Monday, December 05, 2005

Wake Up!

Mark 2:1-12
And when He had come back to Capernaum several days afterward, it was heard that He was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was no longer room, even near the door; and He was speaking the word to them. And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic, carried by four men. And being unable to get to Him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above Him; and when they had dug an opening, they let down the pallet on which the paralytic was lying. And Jesus seeing their faith said to the paralytic, “My son, your sins are forgiven.”

I sat in my living room this morning in a trance, almost. We just finished four performances (I dislike using that word, but nothing else is coming to me at 5 A.M.) of our church’s Living Christmas Tree. My back is hurting, my feet are tired beyond tired and I don’t know that I want to see the inside of our church for another month, let alone on Wednesday. I know that feeling will change between now and then since our church is a second home to me.

I prayed on my armor, first thing when I sat down with my Bible. I feel good there. Then I just sat on the couch. No real thoughts connecting in my head. No desire, other than a passing one, to write in my prayer journal. “Okay, God, why did you wake me at 4:30 in the morning if there wasn’t something important to meet with You about?”

Beyond the “duh” moment of just MEETING with God for no reason other than fellowship, came the urge to flip through the Bible in one of my favorite ways. I close it, stick my fingernail in a portion without trying to figure out what part of Scripture I’m headed for and open the book to see what God has for me. I, in my tired mind, thought I was somewhere in one of the Old Testament prophets. Nope, it was Mark 2.

I read the story of the paralytic all the way through, but my mind really stopped on the first part. I have to wonder who was the most determined? Was the paralytic the one telling the four men to climb onto the roof, carrying him mind you, and then to DIG into someone else’s roof? Then, not only did they dig that hole, they lowered him THROUGH it. We’ll never know who’s bright idea this was, but this isn’t like some of the parables Christ told. This was real. Someone wanted to be healed by Him so badly they went to these kinds of extremes. And we can’t even be bothered some days to get in our cushy cars and drive to church on Sundays.

I never said I was going to be soft on things so get ready for a punch. :-) WE are the paralytic and we’re suffering. WE don’t have the determination to have our friends dig a hole in someone else’s roof and get our healing. Wouldn’t want to inconvenience someone by putting a hole in their roof, how rude! Or to ask someone to do something we could do ourselves. We don’t have the desire to be with Christ no matter what. Oh, we give the lip service to living for Christ, but we do nothing which shows that for the most part.

I know some who have gone to far away lands and done mission trips for Him. I’m not knocking that at all. I have to admit I’m glad God hasn’t called me to do that and follow through on it. I AM knocking our everyday lifestyles, especially here in the good old U.S.A. How many reading this today have opened their Bibles before they checked their email? I didn’t, I confess. How many of us OPEN our Bibles and spend ANY significant time with the One Who can heal us, body and soul? How much study have we done on a certain word in Scripture to see what God’s original message was to us rather than man’s interpretation? Or even to see how many verses use that word? How many of us have spent more than the reading time required in Scripture without really stopping to think about a passage? How many of us have prayed more than the cursory, “Help me today, God, to get through _________” fill in the blank? How many of us have sought the answer to that “get through” in the Book which gives us all the answers?

God has shown me that His church, the body of believers, is sick. There are few healthy specimens of Christ walking around in the world today. Many live by their own insights and experiences rather than seeking the Truth for how to live a life in Christ. We are the paralytics and the lepers desperately needing the healing of Christ, but lacking the drive to seek it, doing whatever it takes to get it.

Here’s my challenge to you. Get off your duff and start making God first in your day and life. He asks for the first fruits of our labor and that includes our waking. Sacrifice a bit for Him. He did a lot more for us.

Mark 1:35 – “And in the early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there.”

He’ll meet you there. He promised.


Kelly said...

I want to encourage your readers to seek Jesus daily. My mornings spent walking thru the Bible this year has changed me more than I thought it would. He does meet you!

Terri said...

I agree that most people in the Body of Christ are sick, and the problem does have something to do with reading the Bible. But, the sickness comes from working our way out of our sinful nature, of laying it down each day and picking up our cross. As we lay down more and more of our selfish nature and become more and more the servants of Christ (reading our Bibles and praying are 2 of the best ways to do this), we become healthier and healthier. The less we do this, the longer it takes us to gain any measure of health, and yes, we can become "sicker" if we neglect to bring God's healing presence into our lives for any measure of time.

I have to disagree with you that we're sick BECAUSE we neglect God. We're not getting well BECAUSE we neglect God.

The paralytic wasn't sick b/c God wasn't in his life. But he became well BECAUSE he went to Christ for healing.

Anyway, you probably agree with all this, it's more a matter of semantics. The way we say things can be so important when it comes to people understanding/misunderstanding our hearts.


A. M. Wilson said...

Terri said, "I have to disagree with you that we're sick BECAUSE we neglect God. We're not getting well BECAUSE we neglect God.

The paralytic wasn't sick b/c God wasn't in his life. But he became well BECAUSE he went to Christ for healing."

I agree, the paralytic wasn't paralyzed because God wasn't a part of his life. BUT, the Body of Christ IS "sick" due to their lack of diligence and desire to get better, namely by staying in the Word of God daily...being DOERS of the Word and not just HEARERS. My point in this particular blog was to prod the passionless lifestyle the majority of Christians lead. They'll go to church once a week, maybe twice. There are some who only attend on Easter and Christmas which is a sad joke among church staffers. Rarely is the spine of their Bible cracked or even dusted off, yet they will wallow in their problems wondering why God doesn't help them. They couldn't recite three verses of Scripture from memory without using John 3:16 as one.

That may sound harsh. This is supposed to be the most important relationship we HAVE in our lives and yet it gets less attention than the evening news. And FEW pastors are bold enough, or walking closely enough themselves, to reproach from the pulpit. My former pastor told of a time he was at a pastors' conference. The speaker asked for a show of hands of those pastors who could recite 5 verses from memory. Out of thousands, and I can't remember how many exactly, a lot of hands went up. The speaker asked about 10 verses. More than half the hands went down. At 15 less than 1/4 of the hands were still in the air. When he stopped at 25 there were about five hands still in the air. FROM PASTORS who are supposed to be showing us the way! We are called to be hiding this Word in our hearts that we might not sin against God and yet we don't even know what it SAYS because we haven't bothered to read it.

We are sick because of sin. Yes. We have the knowledge and the power to get better but refuse to take the time to USE it. We're sick because we haven't allowed the Holy Spirit of God to dwell richly in us to the point of working out those dark places which poison our spirits. We haven't allowed the freshness of the Breath of Heaven to blow through the flesh we still hold tight to. We haven't ripped a hole in the roof in our desire to get closer to the One who can heal us. We're too content to sit on the roof and hope for the best.

I think it's one and the same, really. We ARE sick because we neglect God and we can't get BETTER because we neglect God. Not mutually exclusive. :-)