Alive and Active Life
Alive and Active Life
The Importance of Scrubbing-In

I was reading recently from Dr. David Stevens’ book, Jesus, MD, and was struck by the idea of scrubbing-in. Apparently, it’s a big deal for a doctor to scrub-in for every surgery. It’s just part of the life of a surgeon. There is a proper way, step by step, to scrub-in. The ritual takes a fair bit of time. After scrubbing-in, if you get an itchy nose, someone else needs to scratch it. A scrub nurse helps the Dr. finish the tedious process so the very best, sterile conditions can be maintained during a surgery.

Why Do Drs Scrub-In?

There are three reasons surgeons diligently practice scrubbing-in:

  • Keep from contaminating the patient.
  • Keep from getting contaminated themselves.
  • Keep from contaminating others.

Scrubbing-in is not an occasional ritual. It’s necessary for each surgery. Sterile conditions are critical for the cutting, exploring, cleaning, removal, and fixing properties of surgery. Infection is one of the worst threats of surgery. To lower risks, the scrub-in procedure is a safety net.

Spiritual Scrubbing-In

In his book, Dr. Stevens relays that Christians need to spiritually scrub-in. The “sterility reality” for a believer in Jesus is called holiness. Holiness comes only from God. No one is righteous on their own. (Rom. 3:10 and 20) Every person needs a good scrubbing in two ways.

When you trust Jesus for salvation, God takes your unsterile condition away and replaces it with His purity (His holiness) through the blood of Christ. That is your initial cleansing. However, there is a second kind of scrubbing needed even for people who believe Jesus and follow Him.

Why Believers Scrub-In Daily

Christians scrub-in for the same kinds of reasons Drs do:

  • Keep from contaminating believers they are nurturing and people who don’t know Jesus.
  • Keep from getting contaminated themselves by the world and its evil influences.
  • Keep from contaminating others with anything less than God’s grace.

Scrubbing-in for a believer takes place as you spend time in Scripture and prayer each day. As you listen to the quiet voice of God and let His scrub brush do its work, the Scriptures have a way of revealing unsterile, unhealthy patterns. God’s Word is powerful. It gets into the nooks and crannies of your heart where compromise may linger. The Holy Spirit speaks truth into your conscience as you open yourself to His cleansing process. This takes humility and honesty. You may need to ask God to heal your conscience so you can hear His voice and apply His guidance. A seared conscience blocks communication with God.

The Psalmist asked for a good scrubbing. “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.  (Ps. 139:23-24)

God is a surgeon of unmatched skill. He knows how to heal you from the inside out and transform your life. And not only you. Jesus cares about each person. He gave His life to bring whoever will trust Him back to Himself (first scrubbing). Until Jesus returns, and He will, we live with sin-inflicted conditions that need God’s surgery (second scrubbing). There is hope to live a holy life – a life that pleases God and changes you. Then you can help with God’s surgery in other people.

Do you regularly scrub-in? Why not humble yourself and be cleansed from the dirt of the day? Let God infuse the holiness He gave you when you first trusted Him for salvation, into your daily reality? Why not partner with God to provide surgery and healing for others who need His touch.

It’s time to scrub-in!


P.S. If you like reading about Christian doctors, I encourage you to get Dr. Stevens’ book, Jesus, MD. I also encourage you with another excellent read – Miracle at Tenwek.


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