Following Jesus Part 2

by Rhonda, May 06, 2022

Luke 8:43-48  And there was a woman who had had a discharge of blood for twelve years, and though she had spent all her living on physicians,[a] she could not be healed by anyone. 44 She came up behind him and touched the fringe of his garment, and immediately her discharge of blood ceased. 45 And Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter[b] said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” 46 But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” 47 And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. 48 And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.”

In Following Jesus Part 1, we talked about the importance of seeking Jesus.  There's really no better example of someone seeking Jesus than the woman in Luke Chapter 8.  Isn't is fascinating how Jesus is in tune with someone seeking Him so fervently?  In a crowd of people, He stopped everything He was doing to pay attention to her.  God is extremely aware and focused on anyone seeking Him in total faith.  He's also incredibly graceful to those seeking Him.

Following Jesus healed this woman.  Often, when we think about following Jesus, we consider what we have to give up in order to follow Him.  We can no longer enjoy our sinful lifestyles in the same way.  Our anger can't be spewed anytime we feel like it.  We might have to remove bad influences from our life.  We think we need to sacrifice to please Jesus and we look at what we have to give up to become a follower.  But, we are the ones who benefit from following Jesus.  Much like the woman who bled for twelve years, we are also healed when we follow Jesus.

Unfortunately, we as humans tend to be followers.  If we aren't following Jesus, we're following something.  When Moses left for Mount Sinai, the Israelites began worshipping a golden calf.  While we may not be bowing down to a golden calf, we're likely following something else that's leading us astray.  Why would we follow anything other than love and healing?  Instead, we choose fortune, fame, selfish ambition, addictions, and ego.  We choose things that lead us into bondage.  The only source of true freedom is following Jesus.  His goal is to heal His followers.

Shortly after my husband and I separated, I made a commitment to follow Jesus like I'd never followed Him before.  I truly didn't understand that by doing this, He would heal me.  I thought I'd heal myself.  I thought if I spent time in devotions, and if I did all of the right things by following Him, I would heal myself through my discipline and good works.  Why not?  I would relieve some of my pain and feel better about myself in the process.  As long as I kept a schedule of devotions, prayer time, and religious commitments, everything would be okay..

The problem was it seemed impossible to remain consistent.  When the realization finally came to me that Jesus was the one doing the healing, the pressure was off of me.  I didn't have to keep a rigorous schedule to feel better, then apologize profusely when I fell short.  I was interested in pain relief after my divorce.  But, God was interested in healing, and as usual, He was seeing the bigger picture.  

He was interested in freeing me from shackles that had been carried around for many years.  He didn't stop with the divorce.  He wanted to heal me from self focus, approval addiction, eating disorders, and many other things.  He asked me to bring my life and my decisions in line with my beliefs.  Bringing my life under His authority (not mine) brings peace and fulfillment - both to me as well as those around me.

It may seem like common sense, but it was a surprise to me that He didn't ask me to spend more time in church.  He told me You've found your place with me.  Now, I want you to find your freedom.  Let's truly bring your life under My authority.  I had always felt like I was following Jesus, but I had yet to find my freedom.  He didn't ask me to do more, He asked me to make different decisions.  My head was full of knowledge.  I didn't need any further study time.  Instead, He asked me to stay in my same everyday life, but live it differently.

So this is what it means to follow you? I asked Him.  One day at a time, one decision at a time? Just let you lead?  It seemed so easy, and I went to sleep that night with peace, resolving to try it the next day.  

The next day came.  

Let me tell you, I was so surprised by how often I was led daily by my emotions.  I knew the right things to do, but rarely chose to do it.  When God asked me to bring my life under His authority, it wasn't a small tweak.  I was going to have to make major changes, and the sheer amount of times I was falling short on a daily basis was overwhelming to me.  That night, as I poured out my heart to him in tears, He reminded me there were a few times that day I was successful.  I made a few, just a few, decisions where I allowed Him to lead.  This was progress.  He prompted me to write them down, so I did.  

The next day I tried to repeat the few successes I had the day before.  Feeling like a failure at the end of the day, I wrote down my meager successes in my journal.  I tried again the next day.  The next day, I gave up.  Then, the next day I decided I would try again.  And so on.    

I am still such a work in progress, learning how to follow Jesus and truly allow Him to lead in my life.  Every month that passes, I continue to make progress, but I still have my days of complete failure.  However, through this process of working to live my life differently, something crazy has happened.  

I've experienced healing.  Not a little bit of healing, mind you.  I've experienced some of the greatest growth and peace of my life.

How is that possible when I'm such a mess?  I am constantly screwing up.  I lack consistency.  I lack discipline.  Sometimes I completely fall off the wagon and go off the deep end.  Yet, in the midst of it, miraculously I've developed a heart that is continually seeking to follow Jesus.  Not a schedule.

This mess is becoming a healed, whole woman like never before.  I don't even know how its possible.  But, when I look back at my writings, I am starting to see more consistency.  I'm starting to see more discipline.  The devil constantly reminds me of my failures, but these things I've written down say otherwise.  Now, I am starting to look forward to recording my successes.  I'm proud of myself and what I've accomplished.  I am not so focused on the failures anymore.  I'm being healed, and I can guarantee you I wasn't the one who did it.

He is so faithful.  He is so gracious.  Following Him is the greatest thing I've ever done, or will ever do.  

I'm so grateful He takes the time to deal with this work in progress.

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