Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Week Forty-Four - He Who Hesitates Loses

Tom and I enjoy watching old Western movies. These black and white films with villains and outlaws, heroes and heroines are somewhat predictable but still entertaining. Must usually, when the bad guy gets confronted with exposure, he hesitates. It's a dead give-away that he is guilty. 

I got to thinking more about this when I read this statement in my devotion. "Mixed motives make for slow responses." (Chris Tiegreen) The author uses the example of the invalid at the pool of Bethesda.  He's been there for thirty-eight years, waiting to be healed. Jesus asks him a simple question. "Wilt thou be made whole?" "Do you want to be healed?"  You would think a resounding "Yes" would be his answer, but no.  The man hesitates and gives an excuse. "Sir, I have no man, when the water is troubled, to put me into the pool: but while I am coming, another steppeth down before me." (John 5:7)

How many times are we guilty of the same? We have an apparent need, but we hesitate. Why? The devotion brought up the idea that maybe the man feared the dramatic change healing would bring. After all, there would be questions about how he was healed. And he doesn't seem to realize he is speaking to Jesus. Or, if he does, he knows the religious leader will not be pleased. Either way, he hesitates.

Are we like the invalid? We say we want deliverance from our sin, but we can't take our eyes off them. We say we are finished with our lousy attitude but continue thinking negative critical thoughts. We want our prayers answered but wonder if freedom will mean we don't get the same attention or sympathy? We ask for the filling of the Spirit but remain scared to death of what might be asked of us. We love freedom but are comfortable captives. When confronted with faith, we hesitate.

Our response reveals our underlying motives. Sometimes we don't even recognize them, and when we do, we hesitate and shy away, fearing exposure, unable or unwilling to address and abandon them. Jesus, as he did with the invalid, speaks directly to us. He is brutally and lovingly honest. Do you want to be healed? Then you must lay aside these undercurrents and rise, take up your bed, and walk. Following Christ is an unhesitating action. 

We need not fear. Our Lord knows our hearts, just as He knew the heart and apprehension of this man at the pool.  And we are the same, unable to mend ourselves, hesitant to believe Christ can, but challenged to believe.

Lord, expose and remove ill motives from my life. I see them in little flashes that cause me to feel guilt and hesitate to follow, but you see me through and through with deep and genuine love. Purify my heart and motives by your word and help me to not hesitate but follow faithfully.

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