I love the story of Jesus healing the crippled woman! In case you’re unfamiliar, the story is recorded in Luke 13:10-17. Jesus was teaching in one of the local synagogues and saw a woman in the congregation who was crippled. She had been crippled by “a spirit” for eighteen years. Wow! That’s a long time to be crippled. Bent over, she was unable to stand tall and straight. Jesus spotted her in the crowd, called her forward, and set her free. When He placed His hands on her she immediately straightened up and began praising God.
I think there are a few lessons for you and me in this story. It’s easy to adopt attitudes or actions that leave us crippled. It might be an attitude of inferiority that makes us lean towards anything that might fill our need for significance. It might be an attitude of bitterness that makes us lean toward getting even with the person who hurt us. It might be an attitude of emotional neediness that makes us lean towards who ever will fill our love needs.
Honestly, all of us want to feel loved, appreciated, and significant. So we bend:
- Some of us bend towards our husbands or boyfriends, groping for more love and attention than they can give.
- Some of us bend towards our kids, hoping they can fill that need in us to feel worthwhile.
- Some of us bend towards our friends, placing greater expectations on them than they can fill.
- Some of us bend towards our careers, becoming more and more obsessed with success.
- Some of us bend towards material things, hoping that if we just fill our homes with the right stuff our lives will feel more fulfilled.
But here’s the thing:
Whatever consumes you other than Jesus leaves you crippled.
Unfortunately, our crippled state quickly becomes the norm and prevents us from becoming all that God created us to be. After a while, it may feel impossible to move beyond our paralysis and live confidently as one who has been made whole.
The answer is to become consumed with Jesus. That might feel very ethereal to you. You might wonder, how? In the middle of balancing family, friends, work, school, and other commitments, how does one become obsessed with Jesus? Here are a few ideas:
- Set your focus on Jesus every day. Before you get out of bed each morning, whisper a prayer that goes something like this: Lord Jesus, I want to be consumed with you today. As I move throughout my day, help me to remember to focus on your love and acceptance. When I am tempted to worry excessively about what other people are thinking, remind me that your opinion is the one that counts. When I feel tempted to strive towards more significance, remind me that I can hold no greater significance than being your child.
- Praise Jesus often through out the day. Developing an attitude of gratitude will help you stay focused on the Giver of the gifts rather than the gifts themselves. In addition, an attitude of gratitude has been proven to make you a more positive, resilient person in every life situation. Praising God can only draw you closer to Him, so why not give it a try?
- Remind yourself that your true identity is rooted in Jesus. Whatever cripples you is whatever you’re trying to draw your identity from. Instead, remind yourself often that your identity is “a beloved child of God.” No earthly opinion of you and nothing you accomplish can compare to that. Once you have truly internalized that truth, you can stand up tall and hold your head up high.
Here’s a question for you to consider: What attitude or action tends to cripple you the most?