I want to start this post by taking you back 2000 years ago to a pool called Bethesda, beside which is a man who has been unwell, an invalid, for 38 years. This man lies beside the pool and watches as others go into it and receive healing while he sits there at the edge day after day after day.
Fast forward 2000 years and you see you, phone in hand. You’re scrolling through Instagram loving the post of the couple who just bought their forever home while you’re still living in a 600 square foot apartment, or the post of your best friend who just got engaged while you’re still single but so very desperate to mingle, or the post of that V1 Dream Team member who recently surrendered his life to Christ and has experienced radical growth and freedom while you’re still searching for yours after all these years of following Him.
And what happens next is the same thing that happened 2000 years ago, Jesus walks up to you, just as He walked up to the invalid, opens His mouth and asks, “Do you want to get well?” Now I can’t be positive but at this point I’m sure both you and the invalid are offended, because you would think the answer to this question would be an automatic yes. However, the invalid’s response was not yes, but an excuse: “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.” What would your response be if Jesus came up to you and asked you, “Do you want to buy a house?” Would your response be, “Yes,” or, “Well I live in the most expensive city in the US?” If He asked, “Do you want to get married?” Would your response be, “Yes,” or, “There are no good, Christian men?” If Jesus asked if you want to be set free would you respond, “Yes,” or would your response be, “My pastor doesn’t have time for me?”
When you are in default mode you will not even take the opportunity to get well.
People who are in default mode, when asked if they want to get well, will always have an excuse. But thank Jesus He doesn’t take our excuses when we offer them! We can give Him an infinite amount of excuses, reasons, for why we can’t “get well” but even in the midst of all of those excuses Jesus can still deliver the cure, because the details of your circumstance really do not matter to Jesus. They do not stop His ability to heal. Jesus told the man to pick up his mat and walk and he did it despite his circumstances and excuses.
But the first step to getting free is to get real. We have this idea that we have to clean ourselves up first, that we have to make ourselves a candidate for the cure. This story of the man at the pool disproves that. This man didn’t put on his Sunday best and show up to church so that he qualified for his healing. No, Jesus came to him in his funk and He will come to you in yours because you are loved by Jesus despite everything that you do and you will never be able to fathom the extent of His Goodness in your life!
Some of you still don’t believe me because you have too much religion in your heart and not enough relationship with Jesus. Religion can only change your behavior, not your heart. You’re disqualifying yourself from the miracle because you think you haven’t done enough: you haven’t fasted enough, read His Word enough, you still have alcohol in your system, whatever it is. Let me rock your whole perspective on that: when asked who healed him, the former invalid didn’t even know Jesus’s name! Jesus wants to radically change your life before you even really know who He is! Now I do believe that belief is a prerequisite to a miracle, but sometimes in God’s goodness, even while we haven’t figured it all out, He just wants to overwhelm us with His goodness.
It is not your works that will heal you. Default mode has made you predictable. The enemy knows what you’re going to do next. He knew the invalid would just sit and wait by the pool just like he knows your default when life gets tough is to stress eat, down some alcohol, spend money you don’t have, etc. But thankfully God knows the x-factor: your destiny, your purpose. You want to get out of that predictable default mode, become unpredictable and reach your destiny? Actually do what Jesus is telling you to do! Do that early morning workout instead of hitting the snooze button five times! Invest in yourself so you can learn the skills that will get you a job that you actually love! Plant yourself and serve in your local church because #gafftapesaveslives and you are more likely to receive healing and freedom in serving than you are in a meeting with your pastor!
Lastly and most importantly: stop sinning. Healing the man at the pool of Bethesda was a miracle, but another miracle happens when Jesus tells you to stop sinning and you do it. Despite the fact that the miracle of walking and the miracle of stopping sinning require the same amount of obedience most Christians will believe in the miracle of walking, but not the miracle of being able to stop sinning. Yet the purpose of every miracle is, “Stop sinning.” Do not use your freedom to run back into the bowels of hell, back into default mode, but into the arms of your Savior.