In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of His clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half-dead. Luke 10:30
One day my husband Fred and I were sitting in our living room talking about having a positive attitude and the phrase “The glass being half full vs. half empty”. We chatted about how we (people in general) look at situations in our lives and what a difference it could make if our perspective took a more positive attitude. A few days after this conversation I was reading the story of the Good Samaritan and came to the part in Luke 10:30 where God’s word says that the robbed, beaten man had been left “half dead”. As I spoke to the Lord about this passage I said to him, “Let’s think positive Lord; he’s “half alive” and without missing a beat, the Lord said back to me; “What is so good about being “half alive”? My mouth dropped open, my head whirled at that thought, and again my Lord was right, as usual. Woe to me who thinks I can teach my God anything! Forgive me Lord!
The Good Samaritan’s victim had been beaten and left in a physical condition of being half-dead. He might have been hardly breathing, suffered a great loss of blood and possibly in shock. This kind of trauma to the human body can bring on death if not attended to promptly. Some of us have been beaten in such a way as to have been left “half dead” spiritually! When I stopped to meditate on God’s Word and the terminology “half alive” I had a much better understanding of what He was teaching me. Living life only half-alive in all aspects of the human condition i.e. physical, psychological and spiritual gave me quite a bit to think about. Living life fully alive has to include an attitude of making the most of every moment and living out the plans the Lord has for me with zest and exuberance. Not allowing anyone or anything to get in my way! The thought of doing God’s purpose for me only half-way brings feelings of remorse and the thought that if I am living “half alive” spiritually it better be because I really am “half dead” physically. God’s word says; I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11. What joy and encouragement this should bring to our thinking. All our motivation should stem from the fact that these are His plans and He will make them succeed if we just do our part. Be His feet and hands!
I have wasted a great amount of time moaning over issues in my life. I would like to begin to live completely, fully, alive, not just in part, not half dead! In the book, “If You Want To Walk On Water, You Have To Get Out of the Boat” by John Ortburg he speaks with an analogy that one day when I get to heaven Jesus would show me a video of my life as it would have been if I had just done all the things God had planned for me. I cried at the thought of seeing some wonderful things if only I had lived my life to its fullest potential; not just sitting and thinking about the good I could be doing but actually doing it, being “fully alive” for God and allowing His plans for me to one day be “finished”. I cried at the thought of seeing a video of works undone. I want to do God’s will in my life and do it with all the gifts and abilities with which He has blessed me. There are no excuses for NOT fulfilling His plans for me. Too many times I come up with excuses as to why I can’t do a particular thing today. I sound like Moses when God hands him His orders to go to Egypt and bring the Israelites back to Mount Sinai. “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” I too am a terrible one for thinking I can’t do something. It takes very little criticism to keep me from any of the, could-be and should-be plans God has for me. Growing up I always felt inadequate and today, when I am faced with criticism, it can paralyze me.
At one point in my life God blessed me with His affirmation that it was time to move on and live. I was asking Him again for peace! This time we were leaving one church home and moving on to another. I had been seeking a new church and in six months, He had given me three. However, I was moaning and feeling guilty and confused and He said to me, “I gave you three churches, Go, pick one and live, fully alive! What a blessing! Just like Jesus said to the women healed of the issue of blood; Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” Mark 5:34. I decided to go and be at peace; to trust that He tells me to be freed from my suffering. I didn’t have to wait as long as this dear women, but I reached out in faith and He has given me peace. There is something peaceful and empowering about doing what God has called you to “go” do. Maybe that is why our Jesus never floundered in His mission. He didn’t have to sit down with the disciples and ask their opinion about all His plans. He never asked, “What do you think?” He knew from whom His great commission came! We must be sure to ask if what the Lord has given us to do is in line with scripture. If it contradicts God’s Word then we need to search our hearts to be sure this work is not coming from ourselves. God will never contradict Himself.
Looking at this passage closer I notice that I must be personally involved in the choice of being freed from my suffering. It sounds like a command. “Go in peace and be freed from my suffering!!” I am the one that keeps the suffering going. Guilt, shame, fear, sin…these keep us in our suffering. God has ordered us to be freed from these. Praise the Lord! You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Ephesians 4:22-24. We must be involved in the process of “putting off the old and putting on the new self. It’s like having a butler that lays out your clothes each day, (if you were so blessed to have such a servant.) God has all these things for us, not clothes for the outside but He has new attitudes, new loves, new passions, new gifts and new talents, new ways of reaching out…for the inside…our character. He has armor for us to be put on daily (Eph. 6:11-18) but we need to be personally involved in taking off the old and putting on the new. We cannot wear both.
In II Kings Elisha tells Namaan to go and wash in the Jordan not once, but seven times to heal His leprosy. Namaan is angry because he had His own ideas of how God would or should heal him. He wanted Elisha to come out, wave His hands over him, call on the name of His God, and cure his leprosy. He also questioned the choice of washing in the Jordan River as opposed to the great rivers of Damascus. 2KI 5:11 Why is it that as soon as we are given opportunities to move forward in an area of our lives we challenge God’s way because we think we have a better plan? God tells us throughout His word to: “Go in Peace”, “Be freed from your suffering.” “Put off the old and put on the new.” Be involved in the process. Work with me here!
We just watched an analogy in Sunday school in a video, again, John Ortburg; The Life You’ve Always Wanted, where he put a fellow in a row boat (again with the boats, ha!) and told him to be totally passive, don’t row, don’t paddle, don’t even blow, (ha!) and see where it got him. They gave the boat one good push and off he went, wherever the current took him. He ended up stuck on the side shore somewhere down stream. I don’t want this to be me. I have to start seeing the ministry the Lord has laid on my heart as something I must do and stop letting other’s thoughts and/or feelings affect my success in tHis purpose for me.
I had to ask myself and now I ask you too; are we willing to do what it takes to live “fully alive” and stop being half dead? If God could call forth a completely, physically dead man to rise and “come forth” and live; He can call someone who is only half alive to “go” forth. We must obey His commands and allow God to rejuvenate us into living our life fully alive; powerfully energized by His Holy Spirit for Him.
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