Last year someone told me something he was struggling with. In Christianity you’re not supposed to “do”, I mean Jesus did everything for us and God is the One who does everything (He grows us, saves people, approaches us, teaches us, etc). At the same time, we have to “do”, we should. For example, we should pray, read the Word, etc. So then how do we not do but do? I began to ask that too…
One Pastor mentioned that this paradox of not doing but doing is like how a fish lives. I don’t remember it perfectly, but a fish floats because of its buoyancy. Fish have a swim bladder that allows it to float up and down in water. The physics and physical property of buoyancy allows the fish to float, but the fish must also do its part to stay afloat or descend by filling the saac with the right amount of air.
I still struggled with this paradox, but today God helped me understand better. (Things are always better when told from the Source, right?!) I’ve been struggling with laziness and lack of self-discipline, and it’s something I’ve been wanting to combat. I think God kind of rebuked me or maybe it was confrontation… The phrase that came up in prayer was, “Pick up your mat and walk”. I was stunned. You know what He was saying? I’ve been praying for God to give me self-discipline, and He was saying, JUST DO IT!
Yes, we need to pray for God to help us because He is the One who can ultimately change and help us. God doing. But we also must do our part. Us doing. Jesus CAN heal the paralyzed man, to whom he said, “Pick up your mat and walk.” But the paralyzed man will never know He is healed until he picks up his mat and walks.
Thank God for showing me that He CAN help me with my lack of self-discipline with such a real and convicting story in the Bible. (And one phrase that I so easily overlooked). Furthermore, it’s actually nice knowing that not only He can change me, but I can too! If I just have the faith. Just believe and try!
I know it will be a process, but I will try. I will try today and tomorrow to have self-discipline! God doing and me doing. Goes hand in hand. And it’s kind of nice you know… That I get to be part of the process of change. Not because God needs me to, but because there are so many blessings that come with exercising our faith. I guess exercise isn’t so bad after all, huh?
Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
“Sir,” the invalid replied, “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.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
(Here the blind man thought he needed someone else to pick him up, when all along Jesus knew he could pick up his mat and walk without another’s help. That’s what happens when Jesus comes to you, heals you, and says everything is yours– His power, His love, His righteousness. Sometimes it feels like doing something or following commands/rules or even a God are enslaving, when in reality it’s freedom and empowerment. Look, the paralyzed man picked up his mat and walked all because He met Jesus, believed His Words, and exercised his faith.)