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When Jesus had crossed again in the boat to the other side, a large crowd gathered around him…There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years…She heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak…Jesus aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, “Who touched my clothes?” …The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction.”
Just touch Christ’s cloak and you will be healed. Just believe in Him and you will be saved. Is it that easy? Is it that easy to be saved? Yes…and no.
We all know that it takes a lot of courage to go up to Jesus, to break through the crowd, especially in today’s world. Why? Because so many people are pressing against us; so many people are actively seeking to keep us away from Him. Of course they won’t say it, but they don’t have to, for their actions speak louder than their words!
The young woman in today’s Gospel passage had been suffering for years with a painful disease, but that didn’t hold her back or her faith hostage. She fought through the pain and the crowd to get to the Lord. There is a great lesson in this for all of us: There are people who will shed their blood to get to Jesus. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
I accept Jesus Christ as my personal Lord and Savior. You do well in saying these words. And the minute after you say these words, you must live up to them! You must be faithful your commitment, everyday, for conversion to Christ is not a one-step deal. It requires multiple steps. It requires daily renewal.
“Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the leader and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:1-2).
Now if faith were a one-time deal, then who needs perfecting?
Dear friends let us stop fooling ourselves! To follow the Lord is a lifetime journey. It means a radical change of heart, a change of mind and a change of lifestyle. It means “it is no longer I who live in me, but Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20).
Do I still allow some weaknesses to creep in? Do I still allow myself “the benefit” of being a fallen creature? Do I still make excuses for myself? I’m only human!
To believe in God means to give one’s heart, mind, body and soul to the Lord; it means to believe in the First Commandment. Or is the First Commandment just simply some sentimental and highly inflated flattery that can never be realized!
To believe in God means to believe not only with our lips but with our will, for we tend to want to go astray, not by much, but a few degrees, to allow some room for “comfort.”
To believe in the Lord means to follow the Lord’s will, not my own; to make a 180° change.
Now I meant what I said! For we all know how easy it is to go off course, just a little, like 30°, 60°, 90°. But every degree brings us, little by little, further away. We all know that! We all know that little sins, if left uncorrected, can gradually bring us to total separation.
Everyone that is alive knows that! But not everyone necessarily believes it.
To say, in a certain place and time, that I accept the Lord as my personal Savior is like saying, at a certain place and time, “Will you marry me?” Behind and beyond these words is a lot of work; a lot of hidden details, commitments and compromises. And just like some young people were naïve when they first got married; today, not too few former evangelical Christians are actively working as atheists.
“Yes, I got down on my knees and proposed to my fiancé on such and such day. And when I took my vows, it was for life.” Well, if that’s all you did since then, is there any wonder why one-out-of-two marriages in the United States end in divorce?
We all know that marriage is not a one-step deal. Neither is being a Christian.
The Lord said to his disciples: “Come, pick up your cross and follow me.” This was not the last step. It was the first step. Let’s not confuse the first step with the last step. The first step that every Christian must make is to acknowledge Jesus Christ as my Lord and God. A lot of people acknowledge Jesus as their Lord and God, and even the devil has taken this first step (cf. James 2:19). But what the devil will not do – refuses to do – is follow the Lord and obey Him.
Who touched me? “She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had.” In a world that is just itching to keep you away from positive people, and to make a profit from your talents, your money, your life and your will, the ultimate question for us remains: Who will be the greatest influence in your life? Who will it be? Who will you reach out to and follow? Will it be the Lord or someone or something else?
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