From Crisis to Christ-like
On the surface, Naaman had everything going for him. He was a man with a plan; he had the talent, the resources and was positioned to win in life. Naaman also had leprosy, a debilitating and shameful condition. Naaman was a type of all humanity.
We can be a lot like Naaman. On the surface, everything can appear to be going well. All smiles at church, all the right photos on social media, but scratch below the surface and life is a mess. Sometimes we can’t even hold it together enough to pretend we’re OK!
Naaman heard that there was healing available for leprosy if he could get to the Hebrew prophet Elisha. He packed up symbols of his resources; silver, gold and beautiful clothes and headed off to Israel. When Naaman finally found Elisha, he was furious. Elisha blatantly ignored all that Naaman had to offer. Naaman’s wealth and strength were inadequate to face the crisis of leprosy. Instead, the prophet Elisha required of Naaman that he surrender his pride by washing seven times in the waters of the Jordan river. Naaman had found himself at a crisis point.
A crisis is a situation of extreme difficulty, where we are forced to face the inadequacy of our own spiritual, emotional and physical resources. A crisis is when we must ask questions of ourselves that we have never asked, or never persevered enough to find an answer for.
The Bible is clear; no one is exempt from the crises of life. Jesus prepared his disciples for them by saying,
In the current world system that is still primarily run by the ‘god of this world’ (2 Cor 4:4), Christians will be under pressure to fold, to surrender, to yield as victims of circumstance and forces of opposition. “But”, said Jesus, “do not fear, I have overcome them.”
Pause for a moment; think about this. Jesus Christ drew a direct association between the tests and trials we all face in life, with the victory that He has won over this world. Jesus was as good as saying, “guys, at times you’re going to feel like you are being hammered BUT don’t be scared, I have won the victory, it’s now your victory!”
Jesus was saying; we are to put on and take the victory He won. Now, this is either a glib statement that Jesus said, perhaps so the disciples would hang around a few days after the resurrection, or Jesus was saying to us, "the victory I have is for you so that you can have victory too." The crises of life are an opportunity to either fold and go under, or to become Christ-like in victory! Which takes us back to Naaman, who filled with self-righteous anger turned away in a rage. It wasn’t until he finally realized that his strength was no longer enough, that he surrendered in obedience and was miraculously healed.
We’re a whole lot stronger in Christ than we are on our own. Each crisis is an opportunity for us to examine our beliefs about who we are, ‘in Christ Jesus’. To what extent are we being led by our failings, by hurts, by insecurities? We may need to wash seven times in the truth of the new birth we have in Christ Jesus!