Medical Hypocrisy

Wow, it’s been quite awhile since I last posted. After taking a little break over the holidays, it’s been hard to overcome the vacation inertia to start writing again. That’s a spiritual lesson in and of itself.

I read Medscape’s Family Physician Lifestyle Report 2014 this morning and I found it quite interesting. I’m not sure where they got the numbers, but in this study, 48% of family physicians reported being overweight, with a BMI >25. This is second only to surgeons, who came in at 49%. If you are curious, dermatologists were the least heavy at 23%.

Whatever the specialty, it does seem like not many doctors (or any healthcare provider for that matter) lead the healthy lifestyle that they preach to patients day in and day out. It’s always funny (and sad at the same time) to see cardiologists taking smoking breaks between doing caths and stress tests. Most people know I have quite the sweet tooth.

Dr. Nick always talked about how he was practicing medical hypocrisy, promoting health when he himself weighed more than 400 lbs. If you haven’t taken the time to watch this short clip of his testimony, it’s an encouragement. By the way, happy belated birthday Dr. Nick.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqnOnMUT6cU

Our patients are better served when our lives are congruent with the healthy living that we are promoting. In the same way, as Christians, our testimonies are more powerful when our lives line up with what the Bible teaches. Unfortuantely, many are turned away because of the hypocrisy that they see in the church and in professing Christians.

How are we doing? Do our outward actions match our inward convictions and the truth of Scripture? For the legalists among us (myself included), do our outward “good” actions come out of a transformed heart? Or are we doing things simply out of duty because it is what “good” Christians do.

Obviously all of us are not where we should be, and we need the grace of God not just to save us, but to sustain us as we seek to obey Him. But my prayer is that we would not just do loving things, but become loving people as we grow more in Christlikeness so that we are transformed both inside and out.

 

 

 

Fake it until you make it

The title of this post pretty much summarizes how I felt throughout my residency, especially during intern year. After the novelty of being called a doctor and having a pager on my belt wore off (which wasn’t very long), I quickly realized, in many instances, I had very little idea what I was doing.

Yes, I studied my butt off through four years of medical school, but unfortunately book knowledge didn’t transfer automatically over to real life application. I still remember doing my first lumbar puncture on a baby and having the mom and grandmother both in the room asking me if I had ever done this before. Thankfully I had a great senior resident, and everything turned out just dandy.

It’s a bit of a strange paradox, being officially a doctor as a resident in title, but lacking the skills and knowledge that patients expect you to have. And it is through residency training that you acquire (hopefully) the skills necessary to be a competent physician. In many ways, it is pretending to know what you are doing until you actually figure it out.

It’s interesting how this parallels our spiritual lives. Apart from God we have all fallen short of God’s standards, and as a result, await judgment and God’s wrath. But because of Christ’s death on the cross, through faith in Jesus, all our sins are put onto Him, and all His perfect obedience is given to us. And so, instead of standing before God as sinners, in Christ we are justified, positionally perfect before God.

But yet, in our character, attitudes, and behaviors, we are far from perfect. We still struggle with sin, and we will continue to until the next life. And while Christ’s death made us right with God, the Holy Spirit then comes and makes us perfect within as we are perfect positionally before God, the process of sanctification.

So from this knowledge of who we are, holy and redeemed in God’s eyes, we are then commanded to obey even when naturally we might not. Not that we are to pretend and put up a false image of being all put together(although there might be a temptation to do that). But none of us are as loving, as patient, as considerate, as whatever as we know we should be. And in our obedience, the Holy Spirit gradually transforms us so that eventually the reality of positional holiness will be true of our inner self as well.

We are saved only by God’s grace. Let us not forget that we also grow only by God’s grace, through the work of the Holy Spirit. And while there is nothing we can do on our own to produce this kind of change, let us position our hearts in a way that allows the Holy Spirit to do His work.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5