“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.” John 5:8-9
For years, people had seen this paralyzed man lying by the pool unable to do anything for himself. Then Jesus comes along and tells the man to get up. Those observing must have thought, “Is Jesus crazy or cruel or both? How can this man get up when he’s been paralyzed for years?” But Jesus knew exactly what He was doing. He said, “Get up!” because every act of Jesus in our lives is precipitated by a response of obedience to Him.
Many people lack true experience of God because they are content with the status quo of their comfort zones, but God’s method of working is not to have us sit passively back while He snaps His fingers and things just happen. We are meant to be participants with Him. Paul writes that we are called “to the obedience that comes from faith for His name’s sake” (Romans 1:5). The paralyzed man was miraculously able to stand and walk because he had the faith to respond in obedience to Jesus’s command.
When we depend on God’s supernatural enabling – “I can’t do this, but I am going to respond in obedience,” we will discover that when our will is brought into harmony with God’s will, things begin to happen. The will of God says, “Get up!” The man says, “Alright, I have not done this for 38 years, but I will get up.” At that moment, when the will of the man and the will of God coincided, that is the point of connection and God transformed his life.
Once Jesus has given a command the onus is on us to respond, but His commands are never ones we can naturally fulfill. They require Him to intervene, and our response of obedience is the point at which He does intervene. Paul tells us, “The one who calls you is faithful, and He will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24). When we depend on God’s enabling and act in obedience, we will begin to see the intervention of God Himself.
God is not limited by our obedience, as if His power is only unlocked when we obey Him, but He chooses to wait for us to act on His instructions. This includes big moves of faith, like being placed in foreign mission fields far from home, but also in smaller steps, like acting on the sudden prompting of the Spirit to share the Gospel with someone on the bus. When we bring our will into harmony with God’s will and trust Him to work through our obedience, we can be assured we will see the awesome empowering of God at work in our lives!
PRAYER: Lord Jesus, though Your commands may sometimes seem impossible, I know that nothing is impossible with You. Grant me the faith to obey no matter what You ask of me. Thank You, Lord.