We’ve been talking all this week about getting over our past, and how to move forward. Yesterday, we talked about focusing our mind on what God has for us. Today, we’re going to get some practical advice that gets us out of our heads, because – lets face it – we tend to overthink things. OK, well I do, and maybe you do it too. For example, if I’m going to do a month of Bible journaling, I might:
- Set aside a time in my schedule
- Buy a special notebook and pen and highlighters
- Search the web for a 30 day reading plan, and for the best Bible translation to use
- Arrange my desk and chair and water bottle, and maybe a candle for aromatherapy and….
…all that and I haven’t even opened the Bible yet.
But we do this to ourselves! (It doesn’t have to be Bible journaling – substitute in whatever things you are spending time on, or things you are planning.) Did I even pray and ask God if this particular thing is what He wants me to spend time on right now? Sure, it looks like a good path, and it is a spiritual path, and other people have recommended this path. But is it what Jesus wants for me right now?
Let’s look at another person who thought he knew what he needed, until Jesus stepped in. John 5:5-11 Tells this story about Jesus visiting a pool that was said to have healing powers:
5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” 7 The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” 8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath. 10 So the Jews[a] said to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath, and it is not lawful for you to take up your bed.” 11 But he answered them, “The man who healed me, that man said to me, ‘Take up your bed, and walk.’”
There are a whole lot of things we can unpack from this story!
- The man had been an invalid for a LONG time. Probably most of his life.
- It was how he lived. This was his identity,
- The man didn’t want it anymore. He wanted healing.
- We don’t know how long he had wanted healing, what else he had tried, or how long he’d been coming to this very pool.
- The man had his own plan for how to get healing – being first to get in the pool.
- This was an earthly plan. He wasn’t asking God for healing, he was counting on the water for healing.
- But people probably told him it was spiritual! “God moved over the face of the waters” to create the earth, God has given us this healing pool, of course you pray as you are doing this, etc.
- Jesus DID NOT put him in the pool.
- He didn’t follow the guy’s plan! Or the people’s plan.
- He didn’t even tell him that God had a different plan.
- Jesus didn’t tell the man “you are healed”. He just healed him.
- Jesus didn’t tell the man the plan for the rest of his life, or his calling, either.
- Jesus simply told the man what He needed to do that day, which was “get up, take up your bed, and walk”.
- The man did what Jesus said.
- He didn’t question it. He didn’t consult his Rabbi. He didn’t worry about leg muscles, or if he had shoes.
- He didn’t worry about how to walk, even though he hadn’t done so in 38 years (or possibly ever).
- He didn’t waste one more second beside that pool. He walked away without even asking Jesus name!
- People gave the man a hard time about it.
- They complained that he was carrying his bed on the Sabbath. (Doing work on the Sabbath was a no-no.)
- If they had love in their hearts, they would have been so excited to see him healed, that wouldn’t have mattered! (And where were they when he needed to be lifted into the pool?)
- There will be people who don’t want to see you healed. There will be people who don’t want to see you happy. There will be people who don’t want to see you successful. There will be people who are still wearing “chains” and want you to keep your chains on, too!
- The man said he was obeying Jesus.
- He didn’t apologize for breaking the Sabbath, or explain his healing, or try to get the people to understand.
Like the man at the pool, we may need to abandon our own plans, and do what Jesus asks. We need to simply do what Jesus asks of us today, even if it doesn’t come with a 30 day Bible reading plan! (Or any other plans.) We also need to be prepared not to care what other people think, to point them toward Jesus, and to keep following Him. They don’t get to have a say in it. If Jesus wants you to get up and walk, you get up and start walking. Just get going!
John 5:8 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.”