His neighbors and others who knew him as a blind beggar asked each other, “Isn’t this the man who used to sit and beg?” Some said he was, and others said, “No, he just looks like him!” But the beggar kept saying, “Yes, I am the same one!” They asked, “Who healed you? What happened?” He told them, “The man they call Jesus made mud and spread it over my eyes and told me, ‘Go to the pool of Siloam and wash yourself.’ So I went and washed, and now I can see!” (John 9:8-11)
Read: Psalm 42-46
Relate: Neil was an average guy. He had a job working construction. He was married with three kids that he loved and who loved him very much. He was a smoker who had tried for twenty years to kick the habit. He lived on one half of a big old farmhouse. His landlord, an old Salvation Army preacher and his wife, lived on the other side.
Late one night Neil’s youngest son woke the house screaming his way through a nightmare. Like every good father he asked his wife to go and check on him before the kid woke the neighbors. The next morning Neil asked his son if he was OK and what his dream had been about. The boy responded in tears, “Daddy, I had an awful dream last night. I dreamed that Casey, Rene, Momma and me all went up to be with Jesus and you went down to be with the devil.”
This touched Neil so deeply he grabbed his lunchbox and rushed out the door. All the way to work he thought about the truth of his son’s dream. He had heard the gospel often enough to know the truth of his son’s dream. All day at work this gnawed away at him inside until he found himself alone getting supplies in the storage trailer shortly before his lunch break. Finally he could stand it no more. Right then and there he got on his knees, and with tears in his eyes he surrendered his life to God. After he had recovered enough to be presentable he realized that it was time for his lunch. Leaving the trailer he got his lunch box and opened it up. First thing he saw was his two packs of cigarettes which he promptly crumpled up and threw away. That was on December 1, 1969 and he has not had a smoke since. This was the first of many drastic life altering changes in Neil’s life since becoming a new creation in Christ.
React: When the blind man received his sight, he had a choice. Begging was not a proud life or a rich one, but it was the only life he knew. He could have gone back to it. Not all beggars are blind, lame, or deaf. It wouldn’t be the best life but for him it could have been safe and comfortable, but going back really wasn’t an option. More than just his sight had changed. He was a completely new person. To the very core of his being he had changed after his encounter with Christ.
All too often I see people who have said a prayer or had an emotional moment and now they thing they are a Christian. The problem is, there is no change in their life. When a person becomes a Christian they are not the same anymore. Being a Christian is not about accepting a set of principles or repeating back a prayer. Becoming a Christian is about becoming a follower of Christ. If we are following Christ then we are no longer going in the same direction we used to. The longer we have been following Christ the further we will be from that old man. Being a Christian means He is our Lord and Savior. What is the point of saving a drowning man if they immediately jump right back into the dangerous waters? What is the point in kneeling to a Lord if you are going to walk right out of the room and ignore His authority and commands. Are we really Christians or do we just claim the title while still wallowing in the same old sins?
God, when I come to You as a sinner I don’t want to apologize but to truly repent. I acknowledge that it is only in Your power that I can change but if I have invited You to live in me then that change must occur. It is not optional. I don’t just want to accept the philosophical tenets of Christianity but truly become a Christian. I want to become a follower of You. Give me the strength to do so. Make me a new person so that all who see me and knew me from before will wonder at the difference. If I am in You then I am not the same.