Ala Carte Medicine (Philippians 4:19)

“Let me give you some advice.”


Several years ago, one of my dermatology colleagues was enthusiastically sharing the story of his recent encounter with his personal physician. He was fifteen years my senior and was planning on retiring soon. 


“We doctors are the worst, right? We know medicine and think we can confidently self-diagnose, but we tend to ala carte it, don’t we? If we have a back problem, we refer ourselves to an orthopedic surgeon. If we have a problem with digestion, we call our gastroenterologist. Most of the time, we are correct, but what we really need is an annual comprehensive physical examination and complete blood work by a good primary care physician. We need to know our baseline before we go self-referring to specialists. I’m so glad I did. He found stuff that I wouldn’t have even noticed! My advice to you, find a good primary care physician and stick with that person.”


He was correct. It had been over ten years since my last physical examination and complete laboratory evaluation. Inspired by my colleague, I immediately called a trusted internist who was also a good friend and scheduled a comprehensive physical examination for myself. 


When we have knowledge or expertise in an area of life, we may grow overconfident in our own abilities. I am guilty of this. Perhaps in medicine, it is understandable, but I have fallen victim to this in my personal and spiritual life as well. I think my organizational skills are sufficient to navigate a difficult crisis in my office. I think my years of relationships gives me sufficient knowledge to handle a prickly issue with my children. In my spiritual life, I may read financial or martial books by Christian authors. While these are important, it is taking the same ala carte approach that I do with medicine. I need a God who will oversee my entire life, every moment I exist.


This is the danger of self-confidence. Like my medical ailments, I cannot ala carte God and berry-pick areas in my life where I think I need God’s help. I must always depend upon God, not when I think it is convenient or when I think I have exhausted all my resources. 


And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:19 (ESV)




Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.


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