Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Choosing freedom...and walking in it

*I previously wrote a post on this passage, but after some very interesting thought, I choose to revisit it.*

"And there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, 'Woman, you are freed from your disability.' And he laid his hands on her and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God."~Luke 13:11-13

This story mirrors the joy of freedom in finding our identity in Christ. When I think of how the Lord has touched my life, setting me free of "disabling spirits" which have so crippled my very day-to-day process, I'm brought to a place of awe. 

Not too long ago, my Bible study had a discussion about this very passage. I posed the following question. "What if you were there that day when this lady was healed and then a few months later, saw her bent over once again in the streets? What would you say to her?" The responses were as expected, "Why are you not walking as a healed woman? Don't you know that Jesus healed you? I saw it with my own eyes!" Take the circumstance now and make it analogous to our own lives. As Christians, we are set free from that which held us captive. We can walk straight. However, disability can be comfortable, can it not? Maybe that woman was used to the bent over way of life. I mean seriously, think of the implications. Healing is life changing/altering and from the little that I know of human nature, we are generally change averse. 

I was sitting in my strategic management class today and my professor drew out this complex theory of the process of problem solving. The individual responsible for this model had considered so many areas of this process-he highlighted the implied nature of outcomes, the importance of perspective, and the relationship between administrators and the value they produce. However, he did all of this under the assumption that the individuals operating within this model are 1) rational 2) willing to fulfill their roles as citizens in considering the public good and 3) value focused.  Have you met an individual, including yourself, who is perfectly rational, chooses greater value over lesser value in terms of the "whole" and actually is living their life under the general question of "how can I make things better for others"? I am not this way and I have yet to meet someone who is perfectly this way. We, as humans, do not act within our own self interest, really, because we have no idea what that really is! 

And this is not depressing, but so incredibly liberating! Because if we recognize this fact, we begin to look outside ourselves and find that in Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is found what is best. And we are given instructions on how to walk in that in Scripture. Simply put, God glorified is what is in our best interest. Walking straight is in our best interest. The woman glorified God. She knew her healing had come not from herself-she could not make herself walk straight, but it came from Christ, the Savior and Redeemer. 

Continuing in this healing is a simple, but multi-level process. First, know your God. The more we discover about His character, the more it brings us to our knees in worship. The less we understand about Him, the more prone we are to once again becoming our own "savior". Pursue Him through the reading scripture, prayer, worship, and discipleship. Second, surround yourself with individuals who know of your healing and can testify to His work in your life. That family of fellowship allows for encouragement when it seems more comfortable/makes more "sense" to go back to what you know. And third, rejoice. Actually take the time to praise Him for who He is. 

Choosing this healing demands life change, but much like the joy that accompanied Pilgrim in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress when the load was loosed from His back, that change brings with it a life that is "Life indeed". 

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