THE INCREASE: Victor Black - A Spiritual Debridement

According to Webster’s Dictionary, a “debridement” is the medical removal of dead, damaged or infected tissue to improve the healing potential of the remaining healthy tissue. I recently had an elbow debridement to remove a large bone chip, or loose body as they say, and shave down a couple little bone spurs that had formed inside my elbow joint.

Why would this kind of procedure be valuable to the health of my elbow? From the surgery to healing and rehab, this can be a very frustrating and grueling situation that some would rather just find a way to live with rather than having it fixed. In my case, I had almost grown used to the discomfort and began creating habits to deal with the issues my elbow began to have due to the bone fragment and spurs.

Is that not often our attitude toward our spiritual life? We confess with our mouths and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord. At that very moment the Holy Spirit rushes upon us and begins to guide us in our lives, and more times than not that experience begins with an active pruning of the sinful and harmful habits we were accustomed to in our previous life. This isn’t always easy, and we aren’t always so reluctant to give them up. We have found ways to live with them, hide them, mask the fallout from them and, in turn, do not see these ways of life as a great hindrance.

This brings us to the turning point and a single question: Does the Lord care about perfecting me in the image of Christ, or is He OK with me continuing to limp through life with the rags of my old self? The answer is: He cares, and He cares greatly! Our spiritual wellbeing is far greater than our physical wellbeing.

“You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” — Ephesians 4:22-24

I have had my fair share of spiritual surgeries. Most don’t require anesthesia, and they take very little time to see the truth. I begin to walk in that, and only by the power of the Holy Spirit.

And there are times when I have been living in ways that can only been brought to life by marriage. I will tell you it is no joke when they say marriage will shine a light on your selfishness. Things that I wouldn’t have probably ever recognized in my single days are now center stage. One large issue I’ve been walking through — and can I say not easily? — is learning to communicate with Amanda, my wife, in a way unique to her that serves and honors her, while glorifying the Lord with each word. I have always believed myself to be a good communicator, but I am being humbled most days in that belief.

This is one of my spiritual bone chips, one that I had learned to work around and find a way to still be effective with. But my Heavenly Father loves me too much to let me continue to walk in this manner. God is constantly perfecting us in Him, and the blessing of my wife to be part of that process is so beautiful.

I challenge you to take a few minutes after reading this to find a quiet place and ask the Lord if there are areas of your life where you have gotten used to an old, life-taking habit? It may be big, or it may be small, but it matters. These dead or infected ways of living have no place in the life of a son or daughter of the Most High God. As He begins to show you these areas, vigilantly ask Him to show you His truth and how He would have you walk in a new, healthy, life-giving way.

Victor Black, professional pitcher

The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit for more stories and videos.