Well visits dig deep. If you looked at me with the exception of a few extra pounds, you wouldn't assume that I have any reason to be concerned about my health. I am relatively young, I feel good (most days), and I am somewhat trying to make healthy choices. Well visits on the other hand explore places I wouldn't think to look! They draw blood, the run test, and they ask questions!
In a similar way our spiritual health can appear to be tip top while we are actually in need of serious (spiritual) medical attention! To the world the Pharisees would have seemed to be the most healthy of anyone, spiritually speaking. They prayed, they had scripture memorizes, and they tithed! However, Jesus told them that they were like white washed sepulchers. That would be like Jesus telling us we were like a marble mausoleum. Truly they appear beautiful on the outside, but inside they are just full of dead mean's bones.
On the outside we can appear spiritual and righteous but inwardly we can be filled with spiritual decay, corruption, and uncleanness. We all need to have our spiritual lives examined. Caution must be exercised because our heart is deceitful (Jer. 17:9), and will cause us to think we are alright when in fact we are not.
In the book of Amos God visits His people Israel and tells the prophet that he will set a plumb line against them. Matthew Henry says that, "Israel was a wall, a strong wall, which God himself had reared, as a bulwark, or wall of defense, to his sanctuary, which he set up among them." God is now bringing judgment on His people and before He brings it, He sets the plumb line to show just how far their wall has bent or bulged before He brings it down! The picture is powerful. The people of Israel were living lives that when compared to God and His Word were crooked! They weren't in "plumb."
I wonder what our lives look like? We must carefully compare our lives to the plumb line of Gods Word and ask God to straighten the walls of our heart so that we line up with His Word! David prayed a prayer that is both practical and applicable to this in Psalm 139:23-24: "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."
The word "wicked" in V.24 means painful or harmful. David realized that sin was harmful to his spiritual life and would lead to destruction. David would rather go through the pain of realizing his wrongs now than the ultimate pain of realizing them too late! May we pray with David for God to search us by His Holy Spirit through His precious Word and shine His light on our hearts leaving no sin in the dark and then lead us in the paths of righteousness forever!
"As every individual most know his sins at some period, a wise man will seek to know them here, because the present is the only time in which to glorify God, by confessing, by renouncing, [and] by overcoming them." William Howels