Cal Jernigan – Senior Pastor
It happens once a year, and if I am honest, I have to say I hate it. I dread it. I would do just about anything but have to subject myself to it. It always leaves me feeling…well…violated.
This week I had my annual physical check-up with my physician. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great guy and I know he cares about me (he’s even a member of Central) but nobody ought to have to be subjected to the kinds of things he does to me. I don’t know of anybody who enjoys it (If you do, you need to see a doctor!).
An annual exam is something we all would benefit from. We need to be examined by someone who knows what they’re doing and fully understands what they’re looking for. For our own good we need this “intrusion” of our privacy.
But needing it doesn’t make it any easier, just necessary.
Part of the testing my doctor puts me through is making me have an EKG. If you’ve never had this special experience, let me explain. A nurse places a bunch of stickers on your body and then hooks up cables to these stickers. It’s kind of like what happens when you need to give your battery a jump start. You lay there and these cables monitor your “electrical system.” The machine whizzes and then spits out a print out that kind of looks like you’ve been given a lie detector test. Lots of lines with lots of movement.
Next, the doctor reads the report and interprets the condition of your heart. He compares how you’re doing this time as compared to your test last time. He looks for what is normal and he looks for what is not.
And then he gives you the news. What’s it all mean doc? Am I dying?
Well praise God, I passed! Walking out of the doctor’s office is always a highlight of my year.
But this got me to thinking of something the prophet Jeremiah once said,
“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” Jeremiah 17:9
Jeremiah said that there’s more to our hearts than meets the eye.
Can you handle the truth? Ready?
Our hearts will lie to us. They will tell us things that are aren’t true, and convince us they are true. They will tell us things aren’t that bad, even when they are. They will persuade us that we are justified to act the way we are acting. They will whisper to us there is nothing to be concerned about. It’s all good! Keep doing what you’re doing and living the way you’re living!
So how does one get a true reading of the spiritual condition of their heart? How does one get an honest diagnosis about the things going on inside where no one see’s the truth? How do you get a spiritual EKG?
As crazy as it sounds, God answers this very question in the very next verse:
“I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to their conduct, according to what their deeds deserve.” Jeremiah 17:10
God does the examination. He’s an “objective outside source” who takes a deep look and then diagnoses the condition he sees. He’s the honest one who pulls no punches. Through the kind and gentle touch of his spirit he reveals what’s really going on. It’s not always pleasant, but it’s always important.
But here’s the kicker…You have to listen. You have to be still long enough for him to speak to you. You have to want to know the truth. You have to trust him, and you need to act on what he reveals.
What does God want to tell you today about the condition of your heart? Ask. Listen. Respond.
Have the courage to subject yourself to God’s EKG. It can save your life.