In my career as an obstetrician before I became a pastor, I performed thousands of circumcisions. They were quick and easy to perform. The primary issue was the pain the procedure would cause. And as with any medical procedure, a consent form was required to be signed by the parent or legal guardian before I would perform the surgery.
In the Old Testament, circumcision was a sign that you had accepted God’s covenant and His lordship in your life. In the New Testament, we see the spiritual application of this procedure as having real life consequences. We read in Colossians 2:11, When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. Christ performed a spiritual circumcision—the cutting away of your sinful nature.
What a promise! Do we realize the good news contained in the fact that Jesus will perform a spiritual circumcision on our heart? And all we have to do is invite Him into our heart! To the Master Surgeon, circumcision is a simple procedure. It will be painful, for sure. And it requires us to sign a consent form to be signed by us. But the rewards are literally out of this world that begin with a change in our evil desires! Paul alludes to this fact in verse 23 where he states that the ceremonial law which points forward to Jesus, could “provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.” But by cutting away our sinful nature, our desires are changed. When our desires our changed, our behavior changes. And we have done nothing but submit to a procedure that our Savior does masterfully! The issue is whether we want our evil desires to be changed. Think about it. Thank about your desires. A desire is something you really want. If you really want something, it is hard to make a decision to allow Jesus to transform you to the point that you don’t want it anymore. It’s a painful procedure and one that can fill us with anxiety.
It is painful and provokes anxiety because we want what we want and we want it now. We want to be free. We think that freedom means pursuing our desires. But our evil desires always result in more pain at some point in the future. What we fail to realize is that true freedom only comes when we are free in Christ. This means we allow Christ into our hearts to perform this simplest of procedures.
You see, we are actually bound by our desires. Evil desires lead to behaviors that may feel great at the time, but always cause pain in the end. This pain is much worse than the pain of a spiritual circumcision that leads to a life of peace, contentment, and joy. So the issue comes down to this simple question: Will I submit to the pain of a spiritual circumcision today, or would I rather endure the pain of my evil desires tomorrow?