Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Cure for “I Disease”

I was at the gym, ready for my workout… when an elderly man asked if I would work out on the machine next to him so that he might have someone to talk to.

“Sorry,” I explained… “I’m going to hit the equipment on the other side of the gym.”

Besides, I thought to myself… I have my Tammy Trent music that I want to listen to while burning those calories.  I’m not interested in listeing to this old guy chatter on about whatever topics that I could care less about!

Later – stopping for some post-workout fuel, there was a guy sitting under a tree. He asked if I could help him obtain food and addressed me as “brother.”  I let my hypoglycemic attitude get the best of me as I went inside to gnosh upon some Peruvian chicken.

Once the food got into my body and my levels started to normalize… I regained enough sensitivity to the Holy Spirit to realize how selfish I had been behaving towards those two individuals.  The Lord spoke and told me that I had “I Disease.” No, not “eye disease” but rather a spiritual sickness in which I had a singular focus on what I wanted and what made me feel good… and not upon the needs of those others.
He left Judea and returned to Galilee. It was necessary for Him to go through Samaria. And in doing so, He arrived at a Samaritan town called Sychar, near the tract of land that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. And Jacob’s well was there. So Jesus, tired as He was from His journey, sat down [to rest] by the well. It was then about the sixth hour (about noon).
John 4:3-6 [AMP]
In this passage of scripture, we see Jesus making a long journey. Notice these two things about the Lord in this passage:
  1. He has an objective... to return to Galilee
  2. He has an obstacle... being both tired and hungry
As God in the flesh, Jesus was subject to the same weaknesses that we are. The exception, however, is that Jesus never sinned (never missed the mark of perfection). He never stopped being Who He is... He is love (1 John 4:8 amd 1 John 4:16).  His great love circumvented His tiredness. It overcame his physical hunger. It empowered Him to stop everything and to do what we see in the next passage of scripture:
Presently, when a woman of Samaria came along to draw water, Jesus said to her, Give Me a drink-- For His disciples had gone off into the town to buy food--
John 4:7-8 [AMP]
Wait a minute? Are you telling me that it was the love of Jesus that compelled Him to ask a woman for a drink of water. Quenching His thirst (while waiting for the disciples to return with His lunch) was an act of love?

Of course, on the surface level, it might appear so. I recall R.W. Schambach preaching about Elijah asking a woman to feed him even though she was suffering from poverty during what we might call an economic recession (1 Kings 17:8-12). Brother Schambach said, “Ain’t that just like a preacher... asking for something when you can barely make ends meet on your own?”

But, as we will soon see, Jesus had a purpose in asking this woman a most basic request... please give me a drink of water.
The Samaritan woman said to Him, How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me, a Samaritan [and a] woman, for a drink?--For the Jews have nothing to do with the Samaritans--
John 4:9 [AMP]
Being omniscient, Jesus certainly knew how this interchange would play out. Jesus asked for water... but the woman challenged Him on two fronts:
  1. Jews and Samaritans did not relate to each other... kind of like White and Black people in the Jim Crow South
  2. Men generally did not address a woman that they did not know in the custom of that culture
Yet, Jesus did not respond directly to her on those issues. Instead:
Jesus answered her, If you had only known and had recognized God’s gift and Who this is that is saying to you, Give Me a drink, you would have asked Him [instead] and He would have given you living water.
John 4:10 [AMP]
We now can see that Jesus’ objective in asking for natural water was to inform this woman about spiritual water.  His request was like an ice breaker or a door opener... just a conversation starter that would lead this woman to the true subject that He wante to discuss with her.  Jesus wanted to offer salvation to this wayward woman.

Wait... why is she wayward? Because she spoke to Him in that way? Well... let’s move forward in the scriptural narrative:
She said to Him, Sir, You have nothing to draw with [no drawing bucket] and the well is deep; how then can You provide living water? [Where do You get Your living water?] Are You greater than and superior to our ancestor Jacob, who gave us this well and who used to drink from it himself, and his sons and his cattle also? Jesus answered her, All who drink of this water will be thirsty again. But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give him shall never, no never, be thirsty any more. But the water that I will give him shall become a spring of water welling up (flowing, bubbling) [continually] within him unto (into, for) eternal life. The woman said to Him, Sir, give me this water, so that I may never get thirsty nor have to come [continually all the way] here to draw. At this, Jesus said to her, Go, call your husband and come back here. The woman answered, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You have spoken truly in saying, I have no husband. For you have had five husbands, and the man you are now living with is not your husband. In this you have spoken truly.
John 4:11-18 [AMP]
We now know something about this woman... that she had five husbands in the past and is now “shacking up” with a man (maybe single?  maybe married?) that she is not herself married to.  We could conjecture that this woman had issues with staying in a committed relationship. Perhaps she bypassed the stable men and chose the exciting guys who would mistreat and eventually leave her? 

Or... perhaps the men she married were okay but her behavior drove them away?  I had a neighbor who seemed so sweet and nice... and her ex-husband seemed a caring guy who was very kind and loving with their daughter.  I wondered why the couple ever divorced?  Later... we would hear lots of noise coming through the shared wall of our houses where she would get into these screaming and crying tantrums with her boyfriend.  Yikes!  Was this what the woman at the well did to cause her five husbands to leave?
Or... was it a case of Arsenic and Old Lace where she killed those men?
Who knows?

Regardless of what happened with her past relationships... this woman was now shacking with number six.  Certainly this woman needed something more than a drink of water. She needed to be born again. She herself may have began to realize this as her conversation changed from ethnicity and gender to the soul and spirit.
The woman said to Him, Sir, I see and understand that You are a prophet. Our forefathers worshiped on this mountain, but you [Jews] say that Jerusalem is the place where it is necessary and proper to worship. Jesus said to her, Woman, believe Me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither [merely] in this mountain nor [merely] in Jerusalem. You [Samaritans] do not know what you are worshiping [you worship what you do not comprehend]. We do know what we are worshiping [we worship what we have knowledge of and understand], for [after all] salvation comes from [among] the Jews. A time will come, however, indeed it is already here, when the true (genuine) worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth (reality); for the Father is seeking just such people as these as His worshipers. God is a Spirit (a spiritual Being) and those who worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (reality). The woman said to Him, I know that Messiah is coming, He Who is called the Christ (the Anointed One); and when He arrives, He will tell us everything we need to know and make it clear to us. Jesus said to her, I Who now speak with you am He.
John 4:19-26 [AMP]
Whoa! This woman was receiving some great spiritual teaching. Her misconceptions about how and where to worship God were shattered and the truth from The Truth was being poured into her very being. What a great bleassing for someone who might not be accepted by most churchgoers because of the lifestyle that she lived. But God has not called us to be Judge Mental (see our blog on being judgmental -- 50% Judge and 50% Mental).

Surely Jesus, while ministering to this woman, Jesus’ hunger and thirst and tiredness had not abated. We see in the next verse that the disciples had returned with the Lord’s lunch. Perhaps Jesus could smell His grilled fish sandwich getting cold and His fries getting soggy. Okay, so maybe they didn’t have fries back in those days. But still, could the Lord have been so concerned about this woman’s salvation that he totally ignored those things?
Just then His disciples came and they wondered (were surprised, astonished) to find Him talking with a woman [a married woman]. However, not one of them asked Him, What are You inquiring about? or What do You want? or, Why do You speak with her? Then the woman left her water jar and went away to the town. And she began telling the people, Come, see a Man Who has told me everything that I ever did! Can this be [is not this] the Christ? [Must not this be the Messiah, the Anointed One?] So the people left the town and set out to go to Him. Meanwhile, the disciples urged Him saying, Rabbi, eat something. But He assured them, I have food (nourishment) to eat of which you know nothing and have no idea. So the disciples said one to another, Has someone brought Him something to eat? Jesus said to them, My food (nourishment) is to do the will (pleasure) of Him Who sent Me and to accomplish and completely finish His work.
John 4:27-34 [AMP]
Jesus did not care about meeting His physical needs for rest and nourishment. His satisfaction came from doing the will of God.

I felt guilty over my selfish behavior... yet, I was conforted by God’s promise of forgiveness:
If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just (true to His own nature and promises) and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness [everything not in conformity to His will in purpose, thought, and action].
1 John 1:9 [AMP]
I made the commitment that very hour to walk in God’s love. Perhaps you might feel inspired to do the same?
Following are some meditiations from Judypie that have helped me significantly... and I believe they will help you too:

Imitators of God

Father, we have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so we will walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him, established in the faith and joyfully abounding in it. Love is our foundation, and we pray that Christ will be at home in us. May we be rooted and grounded in love, able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height -- to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge, that we may be filled with all the fullness of God, and walk as Jesus walked in love, in harmony and unity with one another. Amen.

Scripture Meditation (hold your mouse over the following verses):
  • Colossians 2:6-7
  • Ephesians 3:17-19


Lord, cleanse me from all impurities and put a new heart and a new spirit within me. Remove my heart of stone and give me a heart of flesh that will be sensitive and compassionate to the needs of others. In Jesus’ name, help me to see others as you see them and to hear and answer their cries just as you would. Today, I will look for opportunities to bless others. Amen.

Scripture Meditation (hold your mouse over the following verses):
  • Ezekiel 36:25-28
  • Proverbs 3:27

Free to Love

God’s love is unconditional, and Jesus commanded us to love one another even as He loved us. This kind of love is defined in 1 Corinthians 13. Developing the God-kind of love enables you to put away childish self-protection techniques; denial, emotional isolation and other walls of self-protection. They served a purpose when you were a child, but now that you are an adult you can put away those self-imposed walls which are rooted in fear, and risk loving others allowing them to know you for who you are. You can try to love as you are commanded but discover the secret to loving others. Every day that you live love the Lord your God with your entire being – all that you are – your spirit, soul (mind, will and emotions) and body. Then you can love others even as you love yourself.

Teach Me to Love

Holy Spirit teach me to love the Lord my God with all my passion and prayer and intelligence…. And give me the grace to love others as well as I love myself. I accept and love myself—Your workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works. I release Your love that is shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit toward my family, friends and enemies. I will not return evil for evil, but will let my enemies bring out the best in me, not the worst. When someone gives me a hard time, I will respond with the energies of prayer. Father, I love You because You first loved me. In Jesus name. Amen

Scripture Meditation (hold your mouse over the following verses):
  • Matthew 22:37-39
  • Ephesians 2:10
  • Matthew 5:44
  • 1 John 4:19

Filled With Love

Father, I pray that I may be filled with the love of God. You are able to do immeasurably more than all I ask or imagine, according to your power that is at work within me. To you goes all the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

Scripture Meditation (hold your mouse over the following scripture reference):
  • Ephesians 3:19-21

Love Surpassing Knowledge

Jesus prayed that we would remain united in our love for one another. The first part of the commandment that Jesus left us is to love the Lord our God with our entire being. And the second is that we would love our neighbor as ourselves. Is it possible to love God but not love others? It seems that some Christians think so, but if we want our prayers answered we must love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and strength and learn to walk in love others as we love ourselves. The world will know that God loves them as much as He loves Jesus if we show love one to the other. You are born of God; you are born of Love because God is Love.

Father, in the name of Jesus, I pray that Christ will dwell in my heart through faith. Also, I pray that I, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Amen

Scripture Meditation (hold your mouse over the following scripture reference):
  • Ephesians 3:17-19

His Yoke is Easy

Father, I have fixed my eyes upon You as the Author and Finisher of my faith. I am running the race with excellence, ever learning, ever growing and ever achieving. Reveal those things that encumber my race and give me the power to uproot and remove anything that binds me to past failures. In the name of Jesus, I accept your yoke, which is easy, and I accept your burden, which is light. With the help of the Holy Spirit, I will do mighty acts of valor! Amen

Scripture Meditation (hold your mouse over the following verses):
  • Matthew 11:28-30
  • Hebrews 12:1-2
  • Psalm 108:13

No comments: