Are You Persevering?
I was digging into the Word today and came across a glorious passage that speaks of faith and perseverance. We live in a day when many people will attempt to do something, and if they do not succeed on the first try or if they encounter difficulty at the beginning they will quit. Look at this glorious passage below and receive instruction, encouragement, and hope.
On one of those days, as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there, who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with him to heal. And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said, “Man, your sins are forgiven you.” And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, “Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them, “Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the man who was paralyzed—“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God. And amazement seized them all, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.” (Luke 5:17-26, ESV)
The paralyzed man was helpless, but he was blessed with good friends who shared his faith that Jesus could remedy the man's situation. This is a great place to start. We must place our faith and confidence in the Lord Jesus. We must see Him as the all sufficient remedy for our ailment and our difficulty. We must also understand that indwelling sin creates many problems for us and is the root of difficulties. Jesus later addressed this issue, and I will as well.
However, once we realize that we need Jesus, we need to seek Him. In this instance the friends took the paralytic to the house where Jesus was teaching. We must go to where Jesus is. Some good places to look are in the Word of God, worship services at church, good books (Christians classics), and fellowship with godly friends who will point us to Christ (people who are daily delighting in Christ). We will find that once we get to Jesus He will respond to requests made in faith and in confidence about His holy and loving character. Jesus was teaching, but He paused his teaching session to minister to this man and in the process taught by his actions. Jesus praised such great faith that would not allow difficulties to stand in the way ofthe paralytic and his friends from receiving an affirming answer. How often do we quit when we try to witness to a friend, when we try to learn a new song, when we begin to use a ministry gift that God has given us? We must persevere if we want to see God bless us and use us to be a blessing to others.
Lastly, notice that before Jesus pronounced healing upon the paralyzed man He first addressed the man's sin problem. Far too often people come to the church and to the Christians in it looking for relief and we will try to address the immediate need and fail to dig deeper to the real source of the problem. We must not heal the wound of people lightly (Jeremiah 6:14). People need more than financial help, food, clothing, mental health and spiritual counseling. They need their sins forgiven and the joy that arises from such a glorious condition. Ministering to people's needs is a great place to start, but if we only minster to the physical needs and fail to offer the hope of the gospel we are no better than a government social worker. It is good to try and help people, but we must not stop short of the true remedy. Let us persevere in sharing the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ!
What about you, my friends, those of you who profess to know Christ - do you delight in Him daily and in the glorious hope and peace that the gospel supplies each day? Today, are you living in the joy that your sins are forgiven, that you have peace with God, or is there a dark cloud over you today? Often we focus on the sickness, the financial problem, or the agony of our mind and fail to realize that Christ and the hope of the gospel are the remedy. If Jesus had only forgiven the man's sin and not physcally healed him the man would have still blessed gloriously blessed. However, spiritual healing will often bring physical, mental, and emotional benefits as well.
Don't let a roadblock stop you from coming to Christ, whether it is to enter into a saving relationship with Him or whether it is as a disciple of Christ a desire to draw closer to Him. There will always be people like the scribes and Pharisees who will complain and grumble when Christ does a marvelous work of grace in your life. Legalistic, self-righteous people never enjoy grace. There will be crowds pressing in on you who will get in your way. Some in these crowds are seekers like you and should be loved and encouraged to persevere. Others are merely curious and just want to see what is happening at that moment, but whatever the situation persevere! Seek ye the Lord while He may be found! Call upon Him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake His way and the unrighteous man his thoughts.; and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon Him. and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:6-7, KJV)