Sunday, November 28, 2010

Jesus' question

“Do you want to get well?” – Jesus 
(John 5:6)

Seems like a pretty easy question to answer, right? If we’re sick, if something is wrong with us, if we are hurting, of course we want to get well. But if you know anything about Jesus, you’ll know that He doesn’t just arbitrarily say things that we are meant to gloss over. So in revisiting this question, which Jesus asks to a man who has been paralyzed for thirty-eight years, I have to wonder if we as humans really and truly want to get well. I know when I re-dedicated my life to Christ a little over a year ago, I needed to get well. And thankfully, enough of me wanted to get well to allow God to come into my life and begin the healing process. Words cannot adequately express how grateful I am for His rescue. But goodness, is He relentless in His pursuit of every part of me that needs healing. Frankly, if Jesus were to stop me at every crossroad and ask me if I wanted to get well, the answer would probably be “no” more often than I would like to admit. I want to be healthy, I want to be happy, I want to grow in my relationship with Christ, but does every little broken part of me need to be fixed? Can’t I keep this one vice or this one idol or hold on to this one grudge, just for a little familiarity? God’s answer – no. I have died to myself and been reborn to a new life, and I must crucify my brokenness if I am to truly live as one who has been reborn in Christ. God never starts anything He doesn’t intend to finish, and we are no one to tell Him otherwise. So maybe that’s why Jesus asks a man who has spent thirty-eight years of his life waiting to be healed if he wants to get well. Because getting well is hard, and it’s unfamiliar, and it requires action on our part, and God has a lot greater expectations for us than we ever had for ourselves. Jesus asked this man if he wanted to get well because Jesus knows that in many ways getting well is harder than staying sick, even if we have Jesus helping us. I think when Jesus reaches His hand out to us to offer us salvation, the question He is asking each and every one of us is just what He asked the paralytic: “Do you want to get well?” And it’s up to us to decide if we do want to get well, if we want to be healed from everything inside of us and saved from everything surrounding us that keeps us sick and keeps us from living the full lives that God intended for us. So God, here’s where I need Your help – I need You to help me to say “yes” to You every time You ask me, even when my first inclination is to say no. Because it’s really easy for me in my short-sightedness to try to keep You from healing certain parts of me, and I don’t want myself to get in the way of Your sanctification. Make me want to get well. 

Monday, November 22, 2010

How easily we forget things

Isn't it funny how easily we forget things? Even things I tell myself, or resolve to do, I forget them at the drop of a hat. Think how much progress we could make in our lives if everything we learned, every experience we had, everything we decided to change about ourselves we could remember and put into practice. On the contrary, I forget my thoughts sometimes before I even complete them. It makes it really hard to make any changes in my life. Especially since I have a whole lot of thoughts. If I didn't have a journal to write in and God to pray to, I'd be pretty miserable to be around because I'd probably never stop talking about all of my thoughts. If only I could remember God's promises more, I know that would drastically change the way I lived my life, and maybe even calm some of the thoughts running rampant through my head. I wish I didn't have to read the Bible every day to be reminded of how great God is and how present He is in my life. Maybe as I get older it will be a bit easier for me to remember His word, after hopefully having read and studied it for years. But I presume I'll be needing to go back to the Source daily for the rest of my life in order to remind my forgetful, distracted self that I'm in the loving arms of the Creator of the universe. And you know what, that's probably a good thing, because God doesn't just want us to remember everything He tells us in the Bible and try to live by some set of rules He's given us. He wants our time, and our hearts, and He wants our lives to be dedicated to Him. So maybe that forgetfulness and that need to keep coming back to Him to be reminded of His promises is there to keep me from thinking that as long as I know about Him I don't need Him.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Off the Pedestal

I wonder what my life would look like if I acted on everything I said I wanted to act on. I have all of these lofty, righteous thoughts in my head of how awful all of the injustice in the world is and how I'm going to change the world someday, and I just let them come into my head, hang out long enough for me to voice them and feel better about myself, and then I go back to drinking my five dollar latte. It's pretty sad, really, how easily I can convince myself that I'm so much better than all of those selfish people who never even think about all of the poverty and suffering in the world. When honestly, who's worse, the one who doesn't think about it, or the one who thinks about it and doesn't do anything about it? And my inclination, even as I write, is to think "oh, but I can't do anything now about it, because of where I am in life right now. But as soon as I am in the position to take action, you bet I'll do something!" And that's just crap. Thoughts are just thoughts and nothing more until they are turned into action. The thoughts dancing around inside of my head should never make me feel more righteous than anyone else. I hope and pray that someday I won't be such a coward and God will break through my wall of comfortable living and intellectual "holiness" and show me what it is like to truly live the gospel. I guess one place to start is by taking myself off of the pedestal I've placed myself on and look around me at the world I live in, which I have not only the opportunity but the calling and the responsibility to impact in a real way. I can't reach anyone from a pedestal. And no one can reach me on my pedestal either. Because the reality of the situation is that I need salvation just as much as the people I so righteously want to save.