What Really Matters?

What Really Matters?

Which is easier, to say, “Your sins are forgiven you,” or to say, “Rise and walk”? Luke 5:23

In contemplating today’s blog on the most important things in life, I’ve been thinking about my own perspective. How often am I distracted from the things that truly matter by the temporal, the tangible, and immediate gratification? Honestly, it’s just natural for me to spend most of my time thinking about what I want to do or eat right now. This is the kind of thinking that led to my addiction. It’s simply not natural for me to focus on what God wants for me. I don’t automatically take the eternal or spiritual perspective.

Today’s passage illustrates our tendency to get this wrong. In the story, a paralyzed man was brought to Jesus for physical healing. Instead of fixing his body, Jesus healed the man spiritually, forgiving his sins. The Pharisees were outraged. Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone (Luke 5:21)? To convince the crowd of his identity, authority and power, Jesus then healed the paralytic. I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home (Luke 5:24).

The paralytic came to Jesus for physical healing as he felt this was his most pressing need. When Christ forgave his sins instead, I imagine the man may have experienced some disappointment. Thanks Jesus, but I was kinda hoping for my legs back. The audience wasn’t pleased either. They wanted to see a physical, tangible miracle. If you’re really God, then we’d like to see some real power.

We too, often take this misguided perspective. Because the physical world seems more real than the spiritual one, it’s our nature to focus on it. It’s not natural to just wake up in the morning and ask, What does God want of me today? Most of us, without even realizing it, simply follow our own way. What do I want today?

Jesus though, continually taught a very different perspective. We’re not to continually pursue our own immediate appetites. That is the surest path to misery and addiction. Paradoxically, the path to freedom, joy, and eternal life, is found only in surrendering our will to God. Eternal life isn’t found in our temporary circumstances, but in forgiveness. Faith means choosing the perspective that the spiritual and the eternal are far more important than the physical and the temporal.

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