Monday, September 21, 2009

Do you want to get well?

Read John 5:1-15

This is a seemingly strange question, for who would not want to be healed or restored to a better place in life? However, you cannot help someone who does not want to be helped. Either we do not realize we are sick or we like the attention too much when we are. The want we are to have is the desire to be transformed and the determination to carry it through with our Lord’s empowerment. Determination is the ability to make difficult decisions and accomplish God's goals based on the truths of God's Word, regardless of the resistance that may be encountered. It is the ability to point ourselves toward godly pursuits, and not allow ourselves to be distracted or discouraged (Psalms 33:15; 119:29-30; Isa. 1:5-6; Luke 5:31; Gal. 5:19-21; 2 Tim. 4:7, 8; Heb. 12:12-13).

This man said, I have no one to help me. He seemed to have the desire to be healed but not the means. This is, perhaps, a pathetic answer, either out of hopelessness or out of pride. Perhaps this is just an excuse. He is saying that he wants to be healed, but also says he has tried but cannot. It seems he is determined to be hopeless or he likes the attention from being sick. Most people tend to have an entitlement attitude and expect to be carried after they are helped, because they have gotten used to the attention and care they received. But, if Jesus gives you the power to rise, Jesus is the One who can give you the power to continue to walk every day, to keep going (Heb 12:2).

What about you?

Did you know that true healing is all about the transforming work Christ does in us. The physical healing is a mere unimportant shadow to His real important redemptive work and how we incorporate Him in our lives.

How can someone not want to be healed? The simple question is—do we want to grow deeper in the precepts of the Word and character of Christ? In other words, do we want to go through the obstructions to our faith and life that stops us dead in our tracks? Jesus asks that question just as if you were in a 12-step program where you have to admit your need and your higher power before you can get out of your drunken state! I have even seen many people turn their backs on real help. Instead of seeking help for a drinking problem, they stay drunk, destroying all of their relationships, career, hopes, and life. To continue to be sick is a powerful chain that holds us down. Sometimes, it is all we have and all we know, and we fear to venture into wellness. For the Christian, stuck in their faith, he or she has to want to grow in order to grow. The desire to draw near to God will bring down any barrier blocking us from that goal. We have to want to get well in order to do so. We have to want to be more mature and to have more character in order to be people of maturity and good character. Ask any doctor or therapist how important a desire to live and get well is for the patient’s recovery and most will say, assuredly, that it is quintessentially important. When a patient gives up, he or she will usually get worse, and sometimes even die. The way of deliverance from suffering is blocked by the bricks the patient laid down himself because he or she did not want to be healed. Of course, sometimes, our willpower and desires cannot help us. Nonetheless, whether we are in a spiritual encounter, a medical surgery, or in therapy, the desire to get well or grow is powerfully important.

People who are weak in the faith or stagnate in their spiritual growth are that way, for the most part, because they do not want to receive divine help with their problems. They do not see God as the equipper and sustainer of their lives. They do not want to be helped out of their weakness; they either think they can do it on their own, or have given up. They love their weakness; their helplessness is their comfort and identity. Perhaps it is the attention; perhaps it is from years of discouragement, and they are so beaten down they do not want to look up. They rarely, if ever, will seek the help of another. Perhaps, it is anger or pride or fear; whatever the case, they either tend to crave the attention of others through their helplessness, or hide under the bed of discouragement. The result is stagnation and ignoring the One who can bring them comfort. I believe we can all be there at one time or another. I know I have been.

Questions to Ponder

Why do people tend not to see God as the Equipper and Sustainer of their lives? What about some Christians?

What causes some people not to want to receive help, either divine or human, with their problems?

What needs to happen for you to have a faith that can progress deeper and deeper? How does it help for more of Christ to be revealed to you?

What it is that holds us back—is it fear? Busyness? Complacency? Bad ideas of what faith is, and how to use it? Bad role models? Not in a small group or Bible study? Or, what?

What blocks you from increasing your trust and faith in Jesus Christ? What can you do to grow in your trusting faith?

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