You’ve heard of “raising the roof,” but what about “removing the roof?”
Yesterday, in my devotional reading of the Bible, I read the story of Jesus healing the paralytic in Mark 2:1-12. The point of the story is, of course, the revelation of Jesus as God’s Messiah who has the authority and the ability to heal and to forgive sins. But every time I read this story I am drawn to the action taken by the friends of the paralyzed man.
Because they care about their friend, they want him to be healed. And they believe that Jesus can heal him. So, they decide to take him to Jesus. The problem is that there is no more room in the house where Jesus is visiting – they can’t get their friend in front of Jesus to be healed. Yet, instead of giving up or saying, “Well, we tried,” they choose to remove the roof of the house so that they can lower their paralyzed friend into the presence of the One who can heal their friend.
Whenever I read or hear that story, I am convicted by this thought: “Am I doing everything I can to introduce my friends to Jesus so they can experience the healing, freedom, joy, peace, and salvation that only Jesus can make possible?”
Am I “removing the roof” that’s keeping my friends from seeing Jesus?
Here are 5 things we can all do to “remove roofs” and introduce our friends to Jesus…
- Pray for the desire to lead people to Jesus and for a deeper love for people. Two of the greatest obstacles that get in the way of Christians telling others about Jesus is the lack of desire to share Jesus and a lack of love for others. In the story from Mark 2, the friends were motivated by a deep love for their friend in need and the strong belief that Jesus could heal him. That’s the kind of passion we need as well, so let’s pray that God will give it to us.
- Serve our friends in ways that help meet their needs. As God, through His Spirit, gives us the deeper love for people for which we’re praying, a genuine desire to serve others begins to emerge. Our service demonstrates that our love for our friends is authentic, and this authentic love provides a platform to introduce our friends to Jesus in sincere, non-manipulative ways. In Mark 2, the journey to healing for the paralytic started with a group of friends who served him out of love.
- Talk to our friends about Jesus, as we serve them. In serving others, God will present opportunities for us to tell our friends about how Jesus meets our greatest need as humans. Tell your friends how Jesus has helped you in some way, has healed you in some way, or has strengthened you in some way. Invite whatever questions they have, then use the gospel to show how Jesus does this. Yes, it can be a little awkward at first, but since you’ve already demonstrated your sincere love for your friend, he or she will know that you are talking about Jesus simply because you truly care about his or her life.
- Live with integrity. Sometimes the “roof,” or obstacle, that’s keeping others from seeing Jesus clearly is the lack of integrity they observe in Christians. Dr. Michael Horton, a theologian and Christian apologist, once said, “The problem with Christians is not that they aren’t where they should be. The problem with Christians is that they aren’t who they should be wherever God has called them to be.” We must live what we say we believe, and we must conform to the ways of Christ if we are going to claim Christ as our Savior and King.
- Guard our hearts. As we seek to help others fall in love with Jesus, we must keep stoking the fire of our own passion for Christ. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” This is why we cannot let our heart become calloused to others, desensitized to sin, or apathetic to our faith – everything we do flows from our heart. So, keep praying, keep reading God’s Word, keep worshipping the Creator, keep gathering with the people of God, keep serving – whatever it is that keeps you connected to God’s will and love, do it. Do it first and do it often. Don’t let it get crowded out by a busy schedule. Above all else, guard your heart.
Now, let’s go remove some roofs!