Put on your thinking caps for a brief moment and please recall some moments from your past.
Raise your hand if God ever told you to do something and you chose not to do it.
*Raises my own hand*
Ok, raise your hand if God has ever laid out, step by step, what He wanted you to do in your life and you still chose not to go His way.
*Raises my own hand*
Last one: raise your hand if God has ever sent other people to help and guide you along the path that He had chosen for you but you still chose not to follow His will.
*Raises my own hand*
If your hand is still sky-high and burning a bit (because the truth stings), then this message is for you.
If you never raised your hand, just keep on living….
Even though the text is below, turn in your bibles to Luke 5:17-26 (I am using the NKJV).
Now it happened on a certain day, as He was teaching, that there were Pharisees and teachers of the law sitting by, who had come out of every town of Galilee, Judea, and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was present to heal them. Then behold, men brought on a bed a man who was paralyzed, whom they sought to bring in and lay before Him. And when they could not find how they might bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the housetop and let him down with his bed through the tiling into the midst before Jesus. When He saw their faith, He said to him, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, He answered and said to them, “Why are you reasoning in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise up and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” Immediately he rose up before them, took up what he had been lying on, and departed to his own house, glorifying God. And they were all amazed, and they glorified God and were filled with fear, saying, “We have seen strange things today!”
I was reading this last night and shouted to God as I got to verse 24. Here’s a recap so you can shout, too:
Jesus had haters. The Pharisees did not believe that Christ was the Son of God and they pretty much hated everything that He did. And if they were not hating, they were trying to find a way to discredit everything that He did or find a way to declare it as a blasphemous act.
In this particular story, a paralyzed man needed to be healed by Jesus. The man’s friends were committed to his healing cause and as such, they went to extreme measures to get him seen by Christ. As Christ was speaking in a large crowd, too big for the man to pass through on his bed, his friends went on a rooftop and lowered the bed into the presence of Jesus. Jesus said to the man “your sins are forgiven you” and the Pharisees were heated, asking who was this man (Christ) that He could be forgiving people since only God had that power. After a brief dialogue with the Pharisees, Jesus then told the man to get up and walk. At that moment, he got up, took up his bed, and walked.
Did you shout? Or did you miss it? Ok, here it is again:
Christ forgave the man of his sins (shout right there), healed his body (shout here, too), and then the man got up (big shout here) and walked away.
How many times in our life do we ask God to step in and make a way, yet when He tells us what we need to do, we don’t do as He said?
I’ll go back to my earlier line of comments but I’ll rephrase it as a question: What if the man was not obedient and did not get up? What if Christ forgave him and told him to get up, but he sat there?
…but isn’t that what we do?
So often God forgives us of our sins be we choose to continue to live in our sins and stay paralyzed in:
Beloved, in 2018, we have to do better.
We have to ask, live, and breathe in faith. When we earnestly ask God to cleanse us of our sins, we must be ready for the fact that He will do just that. When we give God a YES and tell Him that we will walk in His will, we have to be prepared for the fact that our YES requires action on our part.
We have to get up.
We have to start working.
We have to start walking.
No longer will I take the Lord’s grace and mercy for granted. He has made me free and I fully intend to walk, live, and dwell in that freedom. (“Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”- John 8:36)
On this first day of a new year I have one question for you: If the Lord tells you that you are free and to get up and walk in your freedom, will you choose to walk?
I don’t know about you, but I love the freedom that He gives so….
I choose to walk.