Can’t Love Others Because You Don’t Like Yourself

If you are like me, you are often your own worst enemy.  Luke 10:27 exclaims, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Many folks struggle with the last part of this verse, “loving your neighbor as yourself.”  Why?  You don’t love or like yourself.  How can you care and show compassion to others when you can’t stand who you are or represent?  You may lack self-confidence, may be jealous of another, envious of others compared to your perceived capabilities, looks, social status, achievements, etc.  Many feel that your sibling is more highly favored and respected than yourself.  You may not have met your own expectations.  In some cases, you are ashamed of your actions and/or thoughts.  Maybe you walk with a chip on your shoulder.  If you have gone mental with moment-by-moment difficulties dealing with depression, anxieties, and self-image, you are unable to free yourself to love others. Has someone hurt you and you’re tethered to them because you feel unable to forgive them? You may be bashful and self-conscious.  Maybe amends between an individual and you have not been made.

1 John 4:18 declares, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” Get rid of relational fear. Love is strangled by fear.

Mark 11:25 is eye-opening, “And whenever you stand praying, f-o-r-g-i-v-e, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”  Forgiveness is freeing.  Never forget that the two root words of “forgiving” and “forgave” in Ephesians 4:32 (“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you”) are “char” meaning joy and “charis” meaning grace.  This liberates you to “love others as yourself.”

Let’s look at the fifteen characteristics of Jesus’ love in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 that Jesus wants you to live out when you rub against each other. 

  1. Love is patient.
  2. Love is kind.
  3. Love does not envy.
  4. Love does not boast.
  5. Love is not arrogant.
  6. Love is not rude.
  7. Love does not insist on its own way.
  8. Love is irritable.
  9. Love is not resentful (keep no record of wrongs)
  10. Love does not rejoice at wrongdoing.
  11. Love rejoices with the truth.
  12. Love bears all things.
  13. Love believes all things.
  14. Love hopes all things.
  15. Love endures all things.

You love like this, Jesus will be pleased, and you will be fulfilled.  “Love as Christ loved and love your neighbor as yourself.”  Joy and grace will be your experience in life.

Not Afraid of Bad News

I don’t know about you, but some of the political commercials that are currently being aired are so unjust and ungodly that my knees buckle when I hear them.  They are abrasive, arrogant, and all about effect. Truth and “God’s will” are unabashedly being shoved to the side.  There is no longer a question.  Politics has become uncivil with “arrogant desires, devious and selfish drives” constantly being proposed.

God scolded me this week with my lack of trust in Him.  In my daily reading I came across a couple of verses that Christ-followers in America must heed.  Surely the righteous will never be shaken; they will be remembered forever. They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord” (Psalm 112:6&7).  Notice the very first modifier, “Surely”, which can be translated “assuredly, certainly, doubtlessly.”  Without reservation, “the righteous will never be shaken.” As Jesus people, we should stand strong, firm, and steady.  Why?  We are to keep our eyes on our omnipotent, omniscient, loving God living courageously and strong knowing Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).  Our faith “will be remembered forever” by those closest to us.

As a result of the courage and truth we obtain from God, when we hear and see false, “bad news” from Fox, CNN, NBC, ABC, CBS, etc., we should never forget Who is in control.  When lies and ungodliness are heard, we immediately offload things to Jesus requesting His help and courage each moment as we walk through trying times.  Psalm 112:7 states it this way, “their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.”  Amen!

If you look further at Psalm 112, there are some wonderful proclamations to those who keep their eyes on God during trying time:

  • Verses 1&2 exclaim, “Hallelujah! Happy is the person who fears the Lord, taking great delight in his commands. His descendants will be powerful in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.”
  • Verse 4 declares, Light shines in the darkness for the upright. He is gracious, compassionate, and righteous.
  • Verse 8 states, His heart is assured; he will not fear. In the end he will look in triumph on his foes.

When you hear ungodliness, immediately get that out of you mind leaning on His Word:

  • Trust God in each and everything, do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6&7)
  • We are assured by Him. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

Don’t be afraid of false, bad news.  Why?  God is in control.  Arrogant, deceptive, manipulative people may not realize that now, but they will.

Do You Pass by on the Other Side?

Today, do Christ-followers have the Godly yearning to love our “enemies” as Christ loved us when we lived ungodly?  With our current attitudes, how do we fulfill the great commission which includes our local communities, the city we dwell, the state we live, the country of our nationality, and then the rest of the world community.  Will we be able to bring to fruition our calling while expressing haughty looks, separatist views, and derogatory attitudes? 

Jesus tells us in the great love verse that His wonderful salvation is available to the “whosoever’s” in this world.  John 3:16, “For God so loves the world, He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  Who is going to tell these “whosoever’s” about Jesus?  If you guessed “you and me”, you are correct.  Are you available to do that or have you segmented yourself from “that crowd”? 

Jesus had an unbelievable discussion with a Jewish attorney who asked Him, “‘Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’  Jesus said to him, ‘What is written in the Law? How do you read it?’ 27 And the attorney answered, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.’ 28 And he said to him, ‘You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live’” (Luke 10:26-28).  This Biblical passage should be the very heart of a Christ-follower. 

As Jesus continued the dialog (Luke 10:29-37), the lawyer asked Him, Who is my neighbor? 30 Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side32 So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. 34 He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. 35 And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ 36 Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” 37 He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”  Much like the Priest and Levite, I ignore the needs of others in our dark, hurting world and “pass by on the other side”.  Is your behavior like mine?

Isn’t the attitude of the Priest and the Levite nauseating?  It’s time for us to walk as the good Samaritan did on the side of the road where the hurting and disadvantage reside and be Jesus to them.  Let’s stop “passing by on the other side.”

If you have intentionally reached out to care, comfort, and share with a non-Christian, please register a comment on the Barnabas Man site, and I will pray for you.  Please do the same for me. 

Truth

As I was reading a book about the church last night before bed, I was struck with a word that seems to stand out, but seems to also have so many different meanings. This word is still with me this morning, and this word is “Truth”. There are so many who want to live the truth, but follow a truth told from man as definitive truth. So the question remains, “What is Truth?” Interesting when Jesus stood before Pilate, these same words resounded from the unbelieving lips of Pilate. Here is the Scripture: “Then Pilate went back into the headquarters, summoned Jesus, and said to Him, ‘Are You the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, ‘Are you asking this on your own, or have others told you about Me?’ ‘I’m not a Jew, am I?’ Pilate replied. “Your own nation and the chief priests handed You over to me. What have You done?” ‘My kingdom is not of this world,’ said Jesus. ‘If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I wouldn’t be handed over to the Jews. As it is, My kingdom does not have its origin here.’ “You are a king then?” Pilate asked. ‘You say that I’m a king,’ Jesus replied, ‘I was born for this, and I have come into the world for this: to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to My voice.’ ‘What is truth?’ said Pilate.” John 18: 33-38 Today many still ask the same question, but the problem is that they are looking for truth among men, but the truth Jesus talked about is the truth of God. The truth is that He loved the world so much that He sent His Son, for this very reason to die for the sins of the world, so that the world might be saved through Him. Pilate couldn’t understand it; the Jews couldn’t understand it; many of the people couldn’t understand it, and all because of their hardened hearts, and their own desire to find truth among men, and not from God. I admit that when I read some of scripture, I don’t like the sound of it either, but I’m not going to change the truth because I want it to make me feel better about myself, if I change the truth of the word to fit my own narrative. Men want so much to have meaning to their lives, but they want it their own way, so they invent truths that make them feel better about themselves. That doesn’t change the truth that comes from God, for He is truth, and His word is truth. If only we would surrender our pride, our ego, our arrogance, and listen to the word, listen to the very scripture that I posted above, and see and truly listen to what Jesus was saying. He came to testify to the truth, and everyone who is of the truth listens to His voice. He is the truth. He said earlier in His walk, when talking to His disciples: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 Jesus is the truth, because He came from Truth, from the very heart of God. He lived the truth, and He died for the truth, and He rose again in truth. Let’s not try to make a different kind of truth to satisfy any guilt we have of not being true to Him, but rather, let’s get right with Him, by listening to Him, for He is the truth, and we will see His glory on that day, and all will know the truth. Pastor Andy

Shrink Wrapped

Today, there are a number of gifted folks who are burned out with life, disappointed, discouraged, and marginalized to the sidelines no longer on the playing field.  Many have been deceived by something that was said or written by an ungodly or misinformed person.  Others have been falsely accused by a loved one or an associate with the mental/emotional impact similar to a devastating bullet tunneling within their mind.  Some have been bullied and maybe even humiliated by the insensitivity of personal agendas.  Often, manipulative people who candidly don’t care how you feel prey on your vulnerable mind. A number have lived in the world of depression seemingly without hope surviving one day at a time.  If you are bitter and defeated and have “shrink wrapped” your world and goals because of harsh, ever present anxieties, I am going to ask you to consider two things.

First, read Proverbs 18:1 and understand what this means for your life, “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.”  I spent 30 years in self-isolation from ministry and goal orientation ashamed of being buried in the darkness of depression not wanting anyone to know how bad off I was spiritually.  Living a “shrink wrapped” life severely reduced my effectiveness towards others by being mentally and emotionally enslaved. Those years were multiple cycles of fear, uncertainty, and doubt.  Finally, I found hope versus the ever-present emotional and mental eclipse. A Life Group leader who had patiently earned my trust challenged me to get involved in a ministry mentoring young couples before they were married.  God started working in me and using me.  I came out of my self-imposed cave by B-E-L-I-E-V-I-N-G T-R-U-T-H and S-P-I-T-T-I-N-G O-U-T L-I-E-S and started to cut through “the strands of a mental/emotional spider web.” Once, I started breaking free from unsound self-judgment, I became enCOURAGED

Please start taking the steps to free yourself from self-isolation.  “Chew on” the following verses, and they will guide you.  Matthew 11:28-30 tenderly calls us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  You will never regret being yoked to Jesus!

Second, allow someone to help you to heal.  Galatians 6:1&2, “if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness… Bear one another’s burdens.”  Romans 15:1&2, “We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.”  Give a trusted Godly person the opportunity to support your restoration. Each of you need a patient, tender hand from someone who is healthy, whole, and real.  Be transparent. 1 Peter 5:6&7 is clear, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

“Shrink-wrapped” is diametrically opposite of what we should be experiencing in Christ.  Jesus declares to Christ-followers, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Paul the Apostle testifies about the enabling power of the Holy Spirt in your life, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” It’s time to get out of the dark cave of isolation.  Allow God who is patient and trustworthy to shine His light in the crevices of your soul cleaning up the debris from years in darkness.  Jesus tells us in John 8:32, “Abide in my Word, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  Freedom based on the authoritative truths in the Word of God is powerful and liberating…no longer “shrink-wrapped!”

Do You Enjoy Being Lavished On?

All of us love to be lavished on.  It may be a verbal thing that occurs when someone embellishes us with praise and accolades.  Some of us may greatly enjoy being lavished on with riches.  Others plan our year around luxury cruises or exotic locations whose staff is focused on lavishing us with comfort and food abundantly above our needs.  I won a five day awards trip to a seven star hotel called Burj Al Dubai.  Pam and I were lavished on 24X7.  She loved every minute of it, whereas I felt smothered.  Their staff was attentive down the smallest details.  My dear wife relished this experience!

Here are some words associated with lavishgenerous, bountiful, excessive, posh, sumptuous, gorgeous, lush, swanky, luxurious, extravagant, grand, ritzy, exuberant, plush.  The flesh part of our being loves to be lavished.

So does the spiritual part of our being…Jesus’ love and grace are described as “lavish”:

·       1 John 3 1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!  We are the children of God.  He has put us in a position by His Son’s death on the cross to know Him personally and be lavished on by His “great love.”

·       Ephesians 1 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ…In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.”  This passage says that we have been:

o   Redeemed through His blood

o   Blessed with every spiritual blessing

o   Forgiven of sins

o   Lavished on by the riches of God’s grace.

However, many of us have “gone mental” dealing with the triple H’s (habits, hang-ups, and hurts) along with FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) allowing thought negativity to drag us down.  Others of us are caught up with climbing the corporate ladder driven to grow personal stature willing to sacrifice our family spending days and days away from them feeding personal egos. Many are caught up with addictions whether it be substance or porn.  We are letting the things of this world dominate us.  1 John 2:16 spells it out, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life come not from the Father but of this world.” 

 We have been duped by the master masquerader, the devil himself leaving an abundance of blessings unclaimed.  Hebrews 12:1&2 tells us exactly what to do, “let us throw of everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and run with perseverance the race marked out for us.  Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”

 God “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20).  He wants to “lavish on” you. Will you let Him?

“Deny Yourself”, a Harsh or a Compassionate Demand?

Seemingly, Luke 9:23&24 are harsh words, “Then Jesus said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. 24 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. 25 What good is it to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self?”  Let’s look at these verses from the back to the front. 

“Gain(ing) the whole world” seems awesome to us…right?  You may highlight the memorial ceremony of Queen Elizabeth II, “Global recognition with such pomp and reverence.  Who wouldn’t want to have that level of status!?” No disrespect to the former Queen and the good deeds that she performed during her life, but 1 John 5:19 paints another story, “the whole world (and its system) is under the control of the evil one.”  Here’s the deal.  She died at 96…nothing in this world is permanent.  Behind the doors where she lived, there has been a “royal family” full of strife, divorce, and hypocrisy in a world of hatred, fear, distrust, anger, selfishness, and narcissism…man hating and killing man for their own glory. Why is this? The devil dominates this world with a goal “to steal, kill and destroy” John 10:10.

Recognizing the personal anxiety, confusion, and strife that we constantly experience in our crazy, messy, egotistical world, Jesus demands us in the verses above to deny (yourself) and take up your cross daily and follow me.”  His words seem to be so harsh and unfair! What an audacious request! But is it?  On the surface, these words seem incredibly unjust.  Actually, they are compassionate, insightful words.  Jesus is not saying for us deny things to ourselves.  He is telling is to die to self and live for Him.  Christ is crying out to us to deliver us from this world with its hollow agenda.  Wholeheartedly, follow Him as Lord (“lose your life for me that it will be saved). His desire for each of us is to live a life of permanence, peace, purpose, love, and unselfishness focused on Jesus.

When you bottom line the vast differences between the world in the domain of the devil versus eternal life in the kingdom of God, it becomes crystal clear why Jesus is so demanding.  Let’s look at the contrast:

Galatians 5:19-21 lists for us the things found in this world, The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like.”  Ugly but so true!

Now, look at Galatians 5:22&23, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.”  Life in the fullness of the Spirit.

The contrasts between what this world offers, and the “fruit” delivered by the Holy Spirit are worlds apart!  The devil is such a master deceiver!  When Jesus says for us to “deny ourselves, and take up His cross daily,” please realize that He is enabling and guiding us towards eternal life in the sphere of His love delivering us out of this temporary world of sin.

1 John 4:9, This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

The One-legged Apostle with the Other Foot Always in His Mouth

Dr. Neil Anderson, in his September 5th “Daily in Christ” devotional gave the following summation: There are three options how you respond with your emotions. You can choose to suppress your emotions ( cover over them, ignore them, or stifle them), respond by thoughtlessly lashing out called an indiscriminate expression, or you can peer inside to see what’s going on. That’s called acknowledgment.  On September 6th, 7th, and 8th, Dr. Anderson details each of these responses.  Below are the remarks he makes regarding the “indiscriminate expression”:

James 1:19&20, Let everyone be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God

An unhealthy way to respond to emotions is to thoughtlessly let it all hang out, to tell anybody and everybody exactly how you feel. The apostle Peter is a great example of indiscriminate expression. Peter was the John Wayne of the New Testament–a real door slammer. He had no problem telling anyone what was on his mind or how he felt. I like to refer to him as the one-legged apostle because he always had one foot in his mouth.

Peter’s impulsive nature got him into trouble more than once. In one setting, he was the spokesperson for God, and Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you Simon Barjona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17). Then moments later he spoke for Satan, and Jesus had to rebuke him: “Get behind me, Satan!” (verses 22, 23).

It was Peter who missed the point on the Mount of Transfiguration by suggesting that they build three tabernacles to honor Moses, Elijah and the Master. It was Peter who impulsively whacked off the ear of Caiaphas’ servant during Jesus’ arrest in Gethsemane. And it was Peter who promised to follow Jesus anywhere, even to the death, then swearing only hours later that he never knew Him. The fact that Peter became a leader in the New Testament church is evidence of the powerful transformation effected by the Holy Spirit.

Indiscriminate expression of emotions may be somewhat healthy for you, but it may be unhealthy for others. “There, I’m glad I got that off my chest,” you may say after an outburst. But in the process, you just destroyed your wife, husband, or children. Paul admonished: “Be angry, and yet do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26). If you wish to be angry and not sin, then be angry the way Christ was: Be angry at sin. He turned over the tables, not the money changers.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach me to express myself in a gracious way so I don’t hurt others especially those closest to me as I seek emotional release.

Jesus Infrequently Gets Invited to Your Daily Mental Parties

Multitudes of us surrender daily to ungodly, spiritual strongholds that have overpowered our emotions. Frequently, many of these strongholds have influenced our behavior for years.  We become so familiar that we end up cozying up to them.  Erroneously, we give in to these strongholds and pronounce “that’s just who I am.”  

Don’t ever personalize the stronghold that has overpowered you by using 1st person possessive “my…” (i.e. my depression, my porn…).  When you do, it solidifies and integrates the stronghold as part of your identity. These horrible, untruthful thoughts become your daily companions.  Truth never prevails in your mind!  Jesus, the Father of Truth, infrequently gets invited into your daily mental parties as you host anxiety, depression, and demonic thoughts.  The more familial your condition becomes, the less the possibility that healing ever occurs.

Often, other people label individuals by their stronghold.  “Rick’s a depressive person.”  “Girls beware, Billy has one thing in mind, S-E-X.”  Daily, he snuggles up to his stronghold by feeding his daily porn addiction. Folks realize that Suzie’s a pathological liar even though she cannot or will not admit to it.  Sally is a negative, dark person.  Others don’t realize that she carries guilt from sexual promiscuity earlier in her life. Becky and Bob are much like Sally.  Their noticeable “heaviness” comes from grimy sexual abuse they experienced when overpowered as youngsters by a family member and a neighbor, terrorized if they ever admitted it.  Folks observe Becky and Bob’s poor self-images not realizing that they have not been able to forgive their assailants and feel dirty and weak to this very day.  Frank and Mandy are drunks and continue to feed their stronghold because they “need it”.  People observe Rebecca’s overbearing bitterness and the accompanying vitriolic behavior. Be careful with labels you place on others.  They become very hurtful and unhealthy.

Please, don’t give up or give in to “your” stronghold.   Jesus is able to take every dark thought in your mind and bring deliverance.  2 Corinthians, 10:3-5, “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage battle according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of strongholds. We are destroying arguments and all arrogance raised against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.

Colossians 2:15 and the prior verses declare how Jesus at the cross makes your victory clear, “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.”

Don’t hesitate to attend a recovery ministry.  You don’t get well by yourself.  Discover other people have issues as dark and ugly as your very own.  I suggest ReGen.  If ReGen is not hosted in a church nearby, search for Celebrate Recovery.  You need a community of people who are recovering themselves.  They will hold you accountable, and you will do likewise for them without judgment or criticism.  If you are able, locate a Godly Professional Counselor. They will shorten the length of your recovery. 

Get up and get going!  It’s time for deliverance from the strongholds in your life…

Stop the Insanity and Start the Journey…

We all know the street level definition of insanity, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”  Pam and I see insanity almost every day in personal lives, marriages, and families.  We see the same behavior and habits practiced day after day, and people have the insane idea that things will change for the better.  Ain’t happening!  Things won’t change without something fundamentally occurring in lives to change the insane loop they are on.

We see a depressing example of “insanity” in John 5:1-5, “Sometime later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.”  In this story, a crowd of handicap people daily made their way to a pool in Jerusalem called Bethesda with the superstitious belief that an angel periodically would stir the water.  Once stirred, the first person in the water would supposedly be healed.  Let’s face it, it was a discouraging place for a community of disabled to hang out day after day without hope of being healed…insanity

One of the “pool dwellers” helplessly had been sick for thirty-eight years.  This man was incapable.  Even if the superstition came true, it was physically impossible for him to be the first one in the pool.  Insanity, and he does this daily! 

H-O-W-E-V-E-R, something or should I say, “Someone”, changes the narrative.  Verse 6 tells us what happens, When Jesus saw (the invalid of 38 years) lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”  Jesus does what He almost always does.  In a crowd, He encounters an individual personally.  Often these people are hopeless, helpless, and broken-hearted, impossible to help themselves.  Learning from others about the man’s physical condition of thirty-eight years, Jesus engages this man, “Do you want to get well? Sir,’ the invalid replied (in verse 7), ‘I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”’  For 38 years, he desires healing without any hope of getting into the water first…I-N-S-A-N-I-T-Y!  “Then (in verses 8&9) Jesus says to him, ‘Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.  At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.’” Desiring to be healed, he responds immediately to the command of Jesus and starting walking.

Do you feel like the invalid of 38 years above?  Day after day you live a life of drudgery with little hope.  If so, the good news for you is Jesus loves the broken-hearted, the depressed, and the helpless.  Psalm 34:18 declares, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”  He will heal you. Stop the insanity and start the journey with Jesus today.

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