‘Come as you are’ – He meant it
I heard of a man once that stood outside of a church. As he stood there, a church congregant walked outside to invite him in. When asked the question, the man replied, ‘I’m an alcoholic. I’ve been drinking. I can’t go in there,’ then he turned and walked away. If only that man knew how wrong he was. If only he knew he just walked away from the exact place he was supposed to be. If only he knew there was a room full of people that wanted him there, and a God that stood with open arms waiting to receive him – no matter his state of mind.
But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, they that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.
They that are sick
Jesus made this statement directly after the Pharisees asked his disciples why he would sit with ‘scum’ like tax collectors. Tax Collectors during this time period were despised and known for their dishonesty. Jesus’ response here identifies beautifully his character as he makes it clear that he didn’t come for the righteous, he came for all that know we are sick in sin. What I find intensely interesting about this verse however, is the beautiful simple way he explains his purpose through a comparison we all have the ability to understand, yet, our struggle in coming to alignment with it – is so great. When we are sick we don’t hesitate to see a doctor. I recently had a toothache. The pain was so intense I nearly rejoiced when I heard my dentist say, ‘Yep, we’re doing a root canal.’ I didn’t care what he had to do, all I wanted was the pain to go away so that my irritability would be gone, I could once again enjoy eating, and the throbbing pain in my head would go away.
It’s a no brainer – when we are sick, we know we have a need – we don’t like the way sickness feels so we seek medical attention without hesitation.
Turn this sickness into sin though, and we bristle. Like the drunk man standing outside the church, our mentality changes, we don’t see Jesus with eyes of a healer anymore. Instead, we see him as a distant king, one that could never want a subject of our likeness – and with that step – we become our own limiting factor with the perception that He could never want us in such a condition.
And therein lies the problem
We see the King of the Universe with the same eyes that see the king of a country. If we were step into the presence of an Earthly king we would wash ourselves up, put on our best clothing, behave our best way and speak with a tongue of perfection. This behavior though in the presence of our Savior – the King of Creation, is absolutely opposite of that which Jesus says we approach him. To step into HIS throne room, there is no need to wash ourselves up, we don’t have to have the best apparel and he understands the words we speak are not going to be perfect. You see, he wants us in the exact state that we are in right here and right now. He taught us this in his washing of the disciples’ feet. He showed us in this action that he sees past our dirtiness, and isn’t afraid to step in, roll up his sleeves and wash us clean, in fact he says HIS washing of us is a requirement.
Today I say, stop. If you’re living in sin, feeling unworthy, and too dirty to step into His house, and His presence – understand that this thought comes directly from the father of lies. Take a step of defiance away from that lie by taking a step-in obedience to the God that loves you just as you are.
He desires us in the midst of our sin, and we need Him in the midst of our sin.
He longs for us. Not in our imagined wholeness, but in the reality of our brokenness. He yearns to be our fixer, healer, provider – Savior. His desire, is to take our inadequacy and mold it into sufficiency while transforming us to a vessel that serves as a channel from which His glory will radiate.
I encourage you today, to combat the lies of the enemy that whispers in your ear telling you that your sin is too dirty – your sickness too great. Declare in the face of your adversary the words of Isaiah 44:22, ‘I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free.’ The sacrifice for your dirtiness has already been made, those sins have already been wiped away – now it’s your turn to allow the Master Physician to step in to be your Healer. Don’t make the same mistake as the drunk man turning away after being only steps away from the exact place he needed to be. Remove the thought that tells you to clean yourself up first, and believe God’s word that beckons you to ‘Come as you are,’ make that choice today – Choose Him.