I Timothy 1:1-20
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. I Timothy 1:15 (NKJV)
I was having knee problems last year, and went to the doctor about it. As a part of the diagnostic procedure, he ordered an MRI. It was like going down inside the knee and figuring out what was wrong so it could be corrected. The MRI doesn't actually fix anything. It just TURNS ON THE LIGHTS so the problem CAN be fixed.
I began to wonder: what if you could get an MRI done on your soul? What if you could look around deep inside so you would know what was wrong and how to get it fixed - things like fear, anger, envy, depression.
I think David may have gotten a spiritual MRI. He said in Psalm 51: Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, and in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom. (Ps. 51:6) He knew that God wanted to TURN THE LIGHTS ON so that he (David) could get the bad stuff fixed down in those hidden places.
I think Paul had gotten a spiritual MRI. The NIV translation of I Timothy 1:15 says: Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. This is an amazing statement! Paul calls himself the chief of sinners - THE WORST!
The great evangelical leader John Stott comments on this passage: "Paul is not saying he did a careful study of every sinner in human history and found out he came in last place. The truth is, rather, when we are convicted by the Holy Spirit, an immediate result is we give up all such comparisons." Paul, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, became so vividly aware of his own sins he could not conceive that anybody could be worse. This is the language of every sinner whose conscience has been awakened and disturbed by the Holy Spirit.
It is also the place of cleansing, of healing, of wholeness. GOD TURNS ON THE LIGHTS TO HEAL - NOT TO HURT. From this place of brokenness, true strength can be experienced. This is the story of every "great" person in the Kingdom of God. God tears us down in order to build us up.
Perhaps you need a spiritual MRI today. If so, you can pray as David prayed: Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (Ps. 139:23-24)