“I used to be afraid that if I was authentic I might take a hit, but now I know that being real means I will take a hit.”
Bob Goff, Love Does
It seems to be human nature to protect ourselves by putting out a fake version of our priceless originals, in case of damage. What elements of your fake self are different from your real self?
When have you taken a hit for being the real you? How did it affect you?
When have you felt loved and accepted for being the real you? What does that show us about God’s love?
(Excerpt from his questions for discussion)
Job was a man who lived in Uz. He was honest inside and out, a man of his word who was totally devoted to God…God said to Satan “Have you noticed my friend Job? There’s no one quite like him, honest and truthful, devoted to God.” Satan said “Do you think Job does all that out of sheer goodness of his heart? You pamper him and bless him! What do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his? I bet he’d curse you to your face…”
So the story continues with God taking away all Job’s possessions, his health, his family, his wealth and the internal and external struggle that he faces.
If you lost everything like Job, would you be able to still praise God?
Why or why not? What would have to happen for you to be able to?
As you use different objects in your life, think about what would happen if they had been taken away without explanation by God.
“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o’clock in the afternoon. And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, ‘Look at us.’ And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, ‘I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.’ And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.”
As we continue to think about our Dirty Shoulders, look at how this man was lifted up on dirty shoulders and made well. First, people carried him to the temple each day. Carried. Him. A grown man. Each day. Then Peter and John were just walking by on their way to pray and decided to use their newfound power as disciples of a resurrected Jesus to heal him.
What do we walk by every day?
Who do we walk by every day?
How can we lift them up on our shoulders?
Who carries you?
Gil McGregor: “All great people have dirty shoulders.”
Acts 9:1-17 This is the story of Saul’s conversion to Paul. Remember how God blinded Saul and then called Ananias to go to Saul and touch his eyes? Ananias balked because Saul had been throwing Christians in jail. But God told him to go, and he did. He touched Saul’s eyes and Saul could see. Then Saul starting sharing Jesus with everyone.
This story is most often focused on Saul/Paul because God uses Paul to spread the gospel for many years. However, we are focusing on Ananias because like our quote above, he put Paul on his shoulders so he could become great.
So….. has anyone put you on their shoulders? Who has helped you along your life path?
And have you done the same for someone?
Is it easy to do? Or can we get so focused on ourselves, we don’t think about helping others.
How often have we turned someone down or literally turned the other direction when we know someone might need a shoulder?
I think the more we practice putting others on our shoulders, the greater we become.