Choosing to Heal
This is the next sermon in our current series, “Scars: The Art of Healing”
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Choosing to Heal – part one
We are in a series called, “Scars: The Art of Healing”. Before we jump in let me, once again, define wounds and scars. Wounds are injuries that are unhealed. Scars are created from healed wounds. Our goal in this series is to allow God to turn our wounds into scars. I have a question for you. Are you ready to be healed? Do you want to be healed?
Jesus asked that question in John 5:6, “When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
To help us answer that question I want to look at the journey of God’s people from captivity in Egypt to the Promised Land and the principles we can learn for our own journey. You know the story of Moses leading the people out of slavery in Egypt. So, I want to pick it up in Numbers 13. Moses sent out 12 leaders to explore the Promised Land.
Numbers 13:26-14:10, “They came back to Moses and Aaron and the whole Israelite community at Kadesh in the Desert of Paran. There they reported to them and to the whole assembly and showed them the fruit of the land. 27 They gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. 28 But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We even saw descendants of Anak there. 29 The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan.” 30 Then Caleb silenced the people before Moses and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” 31 But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” 32 And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. 33 We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.” That night all the members of the community raised their voices and wept aloud. 2 All the Israelites grumbled against Moses and Aaron, and the whole assembly said to them, “If only we had died in Egypt! Or in this wilderness!
3 Why is the Lord bringing us to this land only to let us fall by the sword? Our wives and children will be taken as plunder. Wouldn’t it be better for us to go back to Egypt?” 4 And they said to each other, “We should choose a leader and go back to Egypt.” 5 Then Moses and Aaron fell face down in front of the whole Israelite assembly gathered there. 6 Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, who were among those who had explored the land, tore their clothes 7 and said to the entire Israelite assembly, “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. 8 If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us. 9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not be afraid of the people of the land, because we will devour them. Their protection is gone, but the Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them.” 10 But the whole assembly talked about stoning them. Then the glory of the Lord appeared at the tent of meeting to all the Israelites.
Verses 20-23 continue, “The Lord replied, “I have forgiven them, as you asked. Nevertheless, as surely as I live and as surely as the glory of the Lord fills the whole earth, not one of those who saw my glory and the signs I performed in Egypt and in the wilderness but who disobeyed me and tested me ten times— not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their ancestors. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.”
Then we jump to verses 28-29, “So tell them, ‘As surely as I live, declares the Lord, I will do to you the very thing I heard you say: In this wilderness your bodies will fall—every one of you twenty years old or more who was counted in the census and who has grumbled against me.”
The FIRST principle we can learn from their journey is…If we’re going to turn our wounds into scars, we need to Follow God’s Call.
So many people have resigned themselves to die in their woundedness rather than choose the path of spiritual and emotional health. Look at the people of Israel. They would rather die in the desert than fulfill God’s purpose for their lives and live in the Promised Land. We all have a choice. To live out God’s plan or to stay where we are and waist away in the desert.
Jesus asked, “Do you want to get well?” In your life what are you choosing. Are you comfortable with mediocrity, with just existing in your current wounded state, or do you desire more from your life?
I need to be clear, if you choose to follow God the path WILL NOT BE EASY, but it will be worth it. Freedom waits on the other side, healing waits on the other side. If you choose God’s path you may need to face giants, confront armies, attempt to walk on water, you may need to pass through the sea, face lions, go to Nineveh, take up your cross daily and follow Him, but the results will be miraculous. I know it’s in you! I know you want to BE more than you thought you capable of being, DO more than you thought you were capable of doing. But when you step out and try, your enemies scream, “You’re not strong enough to make the journey, what makes you think you’re capable of something so bold and courageous?” Fear begins to set in. The chair your sitting in becomes like a sideline bench. You’re on God’s team, but you seldom get in the game. The voice of the enemy tells you the bench is a safe place. And from the bench you can watch those who were not afraid, start their journey and begin to shine like stars in the sky for God. You and I need to realize that God is in control, and that fear is the enemy and roadblock to turning our wounds into scars. When David faced Goliath, he wasn’t afraid because he knew he wasn’t facing his giant alone.
1 Sam. 17:41-47 it says, “Meanwhile, the Philistine, with his shield bearer in front of him, kept coming closer to David. He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him.
(Let me just stop there. He says, “glowing with health” The giants in our lives hate it when we’re healthy. They want us to be the walking wounded)
He said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. “Come here,” he said, “and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!” David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I’ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord’s, and he will give all of you into our hands.”
Did you hear that? The battle is the Lords. MY GOD DOESN’T LOSE BATTLES! EVER!!
He’s calling you to a place of healing…follow Him.
The SECOND principal we can learn is…The journey to healing will not be easy
First, there need to be an Exodus. The courage to leave. It’s often difficult to leave your comfort zone. Letting go of the wrong friends, that unhealthy relationship, those habits and additions, that terrible job. Remember what God’s people said when things got difficult, “Let’s go back!” Let’s go back into captivity, let’s go back into slavery, let’s go back to mediocrity, let’s go back where it’s safe. Here’s a principle I have been fighting all my life when it comes to helping people more forward. For most people…Present pain is better than an unknown future.
Let me repeat Jesus question, “Do you want to get well?” Let me ask you that question, “Do you want to get well?” If the answer is yes, then you need to have the courage to leave the desert. We need to turn away from the past, from slavery, from captivity, and allow God to turn our wounds into scars. We need to draw on God’s power to make it happen. The same power that freed the Israelites from the strength of Egypt, the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. We need to be willing to step out in faith. Sometimes you need to cross the raging Jordan river before you can enter the Promised Land. Before you get to the top of the mountain you need to go through the valley.
Listen, I know some of you don’t consider yourselves leaders, but in this situation, you need to become the leader of your own life, your own health, your own healing. You need to become a leader who believes in yourself and God’s ability to heal your wounds. You need to be aggressive, bold, consistent, and relentless and patient. My point is you need to be in this for the long haul. Healing is a process. You need to be willing to lead others who can help you reach your goal. Turning your wounds into scars will only be a dream until you step out in faith and take the land. You just need to be strong enough to recruit others to your cause of healing. Because you will face resistance. Your enemies will stand against you. Not only in the spiritual realm but often the people who should be on your side, but instead they want you to stay in the valley with them. Why? Because misery loves company. Cowards love crowds. God already has His army ready to fight by your side. Now you need your family, friends, counselors, mentors, your Life Group, and the body of Christ, following you into battle.
True leadership expresses itself through faith and action. Two people of unique faith were Caleb and Joshua. Unlike the rest of the people they saw the challenge through the eyes of faith. They realized if they were going to achieve their goal there was no room for fear no place for intimidation. They were ready to take on the giants and claim God’s promise. They stood tall and challenged the people to join them. The people rejected their call. They were afraid to face their giants. Instead they wanted to stone Caleb and Joshua for suggesting it. Those who want to turn their wounds into Scars often anger other people. If someone wants to take the journey those who don’t stick out. That makes them uncomfortable or ashamed, so they want you to stop or at least slow down. They’ll say, “Why are you doing this? Stay here with us where it’s safe, if you go down that path something bad might happen, you’ve tried this before, and you failed miserably.” There will be those who try to stand in our way, but when Christ calls us, the victory is ours to claim! You may have to invade new territory and fight but remember, if you do, the victory is already guaranteed! But again, we must be prepared for battle. We need to spy out the land. Turning our wounds into scars won’t happen overnight. It takes thoughtful preparation. Caleb and Joshua were prepared, they understood the cost, and they were willing to sacrifice. They understood with a battle comes loses, pain, and the risk of further injury. Listen if you make noise you will attract attention. If you sit quietly, you’re no threat, so you’re left alone, but you’re also left wounded, in captivity. We need to be faithful, we need to make noise, and claim God’s healing power. Remember, twelve spies were sent out by Moses. Ten saw the giants in the land with their own eyes and said, “It can’t be done”. Two saw the giants in the land through the eyes of faith and said, “It will be done, it must be done.”
What is your Canaan? What obstacles stand in your way? Which giants make you feel like grasshoppers? God wants to turn your wounds into scars, what holding you back? Is it your past? What lies has Satan woven into the fabric of your life? And have you agreeing with those lies? If so it’s time to break the agreement!