Monday, January 13, 2014

Do we really want to get well...?

Week 3:

John 5:6-8 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.”  Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.”

As I continue a journey of transformation in my life and as I walk alongside others who are interested in transformation as well; I find myself growing frustrated.  Some of the frustration is with me that this change just does not happen fast enough.  However, when I look at the whole of my life, I see where God has put me in situations where I have had to face trials and difficulty in order to be transformed.  Upon that reflection, I can see that I have come a long way.

The biggest frustration that I tend to notice is with those who just give up on the transformation work they have begun.  Many times this is the person that moves from new thing to new thing searching for an answer to life.  Some of these types of people land in the area where I am doing my transformation work.  Yet, he/she does not stay long.  It is just not happening quickly enough for him or the work on her heart is just too hard to do, or he just does not get along with the community of believers he is journeying with, or she just likes the idea of change but cannot commit to doing the work it takes.  These are some I have observed, I am sure there are other reasons as well.

I believe that at the basic level it comes down to want.  Honestly, for someone to truly have transformation in life, he/she has to really want to make a change.  Not only does one have to want, he/she also has to take some action.  Notice in the above passage where Jesus asks, “Do you want to get well?”  After that Jesus directs him to “Get up!  Pick up your mat and walk.”  Not only did Jesus find out if the man really wanted to get well, He told him to take action.  Jesus does this in several places:  If I want to be His disciple, then I must take up my cross daily and follow Him (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:23).  If I want to save my life, then I must lose it (Matthew 16:25).  If I want to enter life, then I must obey (Matthew 19:17).  If I want to be great, then I must be humble (Matthew 20:26). 

Let’s go back to this idea of want.  I will use the good old standard example of weight loss.  Yep, I’m going there!   So, I am not satisfied with my current weight.  I don’t like how my clothes don’t fit right.  I don’t like the look of the “love handles”.  I don’t like how I feel when I carry this many pounds.  I don’t like my health when I am at this weight.  Yet, if I do not get past liking the idea of weighing less; if I do not want to change, then I will only give half-hearted action.  I have to begin with want.  I have to truly want to make a change.  It starts there.  Now, my want may not really kick in until I reach the point where the pain of being this way has reached a threshold.  Regardless, if I do not want, (deeply want to change) I won’t take the proper action to change. 

Now, I am not saying that I do not want change or that others do not want change.  I am saying the want may not be deep enough.  Another wonder for me is this notion of the pain for myself (and others) actually giving more comfort than the change I would like to make.  I have become comfortable with my pain and change could make it “flare up”.  Furthermore, my pain may give me an excuse to not try and fail at being transformed.  So, there is a risk for me to make a change…I may lose my excuse.  Or, quite possibly, transformation may not turn out how I envision, causing more pain. 

So, I return to my frustration with others and their unwillingness to face change and work through the transformation process.  After reflecting on my unwillingness to make some changes in my life, I see where this particular journey may be difficult for them.  So, instead of being frustrated and giving up on the person, I can step back and wait on God’s timing.  I can pray for the person and love him/her.  When opportunities arise, I can speak into his/her heart and life with the only intention being that of helping.  If it is rejected, I am to stand back and let them walk their walk.  This is easier said than done, yet with God’s help, doable. 

By the way, that process of loving, praying, helping and backing off is a piece of my current transformation process.

  1. What is a want that you have not wanted bad enough to take action?
  2. What gets in the way of you taking that action?
  3. When you are frustrated about another person not moving forward to change, how much of that is about some part of your life where you do the same thing?  Explain.
  4. If you imagined Jesus asking you, “What do you want?”  What action to imagine he would tell you to take?
  5. Pay attention this week to your wants.  Take them to Jesus.  Then pay attention to what action He leads you to take.

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