Under Pressure

***This post was written by Pastor Robbie Ashlock***

Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis. There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him. After He took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then He spit and touched the man’s tongue. He (Jesus) looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were open, his tongue was loosened, and he began to speak plainly. Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more He did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”  -Mark 7:31-37
 
Some days I feel the pressure.  Maybe you do too, but you just don’t want to admit it.  I think it’s something that we all struggle with, especially in the world we live in. It’s the pressure to be “all that.”  We live is a glass house world where others are constantly watching the way we parent, teach, speak, love, walk, dress, even the way we socially distance ourselves.  You know you feel it too. Maybe you try to hide it, or you claim that you don’t care about it, but seriously, others are watching you!  

So, what do they see? Probably a lot more than we want them too. That’s right, they can see through all our perfect Tik Toks, Tweets, Instagrams, and Facebook profiles.  And let’s just be honest, we have all got problems: from depression, to guilt, to eating disorders, to addictions, to panic, to pride, to marital and relational struggles, to whatever…

We are a broken people.  Broken people that simply want to be seen and loved, but broken none the less.  The problem is that in our brokenness we often don’t know how to express our true needs. You know the saying, “Hurt people, hurt people.” It’s cliché, but true. The more hurt we are the less we listen to others, and the less we listen to others the worse off we become. Likewise, when we refuse to open up our hearts to the hearts of those around us, we can no longer communicate in a way that is beneficial.  Whether, it’s truly speaking our feelings or understanding theirs.

Jesus went down to an area called the Decapolis, for us it would be like Jesus went to DFW. While He was there, some people brought Him a man who was deaf and could hardly speak and they begged Jesus to place His hand on him.  They knew the power of Christ and how He had healed the lame, the blind, the lepers, and even give those who could not speak, a voice. Notice what happened when the Lord came face to face with this man.

First, it says that He took him aside from the crowd. There is something beautiful about our alone time with the Savior.  In those moments He speaks to our hearts in ways that He can’t or won’t in a large group setting. Time alone with the One who knows us best can be a scary thing, but it can also bring healing.

Second, He touched the man’s ears and tongue. For us to experience the healing that God wants to perform in our lives, we must allow Him to touch our brokenness. Many of us would rather hide it or pretend it’s not there, but in order for us to experience true healing we must allow God to move in and through our weakness.

Third, Jesus looked up to heaven with a deep sigh. Now listen close to this part, when we are in the midst of the storm or struggle it is easy for us to claim that God doesn’t care or that He doesn’t understand. But the truth is that God knows and understands more than we could possibly imagine. Hebrews 4:15 says that, “We do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weakness, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are-yet he did not sin.”

All of our sin comes from the brokenness of our lives and it is only the work of Christ that can and will save us. You may believe that no one in this world understands the pain and suffering that you are going through and that would be true had Christ not come to Earth. But God loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son that we might receive everlasting life. It is the presence of the Savior that changes everything.

Finally, Jesus speaks, “Ephphatha!” (which means, “Be opened!). The work of the Spirit in and through our lives is dependent on our openness. God will not force His way into our lives. He wants us to willingly surrender. Don’t get me wrong, this is a command, but there is a choice that comes with it. At this point the man could have chosen not to believe and receive what the Savior was speaking into his life.  But he did! And immediately his ears were opened, and he began to speak. Not only that, his life became a beautiful testimony to those around Him of the power and love of the Savior. So much so that no one could or would stop talking about it.

Let’s go back to the beginning. What do others see in your life? Someone who tries to hide all of their faults and flaws, but still sends the wrong message? Someone who is in so much pain that all they can do is hurt those around them? Or, someone who understands their brokenness and has given it to the Savior. Someone who once was lost but now is found. Someone whose life is marked for eternity by the presence and power of Jesus Christ. Someone who can live with open arms ready to receive and live out all that God has for them. Praying that you will “be opened” to all that God has for you!

Keep the Son in your eyes, Robbie.

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