"The Spirit of the Lord is on Me. He has put His hand on Me to preach the Good News to poor people. He has sent Me to heal those with a sad heart. He has sent Me to tell those who are being held that they can go free. He has sent Me to make the blind to see and to free those who are held because of trouble." Luke 4:18 (NLV)
"Why can't you get it together?"
"If you would just try harder."
Have you heard any of these statements? Maybe you've even said them to yourself.
Perhaps those who stood on a hot hillside in Nazareth were asking themselves the same questions. Many tried hard to follow all the religious laws, but knew they fell short. Would Jesus give them more rules to follow? Imagine their surprise as Jesus spelled out His personal mission statement:
I've come to open the eyes of the blind.
I've come to set the prisoner free.
I've come with good news for the poor in spirit.
I've come to heal the brokenhearted.
The crowd must have been shocked by His words, for they expected a warrior, not a heart surgeon. Jesus Himself was setting the record straight. He came so that we might be made whole ... through Him.
For those who had been trying harder, striving more, it was a transforming message. They were accustomed to following rules or meeting expectations of man, rather than resting in the power of their almighty God.
When I became a believer, I didn't understand Jesus' mission statement. I was dealing with untended brokenness and trying everything to fix myself. When I grasped the power of Luke 4:18, this truth changed me: The power of the cross is not found in what I do, but in what has already been done for me.
Jesus didn't mean for us to do this alone. It's not our strength or power that will transform us. Yes, we make changes. Yes, we open our broken heart to His tender touch. Yes, we allow Him to move us in uncomfortable directions to discover new paths — and leave old ones behind. But we are in a partnership with God ... and He's bigger.
I also discovered I didn't have to earn God's love. Maybe, like me, you thought God would love you one day, when you had it all together.
Jesus' mission statement proclaims that He loves us today. With our baggage and hurting hearts. When we grasp that kind of love, it changes us. It compels us to return that love, and to trust Jesus from our hearts.
This trust helps us listen for His voice. We sense when He is teaching or redirecting us. We weigh temptation in light of our love for our heavenly Father. This relationship helps us discover our "true selves, [our] child-of-God selves" (John 1:12, The Message).
Last, Luke 4:18 reminded me that I didn't have to run away just because I felt broken.
A hurting heart can send us running down paths we may regret, searching for something or someone to ease our pain. Jesus' mission statement invites us to stop running and rest in Him, expectant that our true selves will emerge with His healing touch.
The truth of Luke 4:18 is ours today to hold close, for Jesus came to heal our hurting hearts.
Dear Jesus, for the longest time I've been concentrating on my efforts, but today I expectantly rest in You. Thank You that the power of the cross is not in what I do, but in what has already been done for me. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Today, you read about what you don't have to do. You don't need to fix yourself, or earn God's love or run any more. In fact, the more you don't do these things, the more you live in Him. The more you don't do these things, the more you build a foundation of rest and trust. The more you don't do these things, the more joy you rediscover in your faith.
What will you not do today?
Psalm 147:3, "He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." (NIV)
Psalm 34:18, "The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." (NIV)
© 2014 by Suzie Eller. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
630 Team Rd., Suite 100
Matthews, NC 28105