How is your spiritual health?
If you were ill enough to go to the doctor and the doctor prescribed a medicine with limited side effects that would make you well, would you take it? Of course you would because you want to get well! In John 5, Jesus asks a man who had been disabled for 38 years a life-changing question, “Do you want to get well” (John 5:6). The man had been laying on a mat by a pool of water near the temple in Jerusalem called the Pool of Bethesda because he believed that the water in that pool could heal him, if he could just get in at the right time. He was putting all his hope in what he thought might heal him… the water in that pool.
The truth is, this man was not only in need of physical healing; he was in need of spiritual healing too. In fact, we all are. In this encounter, which will be the third sign or miracle Jesus performs in John’s Gospel, Jesus offers us a prescription for spiritual wellness… five steps to get spiritually well.
Step 1 - Take responsibility for your spiritual wellness. (John 5:7)
This man couldn't get down into the water that he thought might heal him because someone always got in front of him and no one would help him get in. The reality is that no one is going to take responsibility for your spiritual wellness either. That’s up to you! In fact, there will be plenty of folks who may get in your way or pull you in the wrong direction. There will be plenty of temptations too! If you are going to be spiritually well, you’ve got to take responsibility for that; don’t expect anyone else too.
Step 2 - Believe that Jesus cares deeply about you and what you are going through. (John 5:8)
There is no doubt that Jesus cared about this man and his plight. When the opportunity came, Jesus didn’t hesitate to offer this man what he and everyone else knew he desperately needed - physical healing! Jesus cares about you too. In fact, He loves you dearly. He cares about you and what you’re going through. Maybe you aren’t very well these days… maybe you’re experiencing some relational woes or financial challenges or physical ailments or emotional heartache. No doubt that all of us find ourselves in seasons like that in life… seasons when we just aren’t doing well.
18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit. Psalm 34:18
No matter what you are going through today… no matter how unwell you are. You can trust that God cares deeply about you and what you are going through. He is willing to offer you the wellness no one else can or will.
Step 3 - Know that faith in anything other than Jesus is misplaced and will leave you unfulfilled. (John 5:9-13)
It wasn’t magic water that provided healing for this man; it was Jesus! For years, this man, and everyone else at that pool, believed that their wellness would come from some superstition or folklore tied to the water in this pool. But that water didn't have the power to make this man well; that power came from Jesus alone. The religious leaders watching all this take place believed their spiritual wellness was tied to following the many religious rituals and rules they had created. But Jesus wanted them to see that wasn’t true either.
The truth is that people can search for fulfillment in life in all kinds of places in life… career, possessions, accolades, people, and even social media. But any of those will ultimately leave us empty and unfulfilled. Faith in Jesus is the only way to find salvation and spiritual wellness in life!
Step 4 - Flee from the sin that can lead to devastating consequences. (John 5:14)
When Jesus met this man at the temple later that day, He revealed that the man’s need for physical healing was secondary to his need for spiritual healing. Sin can lead to devastating consequences, far worse than being physically disabled for 38 years. The worst thing that could happen to any of us is to be relegated to an eternity separated from God. The Bible calls that place hell. There would be nothing worse than that.
Jesus tells this man to “stop sinning.” Should’t that be the goal of all who believe? If you’re a committed Christ-follower, isn’t that a goal for you? (1 Peter 1:16; 1 John 3:9). None of us is perfect, but we can strive to live a life that honors Christ in every way.
Step 5 - Surrender your life to Jesus as Savior and Lord!
If you haven’t surrendered your life to Jesus, then do that today! You can’t be spiritually well until you admit your sin and invite Jesus to save you from the sin that plagues you and keeps you far from God. Commit to fully follow Christ in every area of your life!
For much more, listen to: Light in the Darkness: Part 5 - Steps to Spiritual Wellness.