What affect is your life having on the world around you? Are you criticizing and complaining about the people, situations and issues? Or are you contributing to solutions and hope? Are you choking back life and promise, or releasing Heaven’s breath through all you say and do?
"Then he went back in the meeting place where he found a man with a crippled hand. The Pharisees had their eyes on Jesus to see if he would heal him, hoping to catch him in a Sabbath infraction. He said to the man with the crippled hand, "Stand here where we can see you."
Then he spoke to the people: "What kind of action suits the Sabbath best? Doing good or doing evil? Helping people or leaving them helpless?" No one said a word.
He looked them in the eye, one after another, angry now, furious at their hard-nosed religion. He said to the man, "Hold out your hand." He held it out—it was as good as new! The Pharisees got out as fast as they could, sputtering about how they would join forces with Herod's followers and ruin him." - Mark 3:1-6
Looking from the outside in, it seems so unbelievable how the religious prioritize law above life. In this instance, the Pharisees were hovering – just watching and waiting for Jesus to 'stumble' over their limited perceptions regarding the Kingdom of God. Come on! This was an absolutely irrefutable and beautiful miracle! And transformed the recipient in every way. Not only was his disfigurement cured, but because of Jesus stepping out in grace, his quality of life was significantly improved, identity adjusted, outlook enhanced, and faith validated. The impact of this miracle would even have extended beyond his own heart and life, to his family and community…
So what then was their problem? Why were the Pharisees so resistant to an apparent move of God?
It is important to recognize they weren't misled by an overt lie from the enemy. Rather, their objective was tainted by the subtleties of religion. They were tripped into deception by what seemed right to them at the time.
They were influenced by the way they had always done things. Driven by the letter of the law, they subsequently lacked the power of the breath of God.
How often are you and I the same? In what ways can we be inhibited by our narrow understanding or vanity?
When we are suspicious of fresh revelation, new strategies, unique people, or different styles of ministry, in order to preserve yesterday's opinions and our comfort zones, we can inadvertently perpetuate stagnation and death. The situation is controlled and contained, rather than rejuvenated and developed. Instead, we need to search into the heart of a matter to dispense joy, blessing and hope.
Sometimes we can find ourselves standing on the sidelines of other people’s lives – criticizing, demanding, and accusing. We think we are doing the correct thing, but in actuality, we are motivated by fear and pride. Mistakenly, we dig in our old ways, highlight our rule books, perhaps even quote scripture – yet we are deprived of Heaven's breath!
The dazzling truth is that we were designed to shine light within the darkness and emit calm into chaos. How remarkable! Amongst mess and controversy, our role is to breathe life and find a way of contribution.
Whether in your family, high school campus or work place, you are an instrument of Heaven, strategically positioned to repair broken down places and minister restoration, healing and strength. You are designed to be a fresh wellspring of love and grace… And sometimes this requires courage to address heart attitudes where you might be feeling threatened or scared. It also demands faith to move out beyond the ordinary.
Please note how provocative Jesus was in the midst of this sensitive situation. He doesn’t bow to the persuasion of tradition, but heads straight into the fray with compassion and power! Jesus' focus is redemption. Despite the risk to Himself, and an awkward confrontation with His antagonizers, a person's life is substantially recovered. His own reputation is not of concern. The man's wholeness is His desire.
So then, how do you and I surpass religion operating in our lives? How do we know if we are transcending the response of the Pharisees, or just lodged in the past?
We begin by encountering the Lord each and every day. We soak in His Presence, glean from His Word and consistently surrender our hearts to Him. When we are delighting in HIS truth and peace, this is what naturally flows through our lives onto others.
Today, while you are going about your routine, focus on keeping your heart and eyes open for opportunities to bless and add. Be love. Unveil the good. Choose grace and mercy. And be intentional in carrying and releasing Heaven’s refreshing.