The Litmus Test For True Friends

Aesop wrote, “A man is known by the company he keeps.” On this occasion not only was a man known, but he was also healed because of  the company he kept.

At the beginning of Mark Chapter Two Jesus enters into Capernaum after being away for some time. Capernaum, meaning place of comfort, was Jesus’ headquarters in his early ministry. And wherever Jesus is revealed, He is one of comfort and compassion.

Many people from the surrounding communities of Galilee, Judea and Jerusalem heard he was home. Those from every walk of life came. Immediately, so many of them ascended upon the house; there was an overflow onto the front porch. No doubt they came because they had heard of Jesus’ exploits and wanted to see and hear Him. They desired to hear the One who spoke in parables and healed all kinds of diseases. (Matthew 4:23)

There were so many people you could not even get through the front door.  His house was, literally, busting at the seams… and he preached the word unto them. Jesus, being the Word to mankind, brought change through the word. The word of God is first released for power; as it is spoken into the atmosphere. The word of God is spoken, under the anointing of the Holy Spirit; to activate the supernatural. Thereby, confirming Paul’s narrative in 1 Corinthian 15:1-2: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.” The preaching of the Gospel is vital. For it is the power of God unto salvation.

Four concerned men wanted to bring their paralyzed friend to Jesus. But when they came to the house it was impossible to reach Him; there were just too many people. In their persistence gaining access to Jesus; they dug through the roof and let the bed down in which their sick friend was bound, before the LORD. In order to get something you have never had, you have to think outside the box.

Have the issues of life held you captive for so long that you are now paralyzed? Paralyzed by spiritual influences of which you know not?  That have you bound in repetitious patterns of failure and defeat because you cannot seem to grasp the rationality of why. You are like the woman with the issue of blood—you have tried every available resource from blessed oil to supposed water from the Holy Land. And now you are economically and spiritually bankrupt. So you find yourself bound in the same cyclic episodes year in and year out. No matter how much you go to church, conferences, stand in the prayer lines; go through all the religious rituals–you are still bound.  Bound up like a mummy yet the mind of your spirit is yearning to be set free.

You are going through silent spiritual warfare. Every time you pray and get off your knees, you come under attack. Every time you open your mouth to give a true word whether prophetic, preaching, teaching or a word of knowledge; immediately either attacks your body, your mind, someone close to you, or even your finances. Retaliatory spirits have just placed you in this state of spiritual paralysis. But God did not give you a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

Silent spiritual warfare, in that, you cannot tell anyone about it because the enemy has discouraged you and disgusted you to the point you are starting to believe you just cannot say nor do anything! And the religious order of the day would have you believe it is either witchcraft, some curse you are under or your life is full of sin.

The main problem is you are looking for man to heal you when complete healing only comes from God. So stop throwing good money behind bad and lay yourself before Jehovah Rophi, “The Lord Who Heals” Which denotes spiritual, emotional and physical healing, restoration, or curing. Simply put, you are looking to the words of men for healing instead of looking to the Word for unfathomable amnesty and complete restoration. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among men. (John 1:14)

If you find yourself in this condition it is imperative to continue seeking the council of God in prayer. Even if you cannot speak put on the mind of Christ and pray from there. It is also a necessity to surround yourself by true prayer warriors who have compassion, patience, determination and the love of God in their hearts. Those attributes will allow them to walk with you through this seemingly impossible circumstance. And pure faith, being born of these attributes, will allow them to go the extra mile as the paralyzed man’s friends did. They had to reach Jesus at all costs because they were determined to see their friend healed.

And right here, in the eyes of Jesus the environment for a miracle was established. True faith works on the behalf of others. No place in this text do we read where his friends, nor the paralyzed man, said anything.  Faith is an action word. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1) The four faithful friends were hoping to see the evidence of their faith manifested through the power of God. They came to Jesus knowing he was Jehovah Rophi, the “Lord Who Heals.” For verse five of the text reads, When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, “Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.”

But why would Jesus forgive his sins first? When He possessed the power to heal him all the time? Jesus spoke those words because the Jewish belief was that if you were sick or under an affliction God was angry with you. And this ideology is so far removed from the truth as the east is from the west! You can be physically healed and still spiritually sick. Jesus sought the man’s healing to be one of total restoration.

But there was certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, “Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God only?”  And immediately when Jesus perceived in his spirit that they so reasoned within themselves, he said unto them, “Why reason ye these things in your hearts?

Yes, the scribes knew the word; religious, but did not possess the gift of discernment or power and authority over the prince of the air. Having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof. Pride and self-righteousness blind us to the true word of God. “But if they do not listen, they perish by the sword and die without knowledge.” (Job 36:12)

Whether is it easier to say to the sick of the palsy, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Arise, and take up thy bed, and walk?” And it is right here in this place the text in Jeremiah never rang out so vehemently. “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace and not evil, to give you an expected end.” An expected end means a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house.”

And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying,“We never saw it on this fashion.”

Take Away    

The four faithful friends are unquestionable proof—the anointing does not rest on ‘the what you do’, but the anointing rests on ‘the why you do’.  Their perseverance was covered with expectation.  They came expecting a miracle from Jesus and were not deterred by a minor inconvenience. Where some might have walked away in frustration and discouragement—they proceeded with faith and determination, which God blessed.

Have you walked away from some trying circumstances in frustration and discouragement? Since it looked like they impeded your progression towards God?  When all you needed to do was approach it from a different perspective? Think outside the box. We must contend for the faith; to fight for it and defend it.  

To know something is one thing, but to possess it is something else entirely. We have to fight to hold on to our measure of faith no matter how small we think that measure might be. But in order to do these things; first we must have the wisdom to understand God’s word and truly know Him. A continual relationship with God releases you into what you are meant to be; instead of playing hide and seek with who you think you are.

Your blessing could be closer than your very breathe— not a million miles away! This is the deception which would cause you to fall away from the faith.  Always remember, deception steals your foundational principles. The enemy would have you believe what you are seeking to achieve is impossible. Right here you must draw another line in the sand and say “God has called me out of the Desert of Unbelief and I am not going back!” Just keep repeating and meditating on those words until they get down into your spirit. Perhaps that was what the paralyzed man was thinking, but simply could not say.

Silent spiritual warfare—-maybe he was a prayer warrior, a preacher, a teacher or a minister of the gospel before this sickness befell him. We do not know. But we do know he was paralyzed and his friends found it needful to have him delivered and healed.

What type of company are you keeping nowadays? Are these acquaintances ones that you know truly have your best interest at heart? Who would go the extra mile to see you set free without any hidden motives? Does the reciprocity of this friendship exude the love of God?  For it is written Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments;As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.(Psalm 133)

Better still, what are you willing to do to reach Jesus? Are you willing to do whatever is required to reach Him; so you too may be delivered or help someone else be made whole?  Or would you walk away because the thing standing between you and God looks impossible to overcome? Thus putting off for tomorrow what you should have done today. That moment could have been the deciding factor of your breakthrough; but you never seized the moment because of inconvenience and doubt.

Nowhere in the text do we read or see where anyone in that party said a word. Therefore we can extrapolate their faith was an action faith God honored.

Jesus first forgave his sins—-why? Paul wrote, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”(Romans 3:23) Whether his sins were inherited or acquired is not relevant. But what is most significant is Jesus forgave his sins and he has forgiven your sins too. That was why He went to the cross so we could be made the righteousness of God; being reborn in a different realm. At the cross the ground is level; no one is higher than the other. And He is constantly interceding on our behalf in that realm—what a friend!

The disbelief of the scribes was a result in poor discernment, which derived from not allowing the Word to permeate their hearts.  They did not realize …the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. (2 Corinthians 3:6)

Unlike the four friends whose faith resulted in the gift of salvation for their paralyzed friend. And with his healing brought total restoration.

They had purposed in their hearts to do whatever it took to get their friend to the LORD. Their faith determined; ultimately led to his deliverance on their behalf. Is it not written God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him? (Hebrews 11:6)

This is a chapter from my book Faithwalkers: How to Survive in the Desert of Hoplessness. The chapter title in the book is The Four Faithful Friends. Your comments and opinions are welcomed.

© Rhema International. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission, from this blog’s author and/or owner, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Rhema International, https://rhemalogy..com.

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