From my late 20s until my late 30s, when I had a third (and hopefully final) surgical procedure, a condition involving a hyperactive parathyroid gland required me to undergo dozens of medical tests and x-rays. At one point, I had a scan called a sestamibi. As I researched the procedure in preparation for it, I found myself drawing parallels to how the Holy Spirit works in our lives.
In a sestamibi scan, a very mild radioactive dye is first injected into the bloodstream and eventually absorbed by the hyperactive gland. During the scan, which involves taking x-ray pictures of the patient’s neck, the gland that has absorbed the dye will glow as a “hot spot,” making it easy for the doctor to identify the problem and determine the next steps for treating the patient.
As with other conditions or diseases, sometimes there are subtle or obvious symptoms that alert us to a problem in our bodies. However, we may not be able to identify what the situation is or where the problem originated on our own. We often have to rely on a physician’s examination and advanced medical procedures to diagnose and resolve the issue.
Similarly, certain symptoms in our lives may alert us to spiritual problems. Anxiety, conflict, stress, bitterness, a sense of dissatisfaction, restlessness and many other emotions or attitudes should alert us to something being wrong. Sometimes, however, we choose to ignore the symptoms or use our own “home remedies” and “bandages,” but these are only temporary fixes that can often exacerbate the problem.
What we need to do is go to the Great Physician. When we submit our lives to Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit works in us and through us and can help us identify the “hot spots” that cause us to stumble and sin. When we admit that this or that area of our lives is unhealthy, infected or broken, we can then humbly ask the Lord to remove the problem and to heal our spiritual disease.
Few people would say they enjoy going to the hospital to be examined or treated, but we know that those steps are necessary…and good for us. They are temporary, minor discomforts that eventually lead to better health and comfort.
In the same way, we may not enjoy the discipline or spiritual “surgery” that God requires us to go through at times, but let us remember that we need it! Hebrews 12:11 reminds us:
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
I challenge you, in the coming days, to allow God to search your heart and remove the “hot spots” in your life that keep you from being whole.