By Michael D. Quillen, Sr.

One of my favorite stories as a young man was about a character with leprosy who reluctantly saved the people of an alternate “earth” through his death. There are interesting parallels to the Gospel in the story, but the part I want you to think about is the truth I learned about leprosy from this character.

The problem with leprosy, it turns out, is really the numbness that occurs as the disease injures nerves. Lepers lose parts of their bodies because they don’t sense pain when an extremity is hurt. They don’t know to attend to a wound and treat it because they don’t even know the injury is there. A leper could walk around with a raging infection in their foot or reach out to grab something with a broken hand without even knowing there was a problem.

For those reasons, the character was constantly doing what he called “Visual Surveillance of Extremities” (VSE). He surveyed his body all the time for injuries. His life and health depended upon looking at his edges.

This is a very good picture for Christian life and health. We tend to rationalize little sins on the edges of our lives. We bump into sin that harms us more than we realize.Visual Surveillance of Extremeties

God created us with sensitivity to sin that can be dulled if we don’t pay attention to it. As surely as a leper loses physical feeling in his extremities, people lose spiritual sensitivity on the edges of their lives. If we do not pay attention, eventually serious damage will show up.

Before you make resolutions about dieting and exercise this New Year, do a little VSE of your life from a spiritual perspective. Extend the eyes of your heart to the edges of your life. You will certainly find health and wholeness. Praise the Lord for it. But don’t let the little wounds fester. Repent of them when you see them – and praise the Lord for that, too!

Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do… They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity. But that is not the way you learned Christ!— assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. — Ephesians 4:17–24