Friday, February 03, 2006

And....Destructive Mind-Set

This is the fourth and last in a series about most people. More important than the ailing body is the suffering spirit, which is harder for God deal with only because we don’t recognize our spiritual ailments, and we don’t ask him to lift them from us. We stubbornly hold on.

The storms and sicknesses of modern life are all too apparent. AIDS, cancer, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes plague us, as Philip Yancy points out. We suffer from guilt, fear, worry, despair, suspicion, and unmet longings for love and positive regard. We are attention deficient, autistic, schizophrenic, and bipolar. We don’t know how to communicate with each other. In short, we desperately need the healing power of Jesus that is seen in Matthew 8 and 9.

Let’s look back at the healing of the paralyzed man in Matthew 9. I think we can put ourselves in this picture. There we are, lying on the mat, paralyzed by our anxiety, our fear of saying the wrong thing and being rejected, for example. If Jesus could restore a completely paralyzed person to physical wholeness, think about it! A little anxiety or cynicism would be an easy thing for him.

But how we hang onto those spiritual diseases and love to wallow in them. We have to seek him and ask him to heal us of pride, fear, anger, and resentment. And we have to know that he can do it and give us peace in its place. He can make our spirits whole, just like the paralytic’s body, and raise our spirits to new life, like physically raising the dead.

Whatever our spirit sickness is, we can give it up, with his help—by the touch of his healing hand—even if we’ve hung onto it for twelve years, our spirits bleeding like the bleeding woman. Or blind, like the blind people he healed, we can see, through him. We can be free and whole. And then we don’t have to live a miserable life separated from God, but a rich life filled with his praises. We just have to see our spirit’s sickness for what it is, ask God to lift it—and know that he can and will.

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