Giving up something that threatens our health, whether physically or spiritually, can feel like giving up a limb. We can become that attached even to the unhealthy. But giving up those things that affect our spiritual health can be the difference between life and death.
In the late 1700’s and through the early 1800’s, the amputation of a limb was a trauma almost beyond comparison. The onset of gangrene from a wound or infection left little to be considered, and time was short. The physician would make the distraught patient as comfortable as possible, often with alcohol to bring a euphoric, semi-conscious state. Then, several instruments would be introduced to peel back the layers of skin and tendons, allowing for the swift removal of the infected portion—a process that took 2-3 minutes from start to finish. Recovery in general was around 30%. But death from an overwhelming infection, unless a miracle occurred, was a sure thing. So it is with sin in our lives. If we do not cut it away, forsaking its temporary reward of pleasure, we will die:
So then, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation, but not to our flesh [our human nature, our worldliness, our sinful capacity], to live according to the [impulses of the] flesh [our nature without the Holy Spirit]— for if you are living according to the [impulses of the] flesh, you are going to die. But if [you are living] by the [power of the Holy] Spirit you are habitually putting to death the sinful deeds of the body, you will [really] live forever. Romans 8: 12-13
God’s Word tells us that we have an obligation to forsake the impulses of the flesh and live by the power of the Spirit. The best way to eliminate the sin that infects both our body, and our precious spirit, is swiftly and completely. We may feel loss and even experience pain for a time, but the Great Physician promises a full recovery!