To be ‘set in your ways’ can be prohibitive to God.
While we’re often (these days) concerned with those who are willing to try anything and everything that comes down the pike, those at the other end of the spectrum can find themselves moored in a paralysis of thought and action.
You know the old adage, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” The thinking is the ‘old dog’ has established a pattern of behavior that is extremely difficult to overcome. I’m no dog trainer, but it sure makes sense to me.
You gotta get ‘em when they’re young and teachable, eh?
The same can be true of us.
Christians – perhaps most-especially Christians – can become comfortable with their Spiritual routine. It is very important and needful for the Christian to live a dedicated, devoted life. We talk all the time of the need to be diligent and faithful. Sometimes in practice this can turn into tried, true – and fixed. Set. It is as if a fence has been placed around the well-established devotional life which is no longer penetrable or immediately direct-able by the prompting of the Holy Spirit. (This may be especially prevalent in Christians who have been following Christ a very long time.)
When was the last time you allowed God to send you on a ‘flyer?’ When was the last time you launched out into the deep – following God on some crazy (to the world) sounding adventure? When was the last time you clearly heard His voice counsel you to something out of the ordinary?
We may not think we have much in common with the infirm man by the pool of Bethesda. He hasn’t walked in 38 years, and he’s been mired in a very static, beggarly life as a result of his paralysis.
You would think he would leap at the chance to walk again, and run and jump. But Jesus knows better. The lame man’s life is well-established, even if paralyzed. At this late stage in his life, is he willing to accept all the radical the changes that will come with being able to walk again?
And so Jesus first asks, “Do you want to be made well?” How about you?