David Langerfeld

Is your life predictable?  Do you do the same thing, day after day?  Has the excitement gone?  Do you feel as though 2006 will be just as dull and monotonous as 2005?  Are you just going through the motions?   There is a wonderful passage in scripture that gives you a practical example of how one man changed his life.  It gives you seven basic steps on how to change your own life.

Jesus had been preaching and teaching in the area around the Sea of Galilee .   He told his disciples that the time had come for Him to go to Jerusalem , that His time was near.  On his way to Jerusalem , he passes through Jericho , where he encounters a blind man named Bartimaeus. 

It is the time of the Passover.  Thousands of pilgrims are on their way to Jerusalem .  Many of them will travel through Jericho .  Bartimaeus must have known this and he positioned himself  along the road.

Mark 10:46-52  - And they came to Jericho: and as he went out of Jericho with his disciples and a great number of people, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the highway side begging.  And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth , he began to cry out, and say, Jesus, thou Son of David, have mercy on me.  And many charged him that he should hold his peace: but he cried the more a great deal, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me.  And Jesus stood still, and commanded him to be called. And they call the blind man, saying unto him, Be of good comfort, rise; he calleth thee.  And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus.  And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.  And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.

Step #1    Assume Responsibility for You Own Life  (v. 47)
 “When he heard it was Jesus...He began to cry out.” 

Own up to your own responsibility.  We always try to blame someone else for our problems.  When you listen to people talk about their problems, do you notice that it’s always someone else’s fault? Teenagers blame their parents,  Parents blame their children, Workers blame their co-workers or their boss.   And, we play the "if only" game.

Things happen you can't control - but you can control your response.  Let me say that again.  Things happen you can't control - but you can control your response.  I hear people say all the time, “He makes me so mad” or “she makes me so mad”.  Nobody can make you mad.  You’re the only person who can make you mad.  People can do things that upset you, things you don’t like, things that hurt you.  But you decide how you're going to respond.

Look back at the scripture - See what did Bartimaeaus did and did not do.
1.   He didn’t blame someone else.  He didn’t think that God or anyone else owed him anything. 
2.   He did go to Jesus.  He humbled himself and sought help and deliverance. 

Step #2    Believe You Can Change (v. 51)

  "Lord, that I might receive my sight."He believed he wouldn't walk away the same.  He believed that he'd be DIFFERENT.  So often people pray “God, if you’ll just change my employer...   if you'll just change my husband, or my wife, or my children, or my friend, or my co-worker, or my relative, etc.

God never promises that he will change your situation.  God does promise that he will change you..   He’ll change your attitude...     your perspective...  your outlook.  Then you can change your attitude toward your situation.  

Step #3    Clarify What it is that You Really Need (v. 51)

  "What is it that I should do for you?"

Specific prayers get specific answers.  How often do we pray, “God bless the missionaries overseas.”   Jesus already knew what the man needed.  Jesus wanted the man to say it. 

How often do we play communication games with each other?   A wife will tell me, “He doesn’t meet my needs.”  “Well, does he know what you need?”  “Sure, he loves me, he ought to know.”  Maybe he ought to know, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he really knows.  You have to tell him what your needs are.

Another example: “I’m so mad at him.”  “Well, does he know why you’re mad at him.”  “Of course, he does.”    “He knows what he did!"  "How does he know?  Did you tell him?”  “I don’t have to tell him.  He knows.”

We do the same thing with God.  We assume that since God knows everything, we don’t have to tell him.  But that’s just exactly the opposite of the way God operates.  He wants us to tell him what we need.  Exactly what we need. 

Jesus will meet your needs when you tell him what your needs are.  But sometimes He doesn’t meet your needs because you never tell Him what you really want and how you really feel. 

Notice his cry - “Have mercy on me.”  He was Beggar.  Yet, notice, he didn’t cry out for food, or clothing, or money or housing.  He was given sight that day. He was healed that day - because he realized that his most basic need was for mercy and grace.  He needed what only Jesus was offering - and because of that, he was healed.  

Step #4     Stop Worrying about What Other People Will Say (v. 48)

  "Many Charged Him That He Should Hold His Peace".

What were they telling him? 
     “Shut up!  Nobody want to hear what you have to say!”
     “Be quiet.  This isn’t the right place..  This isn’t the right time...”
     “Nobody’s ever done it that way before...  You can’t do that”

We have to quit worrying about what other people think.  In this particular situation, everyone else was wrong.  Everyone else told him he shouldn’t do it that way. 

He didn’t care what the protocol was.   He didn’t care if all the people agreed that you just don’t approach Jesus that way.  He knew he needed help and he wasn’t going to be denied.

Have you prayed for something and God hasn’t answered you yet?  Keep on calling out to God.  Do you have a need and God hasn’t met it yet?  Keep on calling out to God. Are you hurting and don’t have an answer?  Keep on calling out to God.

Are people telling you to give up?  Are people telling you to quit?  Are people telling you that God doesn’t care?  Are you worried about what other people think or what other people will say?  Are you concerned about how it might look?  Are you worried that other people will think you crazy or you’re a fanatic?       Stop worrying.  Don’t quit.   Don’t give up   JUST CRY OUT EVEN LOUDER

One of the greatest attributes a Christian can have is persistence and perseverance.  Jesus tells a parable about the neighbor who comes at midnight and is rewarded for his persistence.  Someone once said, God doesn’t answer shallow prayers, he answers desperate prayer.

Step #5    Stop Waiting for Ideal Circumstances (v. 46)

  "As he went out....  a great number of people".

Remember where he was in the first of this story.  He was waiting beside the road.  But look at v. 46.  Other were already traveling with Jesus.  Others already had the opportunity.  Bartimaeus almost missed his chance.  This is the last time Jesus would come to Jerusalem .  If he had missed Jesus, he never would have been healed.

We have to quit waiting for just the right time.  We have to quit waiting for the right opportunity to come along.  It may not happen.  We have to do something now.

Step #6    Do Something Bold and Dramatic (v. 50)

  "And he, casting away his garment".

Sometimes, we have to do something different.  We can’t do the same old thing.  If we’re going to break out of our rut, if we want life to be different, we have to do something bold and dramatic. 

Hebrews 12:1 says, "let us lay aside every weight, every sin that so easily entangles us.”  Notice those words, lay aside every weight and every sin.  We know what the sins are, but what are the weights?  The weights are whatever is keeping you from keeping Jesus first in your life... Whatever is keeping you from running to Jesus...  Whatever is holding you back from surrendering your life to the LORDSHIP of Jesus so he can do a miracle in your life. 

Step #7    Follow Jesus (v. 52)

He was a beggar, he was blind, he had been healed.  It would have been so easy to go into town and tell everybody what had happened - to show the priest, to show his friends and relatives, to let the whole town know that he had been healed - but that’s not what the scripture says.  It simply says, “He followed Jesus!”

Break out of your rut.  2006 can be totally different from 2005 if you’ll...

1. Assume responsibility for your own life
2. Believe you can change
3. Clarify what it is you really need.
4. Stop worrying what other people will say
5. Stop waiting for the ideal circumstances
6. Do something bold and dramatic
7. Follow Jesus!