An interesting paper was just published in a medical journal, examining the phenomenon of a familiar medical problem, “Lost to follow up.” The study was conducted at a major public teaching hospital and followed a cohort of urology patients who had been treated for prostate cancer. In this group of patients, over 50% were lost to follow up. Prior to this study, there was no good documentation of the actual number of patients who decided, for a wide variety of reasons, they did not need additional follow up care once they had surgery for their cancer. Unfortunately, even after prostate cancer is treated, regular follow-up visits are important. There is always the risk of a recurrence of the prostate cancer or worse, the development of cancers or diseases in other organs. For many of these patients, they assumed that once they were cured of their initial cancer, no further follow up was needed.
This study was a sobering reminder to me about my spiritual walk with God. I have often taken for granted the blessings of my salvation. Many years ago, I received my salvation, the “treatment” for my sins. I was enthusiastic for a while, then gradually drifted away. I became lost to follow up, content to rest in my salvation, falsely thinking that nothing more needed to be done. Instead of acting out of gratitude for Jesus’ death on the Cross and Resurrection, I adopted a sense of entitlement and complacency.
...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling...
Philippians 2:12 (ESV)
When we confess and repent of our sins and accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are saved for eternity. We can never lose our salvation but we can lose the intimacy of our relationship with God. Working out our salvation means to continue to seek opportunities to deepen our relationship with God, through the Holy Spirit. We are being sanctified, set aside to become more Christ-like. Salvation is eternal. Sanctification begins the moment we are saved and continues until we are in the presence of Jesus Christ in Heaven. I am in awe, trembling over the miraculous work that God does in my life and the life of every believer.
I can easily become lost to follow up, content with a superficial relationship with God, if I think I am “cured”. God offers His unlimited riches, power, grace, and mercy. Why would I neglect the endless benefits of salvation and never continue seeking Him?
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, don’t become lost to follow up! Seek to spend as much time and follow up visits with the God of the Universe!
Love and trust the Lord; seek His will in your life.