Thursday, August 30, 2012

Do you want to be well?

Do you want to be well?
This was the first question Jesus asked the lame man at the pool of Bethesda.
It seems like an odd question. Of course this man would want to be well. He had been an invalid for 38 years.  The only logical explanation would be that he desired healing. But still, Jesus chose to ask. So there had to be validity as to why.
When I look at my own life and the daily choices I make, I can see how being well is very much a choice. What do I put in my body? What do I allow to fill my mind? How hard to I push myself? What kind of people do I surround myself with?
Most of the time, what I put into something determines what I get out of it.
If I want to lose weight, I count calories, I control my portion size, I cut out unnecessary junk. If I want to be stronger I exercise, I lift weights, I push myself.
If I want to be at peace, I meditate on what is true, excellent, praiseworthy. If I want to have a clear mind purposed on Christ, I don’t allow myself to watch meaningless shows on TV.  If I want my spirit to be uplifted, I surround myself with positive people. The Lord has given us strong minds and strong wills. And most of all, he has given us choice.
Choice is a powerful weapon.
It is so easy to surrender responsibility. To say, “If God wants this to happen, it will happen.” But THAT can be such a cop-out. Don’t you think that Jesus wanted the lame man to be healed and whole? Yet, he still asked him. 
I cannot get upset with God for where I am at in life. Yes, there are some things that are out of my control. But there are a LOT more things that are in my control. If I choose to spend every day alone in my room watching TV, and then cry because I have no friends and no purpose, whose fault it that?
I have had a great many friends who come to me for advice, whether about a guy or a life decision. I can do everything in my power to lead them in the right direction.  I can tell them everything the Bible has to say about picking a marriage partner, I can read them story after story and pray fervently with them and for them. I can lead them straight to the water. But ultimately I cannot swallow for them. They have to choose to drink.
It is the same way with life. Christ has our ultimate BEST in mind. He speaks to us. He puts people in our lives that can point us in the right direction. We have an entire book of instruction that He graciously left for us. But unless we utilize these gifts, we will not see wellness in our lives.
When Jesus asked the question, the lame man responded with, “I have no one to help me into the pool.”  Jesus didn’t bend over, pick him up and carry him into the pool. He said, “Take up your mat and walk.” He immediately put responsibility into the lame man’s hands. YES, Jesus was the reason he could walk. In that moment, Jesus healed him. Jesus gave him the ability to walk, but it was up to the lame man to do it.
Everything is a choice, right down to our attitudes.
When you are feeling frustrated in the midst of your circumstance, stop right where you are and figure out how you got there. What decisions did you make to lead you there? And then use the powerful, God-given weapon of choice to overcome those circumstances. Pray for strength as an aid to continually walk in the right direction. Be obedient. God will lead you out of the muck and the mire. But you have to listen and be obedient to His call.
If your circumstances are actually out of your control, then use the weapon of choice to change your attitude. Choose to be content. “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and in everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 16-18
There is so much freedom in recognizing the responsibility we have.
Be activated by this truth.
Take up your mat and walk.