When Humble Desperation is Good

Dr. Jesus encourages his sick and not yet desperate hearers:

“Any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:33)

Dr. Paul encourages his sick and not yet desperate readers:

“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith — that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:7-11)

Dr. Chyne encourages his sick and not yet desperate patients:

“I see you are not bad enough for me yet.” For if a patient really believes and feels his disease and danger, he will show it by readiness to yield to the remedies the physician in joins, however trying they may be.” (William Jay, Morning Exercises, 148)

Consider the fantastic benefits of the Great Physician:

He sees our sin and offers us pardon. Our record of sins is placed on his shoulders. He is condemned and damned in our stead. We are declared innocent and set free. There remains no condemnation for all who are in Christ Jesus.

He sees our deficit and offers us merit. Not only are we declared innocent, but we are declared sufficiently righteous. His goodness is placed on our shoulders. From this point on, we are regarded and rewarded as if we are “holy, holy, holy.”

He sees our pain and offers us comfort. Our shame is replaced with confidence. Our depression is replaced with joy. Our restlessness gives way to peace, anxiety to faith, and discontentedness to thanksgiving.

He sees our waywardness and offers us guidance. As Christians, we have a Loving Father, who sends us a Sacrificial Husband, who sends us a Wonderful Counselor. At conversion, the Holy Spirit moves in and begins the process of illuminating the scriptures and granting us personal direction.

He sees our sad independence and offers us community. Hating isolation and loneliness, our God divinely prescribed his treatment plan. Neighborhood assemblies or local churches are his gracious means of encouraging, maturing, and mobilizing his patients.

He sees our weakness and offers us power. Great is our war against the unholy devil, his unholy pagan influences, and our unholy indwelling sin. However, God is greater than any degree of unholy opposition — external or internal. Therefore, we get to experience Spirit-worked victory on numerous battle fronts until the final day when Christ fully finishes the war.

He sees our weariness and offers us retirement. One day soon, Christ will end our days by either our death or his return. And when that happens, what a glorious day of vacation that will be — no Satan, no sinful temptations, no sinful persecution, no sinful inclinations, no effects of the fall, perfect environment, perfect bodies, perfect friends, and perfect worship whenever the King determines to assemble his saints.

Oh friends, isn’t this what we desire? Don’t we need the good benefits of the Great Physician?

Consider the desperate humility we should express:

Perhaps an illustration will help. We should see ourselves as owners of sinking vessels. As captains, we have made many catastrophic errors. Now, we do not know where we are, the wind and waves are having their way with us, and our boat has become utterly inoperable. Our vessel is filling with water. Time is running short. And there is nothing we can do to help ourselves. However, there is good news. Jesus Christ has seen our folly and growing condition. Fueled with loving compassion, he has boarded his vessel and come our way. We hear his voice. We see his face. We realize his gracious intentions. Oh, how we need and desire his benefits. And now we feel his tender and powerful hand grabbing our arm and lifting us to safety.

Friends, in this situation, what is reasonable? What is proper? What ought we to do?

Dr. Chyne would tell us to consider our desperate condition, put aside other counselors, put aside other remedies, cease our means of self-treatment, and trust the Great Physician — alone.

Dr. Paul would tell us to put aside any confidence in sinful mortifications, behavior modifications, spiritual disciplines, ecclesiastical fellowships, and religious traditions. He would tell us to cease trusting all other doctors and trust the Great Physician — alone.

Dr. Jesus would tell us to see our sin, see our consequences, hear his voice, see his face, realize his intentions, and feel his tender and powerful hands. He would tell us to cease our labors. He would tell us to place no faith in our works. He would tell us to be humble. He would tell us to be desperate. He would tell us he’s got us — all by himself — alone. He would tell us to humbly and desperately let go.

Oh friends, are you sick? Are you desperate? Are you humble? Get ready to be doctored well by the Great Physician. He’ll fix what ails you — without you — all by himself — alone. Relax. Let go. Be saved.

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