5 And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”6 Now some of the scribes were sitting there, questioning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this man speak like that? He is blaspheming! Who can forgive sins but God alone?” 8 And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic— 11 “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” 12 And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2:5-12)
In the scripture above I found a part of Christ’s character that made me smile and after reading it over a few times thought about what this passage says to me specifically. I see two stories unfolding at once. The room was full of stories being written that would unfold and cause a ripple that spread the gospel from that one moment throughout the world. I want to focus on two, although I hope you’ll see the beauty of how the Gospel exploded from each of the witnesses we have a tendency to overlook.
I see the scribes and I see the paralytic. We have scribes whose job was to interpret the law for the people. They were experts on the Old Testament law. They would be considered experts on laws. They were as full of head knowledge as anybody during that time. What they missed was when the fulfillment of those laws walking into a room. The God they followed walked into the room and looked into their eyes and they missed it. What good is all of the biblical knowledge in the world if you don’t recognize the author? I am drawn to the character of God that starts small, draws our attention, and then opens our eyes to His love and faithfulness. Jesus forgives the sins of the paralytic and allows the scribes to take notice in their questioning of Him. Then, knowing their hearts, He shows His authority to all. He draws in the people hardened to faith and then brought the whole room into a moment of glorification to God. He has their attention and then heals him so that when he stands, ‘all and amazed and they all glorify God.’ I see the heart of God and the patience He takes in helping us in our hardened state. What love and faithfulness we are called to serve.
I see the paralytic being lowered through the roof in such faith. Then the Lord takes notice of him and forgives him of his sins. There is now a moment where he lays there forgiven and still paralyzed. There was a time that his faith had to continue in order to be healed. God’s wisdom decided to use his trouble (paralysis) to save those around him. He then decided to use that moment he remained faithful to save the teachers of the law. I’m sure that moment felt like an eternity to the paralytic, but I’m positive it meant eternal life for those to who he was blessed enough to bear witness.
7) Walking in The Spirit
The freedom found in walking above the hold of the earth is available only in God, through Jesus Christ. What a breath of fresh air to walk in the Spirit after we have allowed God to help us die to our flesh. This is a position that is inspiring but the process can be painful and take a long time. It all depends on what God knows is necessary to move you into complete submission and reliance on Him. There are so many things in this world that have the opportunity to snare us and keep us from where God designed us to be and that’s reconciled to Him. Walking in the Spirit is walking in God’s perfect love. In that love there is no fear or anxiety. We are in reliance on the Creator of the universe. We are dependent on our Heavenly Father who gives us all of the provision we need. We have a life available to us that far surpasses our greatest expectation and dream. Let your life be a testimony to the power of God in His children. Reflect the light of God as He fills you to overflowing with His Spirit. Walk in a way that is only possible because of God’s power in you. We are called to be holy, meaning set apart from this world. If we walk in the Spirit we will be sure to stand out, and be sure to draw to God those who are lost and called by Him. You now can watch them walk in the steps that come with walking in Christ.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. (1 John 4:18)
And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus (Philippians 4:19)
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him” (1 Corinthians 2:19)
6) Rising Above
As a believer walks in the Spirit and their spirit matures and grows they become aware of how dark the world is. They see how fallen this world has become. It becomes clear how content people are with their sin and how normal sin has become. Believers who continue to grow realize they are in a foreign place. A place that they were never designed to walk. Man was made to walk with God in the garden. They were never designed to taste death, or experience fear, or feel angry. All of our cares were meant to be in God. He was meant to guide our every step in His Holy Sovereignty. Original sin went against that design. Sin created separation from a Holy God. The grace and mercy of God kept His heart for His creation in tact. He always looked to keep a living testimony in the lives of His people. He used laws to guide and protect His chosen and then became man to fulfill that law and reconcile everyone to Him who chooses to accept Him as Lord. His Spirit indwelling in us allows us to rise above this sinful world and walk in the process of sanctification with God. As growth occurs and the separation from the things of this world become so great we must fight the desire to return to the comfort of our past and continue to follow God into our greater purpose. Continue to rise above when friends and family can’t see your path and some may fall away. Look to God for your support because the things of this world can’t support the growth toward things that are above this fallen world. Learn to lean on God and continue to rise. Focus on the Father that created you, knows you, loves you, and looks to make you live above your greatest expectations.
We have been set apart as holy because Jesus Christ did what God wanted him to do by sacrificing his body once and for all. (Hebrews 10:10)
For God did not call us to impurity but in holiness. (1 Thessalonians 4:7)
Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)
As a believer sheds their self and moves away from worldly comfort and emotionally based happiness, they enter an environment where the Spirit can grow in them and replace the flesh that has dominated their existence. While growth sounds exciting at its initial thought, it can be very painful as faith becomes the basis for movement and not sight. Not many people have complete trust in many people around them. The concept of being able to completely trust God takes effort. He seeks that all things are for our good as we walk in His will. He does not change and cannot lie. All the truth of His word should become as comforting as a warm blanket on a cold day. Growth as we walk in faith reveals how true this is. Growing in faith is as difficult as it is satisfying to our spirit. As the Holy Spirit matures us we begin to bear its fruit: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,23 gentleness, self-control (Galatians 5:22-23a). Growing in Christ-likeness as we walk in the Spirit allows these qualities to show through in increasing measure. This is one of the ways that we are able to shine the light of God into this darkened world. This growth and maturity is a lifelong process. It is even more satisfying when we get closer to God and our perspective of things change and grow with us. His Word is alive and matures us as its depths are revealed to us. It then becomes clear that the depth of our God is infinite and we can never know enough. We are beginning a lifelong commitment that never decreases in the joy and peace that it provides to us as we go deeper into the arms of our Heavenly Father.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. (Romans 15:13)
that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:9b-10)
4) Shedding of Self
As the believer learns what it looks like to walk with Christ they see that the process involves a new heart. This new heart is made new by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit functions at full capacity in a heart made pure as sinfulness is pushed out. The darkness is replaced by the light of God. We see this in the power exercised by the only sinless heart to ever walk the earth: Jesus. He was perfectly connected to the Father and the full power of the Spirit healed and raised the dead. The same Spirit indwells in believer when they accept Christ as a sacrifice for their sin and allows that Spirit to enter their heart. It is at this point that that we have to shed ourselves, let go of our flesh and allow our spirits to grow. We have to decrease so that God’s power in us can increase. We are called to a purpose that exceeds our expectations and a joy that surpasses the best this world has to offer. The process of shedding requires humility and a trust that God must give us the strength to accomplish. Ask God to give you a new strength and ability to walk with Him. Your Heavenly Father seeks to guide you into rightly walking with Him. He sent His only Son to die so that you could be reconciled to Him, of course He’s willing to show you your purpose in your new family. Let go of what you hold on to for comfort and step into the embrace that fits you perfectly and last for eternity.
And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you (Ezekiel 36:26a)
Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed, and make yourselves a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 18:31)
You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. (Romans 8:9)
Being awakened to the love of God and the sacrifice of His Son creates a vacuum in our spirit that wants to take in all that has been missing. The void left from earthy provision leaves the believer famished and desperate to fill themselves with the goodness of God and the love of Jesus. Then begins the stage of learning. Attending church and reading the bible become exciting and the spike in curiosity feels like an unquenchable thirst. Nothing can fill all of the places that have been left empty fast enough. They are now aware that God is able to meet the needs that nothing else could. They delight in the possibilities in this unknown love and grace. They are accepted in their brokenness and the world is bright because their focus now includes the light in Jesus Christ. What does it look like to fall deeper into God? What can I do to get closer? There is a hunger for substance and a thirst for more.
I am the LORD your God, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt. Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it. (Psalm 81:10)
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)
O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water. (Psalm 63:1)
Those who God calls are awakened to their fallenness and desperate need for a Savior. Their pride falls away and they become aware of their depravity. They stop believing they are good by comparing themselves to the fallen world and realize in the eyes of a holy and perfect God all have fallen short. I love to share with people that even their curiosity about God is a gift from Him. If you are looking to reconnect with your Creator it is because He has gifted that desire to you. Praise the God who actively seeks you and offers His only Son so that you can be reconciled to Him and begin a new life with possibilities that far exceed the worldly imagination that has held you captive. We are called to accept Jesus Christ as our Savior and to let the sacrifice of His life for us cover our sin debt. If we were to truly look at the sin of our lives we would realize the debt we are in is too great to overcome. It would compare to a credit card that we have no chance of paying of the balance. God loves you in your fallen state enough to erase that debt. He refuses to let you stay a slave to sin and debt that piles up with it. When even one spirit is awakened to Jesus all of heaven rejoices. Another child of God has come home to the Father and they are now on a path that allows them to fulfill the purpose for which they were created. The can take their place in the Kingdom of God for all eternity and will never taste death but have eternal life in reconciliation with their Eternal Heavenly Father.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23)
So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. (Romans 9:18)