Christ is risen!
“It’s just easier to stay put.” Have you ever known someone (or maybe you have been here) who is afraid of getting better? Let me say it another way. Some folks aren’t happy unless they are unhappy.
The truth is sometimes we are more afraid of the unknown than we are uncomfortable with our weaknesses. Just like the fear of failure, the fear of success can paralyze a person in a spot in their life and there they remain.
This Sunday we remember the Paralytic. He was stuck in the same spot for 38 years, inches away from his healing in the pool. When Christ confronted him about his situation, the man revealed why he had been there so long – he started making excuses. “I have no one to put me in the pool” “Someone always gets in before me” And the excuses had become so comfortable, predictable, that the man stayed in the same spot in his life for 38 years. He was there at the pool of healing, so he may have even comforted himself by saying that he really hadn’t lost faith. He really hadn’t given up. He really wasn’t stuck. And these illusions, these comforting lies, did to him what all illusions and comforting lies do to all of us – they enslave us in our sickness.
But Christ commands him to get up and walk! No soothing words of “I understand” or “Yes, it is a difficult life.” No empathetic counseling. No gradual encouragement. Just a command “Rise, take up your pallet and walk. And the man did just that.
So, today you can be free from that which paralyzes you if you wake up to three realities.
First, you must wake up to your true condition. Jesus didn’t ask this man questions because the Lord didn’t know the answers. Jesus asked this man these questions so the paralyzed man would know himself. The enemy wants to get you to put this self-knowledge off and fill you with a multitude of distractions to keep you stuck where you are. Stop it. Right now! Wake up to your true condition and wipe away the comforting illusions of comparing yourself to others or ignoring (or better, hiding) from your deep need for spiritual freedom.
Second, you must wake up from your self-delusion. You can be in church your whole life. You can be inches from the Source of healing and salvation and still be gripped by paralyzing pride. In fact, you can miss salvation completely all the while insisting you “know the faith.” I will go so far as to say it is easier for someone coming to Christ from a life of horrible sin than it is for someone who has “lived a good life” and “goes to church all the time” to wake up to their paralyzing illusions. You must put away the excuses of “Well, I’m not so bad” and “I don’t do what she does” or even “I’ve been in church my whole life.” It’s great you’ve been in the church your whole life. The question is IS THE CHURCH IN YOU?
Finally, you must wake up to the absolute necessity of obedience. The Paralyzed man began to walk upon obeying the command of the Lord to get up and do it. Obedience is always easier after you’ve dropped the heavy illusions mentioned above. Obedience is always hindered by self-centeredness and excuses. But obey we must, if we are ever going to leave the hell of perpetual potential.
My dear one, today there is a paralyzed man in our hearts. The truth is I no more get one “paralyzed man” on his feet in my heart that I discover another lying on his mat somewhere else in my soul. Today, let’s begin walking with the Lord through our souls and as we come on these paralyzed men in our hearts, let’s allow the Lord to heal that man and then let’s move on.
What is waiting for you beyond your paralysis is truly amazing.