With a stethoscope and a clock to watch, you can take a reading of your heart rate. With a slender thermometer under your tongue, your body’s temperature can be found. With an inflatable sleeve and pump, your blood pressure can be obtained. These instruments were developed so that medical professionals could determine the different conditions of the body, and check to see whether they are at healthy levels.
Any levels unusually low or high could indicate that the body is unhealthy in some way. If any of these indicators—pulse, temperature, or blood pressure—is abnormally high, this would be a symptom of an underlying problem, not the problem itself.
When God designed us, He created signs and symptoms which would alert us when something is wrong, and alert us to our need to seek rest or medical attention. In a similar fashion, God has designed us spiritually so that certain signs and symptoms warn us when something on a deeper level needs correction. One of these warning signs is “place-seeking.”
An example of place-seeking is found in the Book of 2 Samuel. Absalom was the son of King David; he was a prince. Beyond the fame and riches he possessed, God also gifted Absalom with outstanding physical attractiveness. It seemed he had everything. But Absalom wanted more: he wanted to be king. He began a program to get himself noticed and gain popularity. “Oh that I were made judge in the land, that every man which hath any suit or cause might come unto me, and I would do him justice!” (2 Samuel 15:4). Absalom cleverly hinted that he ought to occupy a greater place than the one he had.
Absalom’s place-seeking was the symptom of the destructive pride which was growing in his heart. This pride caused him to commit murder, to rebel against his father the king, and even to seek his father’s life! Had Absalom recognized the symptoms of his pride and sought the Lord’s help and forgiveness, he would not have died in his sins. Had he humbled himself and asked for God’s help, surely God would have answered his prayer and made him content with what he had and the position he filled.
Have we had a spiritual check-up lately? Are we content with where God has placed us, and are we fulfilling our service “as to the Lord, and not unto men”? Pride can take many forms, and place-seeking is only one of them. But when we recognize the symptom, we can bring the condition to the Great Physician, and He will provide the remedy: “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time” (1 Peter 5:6).