Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Paging Dr. Jesus

Not too long ago I was thinking I needed to talk to a psychologist.  I did a simple Google search for "Columbia MO psychologist."  After looking through Google's top choices, one stood out to me.  This doctor's online bio listed about ten "areas of specialty," with just about all of them being the very issues that I thought I was dealing with.  What began as a half-hearted search all of a sudden seemed promising with this discovery that there was someone out there who specialized in exactly what I thought I needed.

I called the number listed on the website and asked to make an appointment.  The receptionist informed me that "all of our doctors are booked for the next two months."  Undaunted, I asked for the earliest possible appointment with the doctor whose website I had found.  The receptionist replied, "I'm sorry, Dr. So-and-So is completely booked and is not taking any new patients."


That doctor must be really good.  His patients must really like him if he doesn't even need to expand his practice.  Or is it the other way around?  Isn't it the doctor's job to make his patients better?  Shouldn't people be getting healed to the point where they no longer need the doctor's services?  Maybe this doctor really isn't that good at all.  I thought about this for a while.

I call myself a Christian -- a follower of Jesus -- but in all honesty, I am a terrible Christian.  I rarely do the things the Bible says that Christians should do (pray, read my Bible, feed the hungry, give to the poor, etc.) and am much more skilled at finding new and creative ways to sin.  It took me a while before I realized that I was a perfect candidate for being a Christian since I was hopelessly dependent on the saving work of Jesus.  However even in that, I have had a distorted view of Jesus as something other than my living savior and treated him more as if he was my primary care physician.

For example, a typical prayer of mine goes something along these lines:
"Jesus, help me to stop sinning.  Help me to love people better.  Help me to do this and not do that.  I believe these are things that you want for me to do, so please help me to do them.  Amen."
If Jesus is truly alive and listens to the prayers of his followers, then why wouldn't he want to answer such a great prayer?  Why won't he snap his fingers and make me all better?  Doesn't he want me to do all those things?  Won't he be glorified by my good behavior?  Shouldn't good works just be flowing out of me because I am a Christian?  You know, the fruits of the Spirit and all that stuff?

Then it hit me.  I was asking Jesus to give me a spiritual prescription that would take away the symptoms that were bothering me (sin) so that what exactly...I could feel better about myself?  So that I could no longer need his services?  My friend Scott Boyd would tell me that my prayer was nothing more than asking Jesus to help me with the "Brett Barton Salvation Plan."  No wonder that prayer never got answered!  And here I was blaming him for giving me rocks and snakes when I thought I was asking for bread and fish.  But what am I doing asking for bread and fish when Jesus has already given me precisely what I need -- Himself?!?

When Jesus said that he was (and is) the Way, the Truth and the Life, I believe that he is saying that he is not only the means to an end, but he is also the end.  So now it is becoming more clear that I have been praying and asking Jesus to help me save myself, when he is the one in the business of savings lives.  He is the savior.  I am the savee.  He must increase.  I must decrease.  Why am I asking him to fix me so that I don't need him as much?  That's not really fixing me, now is it?

This is how the weak can say they are strong and the poor can say they are rich.  It's not that once Jesus comes into the picture, they will no longer be sick and struggle to pay their bills.  No, it's that the weak have something better than bulging muscles and a clean bill of health.  They have given up their striving to save themselves and are at peace in the hands of the savior.

He is the Great Physician who heals us through manifestation, revelation and impartation.  He is increasing.  He is manifesting himself, revealing himself and imparting himself to us.  This is the goal, the prize...THE LIFE.  This is the kind of doctor who the more he treats us, the more we go back to him.

And he is always taking new patients.

Bibliography: Redemption; Counterfeit Gods


  1. Well said. It's funny, isn't it, to be a "church baby" and still find ourselves discovering Him? A beautiful mystery.

  2. Brett,
    I love you my friend. Isn't it funny how we often strive for that which God has already given us, which is holiness, blamelessness, and righteousness. God's gift, which can only be accessed by faith in Christ and which we can have completely or not at all, is amazing.

  3. Felicity, it is beautiful...and yet, as you say, a complete mystery. Scott, amen. I am still amazed.