Every weekday morning I wake up to the sound of an alarm clock located just within arm’s reach from my bed. The familiar “BEEP, BEEP, BEEP” noise alerts me to the fact that it’s time to get up and start a new day. But on most days, if I’m being honest, I end up pressing the snooze button a couple of times before actually getting out of bed. Does that sound familiar to anyone? I know morning people do exist, but I’m willing to bet that most of you can relate—(or you at least know someone who can). We would much rather stay in a warm, comfortable spot where responsibilities are nonexistent for a moment, wouldn’t we? Luckily, we are still capable of getting up and out of bed when and if we so choose. Not everyone is as fortunate.
In the book of John, for instance, we read about a man who had been paralyzed for an astounding 38 years! He, along with many other disabled people, sat near a pool called Bethesda for a chance to be healed by its supposed curative powers. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for so long, He asked him a very intriguing question: "Do you want to get well?" Without reading further, my initial assumption as to how the paralyzed man would respond would be with a resounding “YES!! Of course I do!! That’s why I’ve been near this healing pool all of these years, waiting for my opportunity!” It would seem obvious, right?! But Jesus was doing what He does best; He was getting to the root of the matter. Jesus knew there were foundational steps that needed to be taken in order for a miracle to occur:
1. Remove all excuses. Interestingly, when asked this question, the paralytic replied, “Sir, 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.” How many times do we, like this man, put the blame on other people, or on our circumstance, or on our lack, to justify inaction? Instead of embracing what Jesus has to offer, we are too quick to come up with every reason that it can’t happen. We make every excuse as to why we can’t do it. Jesus is always trying to shift our focus onto the true goal, as well as the ability to attain it.
2. Recognize the authority of God’s word. Rather than responding to the paralytic’s excuses, Jesus simply gave him a command. No more questions. No more excuses. The paralytic was now focused and ready to believe in the authority of God’s word. God’s word is powerful and never returns void. You have to get to a point where you start giving it the authority it’s meant to have in your life in order to receive what is says you can have.
3. Take action! In this case, Jesus told the man to, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk (John 5:8).” The miracle required a literal step of faith. Faith without works is dead (James 2:17). God will do His part but requires for you to do yours. Getting up meant getting out of his comfort zone. Remember, it was something he hadn’t experienced in 38 years! The sensations that would be activated in his legs and throughout his body had been nonexistent to this disabled man for almost four decades. And now, suddenly, everything changed. Picking up his mat meant that he could no longer use it as a crutch. He was now required to carry the very thing that held him bound. And to walk meant he would never again be confined to one spot. But it’s important to realize that he wouldn’t have experienced his healing and freedom without first operating in faith through his actions.
What area is God trying to wake up in your life? In what situation do you need the most faith? Jesus is your alarm clock and will alert you when it's time to get up… and walk!