Ryan and I went running with my brother a few days ago. After mile one, I noticed my brother was not in sight anymore. I am a HUGE competitor so seeing someone else run with more effort inspired me to pick up my pace.
I wasn’t able to catch up with my brother, but his performance inspired me to get out of my comfort zone. I chose to keep my faster pace because Ryan and RJ started chanting, “Go mommy, go!” My hope is that RJ notices this same endurance in the real race God has set before us.
This week I have been extra thankful for the people I get to call my friends and family. During my devotion today, God focused my attention on the story of Jesus healing the paralyzed man. Instead of skimming over the scriptures because of familiarity, the story told in Matthew, Mark, and Luke stood out to me.
“When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”
But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”
Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”
And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”” Mark 2:1-12 NLT
Jesus responded to the faith of the man’s friends.
You might not be physically carrying your friends on a mat to Jesus, but you are carrying them by praying for them. You are carrying them by sticking up for their character when they are not around. You are carrying them by genuinely celebrating their victories and cheering them on through their losses.
You are carrying them by YOUR faith and YOUR example of how to run this race God has set before us.
Jesus sent out his disciples to build God’s Kingdom in pairs. I believe the disciples were not sent alone because Jesus wanted them to have each other to stay encouraged.
I am so THANKFUL for my friends and family who help carry my mat and encourage me to run a better race. Thank you for reminding me to never take my eyes off Jesus.
I hope this post inspires you to ask yourself:
- How does my faith impact others?
- Am I doing a good job carrying my friends’ mats?
- Who should I thank for carrying my mat and inspiring me to run a Christ-centered race?