In John 5 we read the account of the man who was healed of his infirmity that had plagued his life for thirty eight years. He was found among a multitude of disabled and sick people hoping for a miracle of healing, by the pool of Bethesda in Jerusalem. As Jesus passed by, knowing the man had suffered many years, he began a conversation with him. Jesus spoke a creative word to him, “Rise, take up your bed, and walk”, John 5:8. Immediately the man was healed, he got up, picked up his mat and walked!
Hebrews 4:12 declares “The word of God is quick, and powerful and sharper than any two edged sword…….”. When the Lord speaks, creation takes place. When Jesus spoke, immediately the man was healed and he responded immediately in obedience to the Lord’s words. He had an encounter with Jesus and experienced that inner witness to truth. He knew that something had happened. He experienced a quickening in his physical body and responded in obedience to Jesus’ words. He had to take his bed with him, the mat he lay there on, because he did not belong in that place any more. Jesus instructed him to take his bed with him because he had nothing to go back to there. It was time to move on. Creation had made him whole and he had new horizons to discover.
We, too, can have an encounter with the Lord Jesus. It may not involve a physical healing, (though it may), but He may come and speak those same words to us metaphorically, “Rise, take up your bed and walk”. In other words: It’s time to move on from the place you are in, whether it be new direction or a change in heart attitude. When God speaks and we know we have had an encounter with Him, by that inner witness to truth, He requires an immediate response in obedience. Don’t procrastinate and miss your God opportunity to move on. Don’t settle for second best and the right to yourself when God offers you His “much more”.
Ephesians 3:20 “Now unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us”.
When Jesus called the disciples to follow Him, scripture records their immediate response to Him. It says of Peter and Andrew, (Matthew 4:20) they responded “straight away”. The brothers James and John “immediately left the ship and their father and followed Him”, (Matthew 4:22).
The disciples had a literal physical encounter with Jesus when He spoke to them, and they responded. Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us, witness to truth and teach us all things. He often speaks to us by an impression, a still small Voice, a quickening of His written word in scripture, through an experience, by others, through others. God can use anything to speak to us. As we obey, we will learn to recognise His Voice more and more. In the beginning we may make mistakes, but if we obey “as unto the Lord”, God sees our heart and they become learning curves under His loving hand of tuition. When we know we have had an encounter with the Lord, He requires an immediate response. As we respond, His Voice will become clearer. We learn little by little, line upon line. Experience can be a great teacher, but don’t trust in it, because the Spirit of God can encourage us beyond our experience, in order that we may trust God more and more, and not ourselves.
Jesus, our Pattern Man, demonstrated how He heard His Father’s Voice and obeyed. He heard clearly because His own will and life was completely surrendered. He came to do the Father’s will. It was all God’s plan. We don’t start at the top wrung of the ladder. We begin at the bottom and work upwards. The Lord will often orchestrate circumstances in order for us to choose His will because we don’t hear clearly. We call this “guidance by circumstances”, but we still have to choose. As we obey the guidance, God’s will becomes clearer and the will of God fulfils itself, I just need to get in line and get in the flow of provision in it. Don’t fight God……here we prove it is detrimental to our spiritual, mental and physical well being!
God speaks to us through His Holy Spirit. Philippians 4:7 “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”. The peace of God is the directional indicator that we are moving in His will. James 1:8 declares “A double minded man is unstable in all His ways”. If I am tossed, unsure what to do, my directional indicator, God’s peace, is disturbed within me. I need to get before the Lord for clear guidance and not attempt to push through closed doors. “Seek and you shall find, ask and it will be given….” Step aside to listen for the still, small Voice of direction.
Nehemiah 8:10 “The joy of the Lord is my strength”, ……God’s provision of His strength in me to take me through my daily circumstances, trials and joys. We can have an encounter with Him every day, in the ordinary, in the supernatural. He is with us, Jesus our Emmanuel, our ever present help, our dependable Love. Listen for the whispers of Jesus.
Stay expectant and you will find an encounter with the Master……maybe where and when you least imagined, but stay expectant and when you hear His call…….obey!