What makes the message of the Bible and God so attractive is thats it is a constant message of change. It’s what gives us the courage to talk about sin, guilt, and fears. In order the fulfill God’s destiny for our lives, we constantly need to evolve and change.
It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.
A Message of Change
Sometime later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.
John 5:1-5 (NIV)
Jesus took his disciples into a place filled with people who were suffering. Why? Jesus came to serve these people, because He believed in the gospel of change.
A walk with God should give us the power to face the worst things in our hearts, lives, and the lives of others because we believe in a gospel of change.
Do You Want to Change?
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?” “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.” 8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”
John 5:6-8 (NIV)
The first think Jesus wanted to learn about this man was his condition. We all have a condition that requires God’s help in order to overcome. By way this man answered Jesus’ questions, we see a glimpse into the condition of his faith.
The thing that this man put his faith in was the pool. He believed that the pool was the answer to all his problems in life. “If I just get into the pool, everything will work out…” The pool represents the things in our lives that we can put our hope in apart from God.
What do you rely on instead of God? Is it a new dating relationship? More achievement at work? Building your career? Building more wealth? All these things aren’t necessarily evil but they become harmful to our spiritual condition if we’re putting our hope in these material things rather than in our relationship with God.
Jesus answered the man: “Get up”. Jesus took his mind off the pool and put the man’s focus on Him. Jesus helped the man realize that He was the only one who could heal him. Anyone in life can experience a radical life change if we put our 100% faith in God.
What do we need?
1. Emotional Honesty
Emotional honesty helps us repent of our sins. The sins we turn to are a result of underlying emotions that we don’t deal with, and as a result, turn to sin to find relief and comfort instead of God.
What do you need to be more honest about?
- Anxious Unbelief: Believing our effort alone will prevail. This leaves us stressed and burned out.
- Emotional Unbelief: We replace facts with our emotions, even when our emotions aren’t true.
- Fearful Unbelief : You believe the worst case scenario is going to happen in any situation.
- Godless Emotionalism: You move through life too fast and miss what’s going on around you.
- Emotional Self-indulgence: You are driven by feelings, unbelief, and sensuality. You are consumed with what others think and feel.
Dealing with these underlying emotions helps us with our ability to fight the sins and temptations we feel in life.
2. Spiritual Effort
At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath,
John 5:9 (NIV)
After this man was emotionally honest, he put in spiritual effort and took action. Often, we become too comfortable with simply identifying the problems that we have instead of taking action to change.
What action will you take this week to get closer to God and others?
Growth is the only evidence of life.
John Henry Newman, Apologia pro vita sua, 1864