We’ve been talking about the miracle Jesus performed at the Pool of Bethesda and the lessons God showed me.
If you need to catch up, you can read the first post (Are You Stuck?) and the second post (How Do You See Yourself?).
In today’s post, we’re going to cover the final verses for this series.
John 5:8-9a (MSG)
8-9 Jesus said, “Get up, take your bedroll, start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bedroll and walked off.
The topic we’ve been discussing is one way we, as believers, get stuck.
We have a need, we lack something. We begin praying and waiting on God to meet that need. And much later we find ourselves still hanging out in that same place of lack – usually with other people who are also in need.
And somehow during this process, we allow that part of us that isn’t experiencing wholeness to become how we define ourselves.
It could be a need for physical healing, like the man Jesus confronts in this story.
Or it could be financial lack.
Perhaps it’s a serious issue in a primary relationship.
Maybe it’s a dream we feel God gave us – for a spouse, a baby, a home, a job. But we’ve focused on our lack of it for so long that it’s now how we define ourselves: unloved, alone, barren, lost, unwanted.
When we let what we lack determine our identity, we’re stuck.
And when we’re stuck, we can’t fulfill our purpose.
Jesus gave the invalid at the Pool of Bethesda a 3-step method for getting unstuck.
- Get up.
- Take your bedroll.
- Start walking.
I love the simplicity. That’s the way Jesus works with us.
What He tells us to do is usually very simple.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
In fact, it can be difficult. And it’s almost always a process.
The first thing Jesus told the man to do was “Get up.”
The people in the scene are all lying around, talking about their need, waiting for someone else to come ‘fix’ them. So, when this man decides he’ll obey Jesus and get up, guess what. He sticks out like a sore thumb . . . as my grandmother used to say. (Image via Pixabay)
And if you decide to “get up” from your particular situation, you’re going to stick out, too.
If you choose to start seeing yourself like God sees you and talking about yourself like God talks about you, you will no longer fit in with people who are focused on what they lack.
And you’ll “stick out” because you’ll no longer rely on a list of excuses or reasons to explain why you’re not who you say you want to be . . . why you don’t have what you say you want to have . . . why you haven’t accomplished what you say you want to accomplish.
How will you “stick out” when you decide to get up?
The next thing Jesus told him to do was to pick up his bedroll.
To me, this is decision time.
I’m sure it felt great to stand up, to finally be able to walk. But picking up his bedroll meant he would no longer be hanging out at the pool all day.
That place would no longer be his neighborhood. Those people would no longer be his peers.
I think that’s one of the reasons Jesus asked the man if he really wanted to get well.
And I think that’s why He asks us, too. Because if He meets that need we’ve been begging Him to meet, our life is going to change . . . unless we decide we don’t want it to.
If this man at the Pool was just going to continue to live like an invalid – to lie around all day with those same people, then what would be the use of getting healed?
And if you’re not ready, and if I’m not ready, to make the necessary changes to live the life God designed us to live, then why are we asking Him to answer the prayer we’re begging Him to answer?
A couple of practical examples:
If Jesus answers your prayers about increasing your finances, are you going to continue living with a poverty mindset? Living in fear of catastrophe. Focused on saving every penny “just in case” this situation happens again. Or possibly spending every penny on what you feel like you’ve been missing, because you never know if you’ll ever get another opportunity.
Or . . . are you prepared to be a good steward of the resources He brings you?
If He brings you the spouse you’ve been praying for, are you ready to give up your single life? Are you ready to stop focusing on what you want, on what’s best for you, on what makes you happy . . . and start making choices based on what’s best for the relationship? Are you ready to learn all about the other person and make that relationship your top priority . . . second only to God?
Are you prepared to be a good steward of the relationship He brings you?
Picking up his bedroll was a sign this man knew he no longer belonged there and that he was ready for what came next. (Image via Pixabay)
And what came next was “start walking.”
Start walking out your destiny.
This man was designed to walk. And Jesus told him to start walking.
Wherever you find yourself stuck today, I believe Jesus wants you to start seeing yourself unstuck – like He sees you.
I believe He wants you to see yourself fulfilling the purpose He designed you to fulfill.
And I believe He wants you to start taking steps in the direction of your purpose.
Are you ready to start walking?
It can be a difficult process to change how we see ourselves . . . to start seeing ourselves in light of who God says we are . . . especially before our need is met.
But I believe it’s critical.
One of the best ways to do this is to find scriptures that tell us who God says we are. Write them out, read them every day, to remind ourselves of our true identity.
Also we need to be very careful about the people we spend a lot of time with, because we’re listening to who they say we are, and being reminded of how they see us.
And we need to use our imaginations. God didn’t give us our imagination just for childhood and only for play time. I believe God wants us to use it to see ourselves, and others, the way He does.
When we do that, we can more easily love ourselves and others the way He does, have the compassion we all so desperately need, and remind others and ourselves who we really are.
Are you ready to walk out the purpose God designed you for?
Can you see yourself doing it?
Get up. Pick up your bedroll. And start walking.