I’m looking for some feedback or constructive criticism before I use this again. Thank you for your time and comments.
John 11:21-27, 39, 40
21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.”24Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” 39 “Take away the stone,” he said. “But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.” 40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
Now, listen to this:
Lord, if You fill me with your spirit I’ll be of greater service. Do you believe I can? Yes, Lord, I believe. Then fast for 4 days. But Lord my birthday party is tomorrow, and I’ve already ordered my cake.
Lord, if You make a way for me, I’ll become a missionary. Do you believe I can do that? Yes, Lord, I believe. Then save your money to go to India. But Lord I don’t know anyone over there.
Lord, if You bless me financially, I’ll dedicate myself to feeding the hungry. Do you believe I can do that? Yes, Lord, I believe. Then on Saturdays, I want you to go to the soup kitchen to feed the hungry. But Lord that’s my day off. I’m always with my family and friends that day.
Lord, if You heal me, I’ll follow you. Do you believe I can do that? Yes, Lord, I believe. Then cancel your disability checks and be healed. But Lord then I’ll have to go back to work and I won’t have time to serve You.
We believe God is able! Sometimes we even believe that He’s willing. The question is are we ready to have the stone rolled away. Is there something stinking in your confession of faith?
We believe and so we pray Lord if You do this one thing for me then everything will be alright. Then when Jesus says, I can, then we say, “but”.
But, it’s not a good time right now.
But it might take too much out of me.
But I don’t want You to stir anything up.
But, I’m not ready to work to clean up my mess.
But if I tell them I was wrong for what I did, it’s going to stink.
But, if You had done this for me 4 days ago, or 4 months ago, or 4 years ago or when I was younger and had more energy, or before I got married.
This thing is going to stink if you start rolling the stones away from my life. I’ll just wait for the resurrection. I don’t want You to smell that putrefying stuff I’m still holding onto. I don’t want to smell it either.
It’s so easy to accuse Jesus when things go wrong as Martha did. We can be so inconsistent in our faith. The thought of Jesus seeing her brother’s decaying body – the thought of Jesus seeing our decaying spirituality – the thought of Him smelling the stinky stuff that’s hidden behind the stony areas of our hearts…. These thoughts made her, and makes us, quickly forget what Christ said. “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”
She lost that bit of faith and hope she had at first. Now that Jesus was ready to go deep, by having the stone rolled away – Wait, Lord! Hold up a minute, it’s going to stink.
Martha never said Lazarus was dead, just that he had been there 4 days. No matter how long you’ve kept things behind the stone in your heart, it aint dead. It’s just sleeping.
Let Him roll the stone away. Don’t be afraid of whatever stinky stuff He may find in your memory, in your emotions, even in your present situation. Nothing behind that stone stinks when you’re a friend of God’s. That’s one of the benefits of salvation. The blood washes even when our fears tell us otherwise.
Faith must kick in for us to let go of dormant things in our lives. Don’t be afraid to let the Lord see what’s hidden in your heart.
The Lord wants to remove the stone. Don’t hold back or hold on, afraid that those around you will smell what comes out of you and you didn’t want to be embarrassed. All those people standing around the tomb saw Lazarus come forth to the glory of God.
What’s behind the stone? Is it hatred, malice, bitterness, insolence, pride, prejudice, or fear? He’s never going to embarrass you. Roll the stone away, Lord. He may use those folks that you’re hiding from to help you get free.
Lord, please roll the stone away. I want to come out of the dark; I want to be alive in Christ; I want to get rid of anything that’s dead in my life. I even want to get away from people that are sucking the life out of me. I want to live Lord, for Your glory. Please, roll the stone away.