Stand up Straight

Standing up Straight

July 23, 2017 • Joshua Olutoye

Standing UP Straight JESUS was on his last journey up to Jerusalem. On the Sabbath day he attended the service in a local synagogue, but we do not know the name of the place. Some say he was still in Galilee, and others that he had crossed into Peraea, but we do not know for certain where he was. We do know, however, that this was the last occasion on which he was allowed to enter and to teach in a synagogue. As he was teaching, Jesus noticed in the women's section of the congregation, a woman with a spinal deformity, and he called her to him and healed her (Luke 13: 10-17). Jesus was teaching in a synagogue on the Sabbath. Jesus saw a woman who had been "crippled by a spirit for eighteen years." She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. He called to the woman, said "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity, then laid his hands on her body, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. The synagogue ruler, the defender of the Sabbath, was indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath. Rather than confront Jesus, he rebuked the woman publicly by saying to the whole congregation, "There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath." In response, Jesus said, "You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her? This is the only reference in New Testament to "a daughter of Abraham." They conclude that Jesus spoke of this woman as though she belonged to the family of Abraham just as much as did the sons of Abraham. Most of us are like that woman. We cannot stand up straight. We are crippled physically and spiritually. People around us even those ones we trust want us to remain crippled. Just like the Jews do not want the woman to be healed prioritising observance of Sabbath over deliverance. How many Sabbath do we have in 18 years? Roughly 900! 900 times 18. About 5400 days of work. How come this woman has not been healed? I am sure this is one is not her first time of coming to synagogue on Sabbath. Why has she not been invited to come during the work days for her healing if the observance of the Sabbath is so paramount? Why we cannot stand straight? We cannot stand straight because we are crippled. Maybe you’re not crippled physically, but emotionally or spiritually you feel paralyzed. Fear, shame, self-doubt, pride, envy, worry, or insecurity all can handicap the child of God. Unfortunately, our crippled state quickly becomes the norm, preventing us from becoming all that God created us to be. Our crippled state prevents us from standing straight. After a while, it may feel impossible to move beyond our paralysis and live confidently as one who has been made whole. The good news contained in Luke 13:11–13 is that hope and freedom are possible! Just as Jesus called the woman forward in this story (Luke 13:12), He invites us to come to Him for healing. But, before we can receive His healing, we need to acknowledge our deformities. So how do we figure out what’s holding us back? A good starting place is to pray like the Psalmist David, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me” (Psalm 139:23–24). Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you anything that is hindering your walk with God. Then ask yourself, “What am I bending toward?” What is your utmost priority? What is your utmost desire? Often the thing we feel we lack becomes the magnet toward which we bend. We might bow toward people who we believe will love us enough to heal our inner wounds. Or we might twist ourselves in knots groping for the next achievement. We might stoop in the shadows trying to hide because we are crippled by shame. As the Holy Spirit reveals to us our crippling culprits, we must bring each individual area forward and ask for His healing touch. As we allow the Jesus to touch every area of our lives, He is faithful to free us and make us whole. Only then can we rise up and move forward in our journey with God to become the people or individual He intended. For Your Reflection Do you know the ultimate will of God is for you to stand straight? God wants you to stand up straight and realize who you are. You do not know your potential in the Lord until you stand straight. God wants you stand straight so as for you to tower over your situation and circumstances. Proverb 18:10 the name of the Lord is a strong tower What are some emotions that cripple you and prevent you from soaring in God’s kingdom? Hatred, Lust, Adultery, Fornication, Disobedience, Jealousy, Fear, shame, self-doubt, pride, envy, worry, or insecurity. What is it in your life that is contending with the will of God for your life? What is preventing you from walking with the Lord? Do you want to remain crippled by these forever? Stand up straight and walk with the Lord. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me” (Psalm 139:23–24) Today is the day of reckoning. I cannot go on like this any longer.