Jesus Is Better Than Your Plan (Bible Study John 5 part 2)

Today we are diving into part two in a series on a story in John 5

Jesus is in Jerusalem and ends up by a pool near the sheep gate.  It was believed that when the waters were stirred (perhaps a spring occasionally bubbled up there) that the first person in the water would be healed.  Because of this there were many lame, blind, and otherwise ill people laying there.  One such man was paralyzed and had been in that condition for 38 years.

Jesus approaches the man and asks him, “Do you want to get well?”  Last time we looked at some probable reason why Jesus asks this question.  Today I want to look at this man’s response, and ours, to that question.

The man says this, “Sir, I have no one to put me in the pool when it is stirred up.  I start to go there but because of my condition someone gets there before me.”

Here is what is interesting about this answer.  This man has a plan to get well.  He is counting on this plan.  He might need a little help to get there but he doesn’t need a new or different plan.  His plan is the only one that can work.  He’s had 38 years to think about this obviously.  It’s not his first rodeo and I’m sure it’s not his first plan.

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Quit Deciding Alone

A few years ago I was in the midst of a major decision about my future.  I felt like it was time to move.  In the midst of this a job came open on another state.  I went and scoped it out and it was a pretty good situation.  But as good a it looked I just wasn’t sure.  So I brought it to my community.  We all spent time praying about it and I asked for their thoughts.  To a person they all said that they didn’t feel good about it.  Even though it made sense on paper I decided they were right and turned it down.  But we kept praying about it.  A few weeks later my boss called me and asked me to consider another job.  It was a harder scenario but still a lot of upside.  This time everyone was in agreement – take the job.  I took the job and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made personally and professionally.

I share this story because one of the traps of singleness is that too many times we make decisions alone.  One of the advantages to being married (assuming that you are trying to do it right) is that you have someone else in the decision process with you.  You kind of both have to come to agreement in order to move etc.  As a single person you are often on your own.  But it shouldn’t be this way and it doesn’t have to be.

We need community.  We need people that are in it with us.  I think we know this.  It’s important for so many reasons, not the least of which is we are sinful, as already discussed in the Most Sin Happens Alone blog. But in Christian community we kind of get the idea of accountability when it comes to sin.  However I don’t think we really get it when it comes to decision making.

We need counsel.  We need agreement.  In fact I want to go so far to say that we don’t really have community until we are making decisions together.  As long as I’m going to do decide alone regardless of what everyone else says then I’m not really in community. Accountability and community don’t happen without submission.  Making every decision on my own destroys community.

I don’t care how big the decision is, one of the first things to ask is, who is in agreement with this?  This of course has many benefits.  When I first took the new job it was a total mess.  But I knew that it was right because we had all agreed.  I mean I guess we could all be wrong but it’s a lot less likely.  This is why Jesus says,  “if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”

The idea is that I need more than just myself listening to God.  I’m emotionally involved and it’s hard to hear clearly.  I need a team, a Justin team, to help me.  And when we are single this is just plain huge.  Think about this.  Who is your counsel?  Who if they told you no would you listen to? Have you ever decided no because everyone told you no?

This is actually really important to have even when you are married but at least then two of you have to agree.  Who knows everything about you?  Who knows your whole story, hopes, fears and all?  Who knows your finances and where you spend your money?  I know small groups that would talk about every sin but would never put their finances on the table.  This becomes extremely important in crisis.  Making decisions alone in crisis is a terrible idea but we do it all the time.

I get that this is hard.  It’s hard to find people who will be in with you at this level.  It’s hard because it takes humility and submission.  It’s just hard period.  But without it we are alone.  And even if we are called to be single, we are not called to be alone.