Thursday, October 08, 2015

“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

There is this man who sits by this pool of Bethesda. The speciality of this pool is that from time to time an angel would stir the water in the pool and the first one to step into the pool once this happened would be healed of whatever disease the person had. 

This sick man, sat right by that pool. The healing pool. And yet he remained sick for 38 years.

Till one day Jesus came along. What Jesus asked him makes me think. Whenever Jesus did a miracle, he usually asked the person if they had faith or if they believed. But here He asks the sick man – “Do you WANT to get well? “

“Do you WANT to get well? “

This question echoes in my head. This isn’t just a question to the sick man by the pool. It’s also a question to me- ‘Do I WANT to get well?

There was an area of my life that had a huge storm blowing and initially though I did try, somewhere along with the way, I gave up. I stopped trying. And somewhere along the way, I had made peace with the storm. I had become okay to live with the storm. I had given up ! And this question came right at me ‘Do you WANT to get well?’

This man was at the healing pool. He had made that journey to the pool. It was a journey he made because he WANTED healing. I am sure he tried hard every time the water was stirred. Maybe he tried harder after his failed attempt. Maybe he tried again and again and again. But eventually he gave up ! He stopped trying.  And when you stop trying, you eventually end up not WANTING either.
There were many sick people around the pool. Jesus came looking for this man. Why? Because he had been there 38 years. Which probably meant he was there for the longest time. 

John 5:6 - When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

The man’s response is even more interesting than Jesus’s question. I would think he would say something like – ‘YES, Of course!!!’ But instead the man lists his reasons of why he hasn’t been able to make it to the pool. ‘There’s no one to help me’  ’Someone always gets in before me’… !!

As idiotic as that may sound, that was pretty much my response too. ‘She did that’ ’He did that’…

Your problems could be because of others. But you remain there only because of yourself. Stop blaming others. Stop waiting for others to change.

Sometimes we begin to enjoy our pity party too much that we become happy in it. We are happy to list out who did what to us. You go through the same reasons over and over and over again that it gives you a sense of contentment and suddenly before you realise you have given up.

John5:7 - “Sir,” the invalid replied, “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.”

But Jesus does not give up. I am so relieved, by this point in the story that Jesus didn’t give up. He didn’t give up on me. He didn’t give up on the sick man. Thank God !

Jesus responds – Get Up !! His response is more of a stern command than a gentle bidding. “Get Up !!”

First, Get Up from that mat you have been lying on for 38 years !! Get Up from the pity party you are having for yourself. Get Up from ‘not trying’. Get Up from waiting for others/situation to change. Get Up from hopelessness. Get Up !!

Second, Take Responsibility for yourself!  Jesus tells the healed man - ‘Pick up your mat and walk!’

Pick up YOUR mat and walk !! Not someone else pick up your mat. You pick up your mat and walk !! Snap out of the ‘princess syndrome’ and the pity party and pick up YOUR mat and walk !!

Pick up YOUR mat and walk!! Take responsibility for your life !! No one is responsible to take care of you, to make sure you are healed, to make sure you are happy, to make sure you are taken care of !!

You are responsible for that. Don’t think someone else is responsible for your life. Don’t have the entitlement mentality. Get rid of the mentality that someone else is supposed to fix your problem.

Be willing to pray, but also be willing to do your part !! Get rid of your wishbone and get a backbone !!

You may be stuck in a situation because of someone else. But you remain there only because of yourself. Look up to God. Pray. Pray more. Fast and Pray. Read God’s word. Meditate on God’s word. Sit at his feet, till your mind is open and your eyes can clearly see. Till you know what you should do.

John 5: 8 - 8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

Even after the man was healed, his ‘victim mentality’ and his thinking does not seem to change. He sounds like he puts the blame on Jesus when the Jewish leaders question him about him carrying his mat. So much so that Jesus eventually finds him again and warns him to stop sinning lest something worse happens to him.

There was no change in his thinking.  He’s still the man who sat sick for 38 years !!

Change your thinking. Stop thinking like a ‘victim’. You are not a victim. Every child of God is a victor. Change your thinking. God created us to be strong confident people !!
If our way of thinking does not change, there is a high chance of something even worse happening. It could be brought about by others, but you will have only yourself to blame. It’s a scary thought of what your thinking can do to you.

It’s often very tempting to get into the pity cycle. But it’s a dangerous cycle. Not just for yourself but also for those you love. Stay out of it ! Ask for God’s strength to stay out of it !

You may be facing a crumbling/crumbled marriage.  It could be a stressful job/ no job. It could be financial problems. It could be not having children/having trouble parenting. It could be sickness. Don’t stop trying. You don’t want to lie down on a mat for 38 years, when you are right next to the healing pool ! Don’t quit. Don’t stop wanting. God wants us to WANT beautiful happy marriages, beautiful happy jobs, beautiful happy finances, beautiful happy godly children, beautiful healthy lives.

* Start to WANT again. (Ask God for help when you don’t want to WANT).
* Stop blaming others and the situation. (Your God is stronger than they.)
* Take responsibility for your life. (The only person you can change is yourself)
* Change your thinking. Bring in a Godly thinking. (You will need to pray and meditate on God’s word and Praise Worship to do that).

“Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

Philippians 4:13 - I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Proverbs 17:22 - A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.