“And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.” Acts 3:7-8 KJV
Have you ever used the phrase “that’s just the way I’ve always been”? Or maybe growing up you always heard that you would never be able to do or be something? Maybe your lifelong limitations were self-imposed, and you just can’t remember a time when you believed otherwise about yourself. You may doubt that you will ever be free to become all that you were created to be, and think that you will always face these obstacles that keep you from fully embracing your purpose.
Scripture tells us that the man at the center of Acts 3:1-10 was lame from birth. He never knew what it was to have proper and effective use of his legs or feet. He never experienced the privilege of caring for himself, or “standing on his own two feet” (pun intended). We are told that on a daily basis, he was carried and laid down at the gate of the temple to beg. Every day. Carried. Laid down. And left to the mercy of the generosity of temple goers.
That day, the lame man’s life changed because he continued to ask, in spite of the rejection he may have faced from other people passing by. This time he happened to ask the right people for assistance, and then we see that he “gave heed to them” or he listened to what they had to say, intently, with an attitude of expectation. Many times in life we can miss the opportunity that could transform our lives forever because we treat all of our encounters with the same routine disdain. We have no sense of expectation, we’re just casually, passively surviving until the weekend.
Remember, he was carried. He was laid down. And he begged. Every day.
How many times have we said, here I go to this dead end job, again. Here I go cleaning this little apartment or house, again. Here comes my spouse with this little old pay check that can barely pay the bills, again. Here I go struggling through these classes, racking up these student loans, when I’m not even sure I’ll have a job at the end, again!
It’s time we changed our level of expectation!
There are a few important points to note about this man’s response to the Apostles’ command to rise up and walk.
1. He wasn’t so stuck on getting what he asked for that he would miss the miracle coming his way. I’m sure when Peter and John stopped and engaged him, he was certain that they were about to make some type of monetary contribution. For a number of us, the moment they said they didn’t have any money, we would have tuned them out, lost hope, and returned to our despondent state.
2. He received strength. In spite of never having felt life in his legs, the scripture says that immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength – they became strong, solid, firm. He experienced renewal and regeneration in his skeletal structure, his core. Some of us are so consumed by our inferiority complex, or our “poor me” mindset, that we lack the ability or capacity to receive the healing to our inner being when it is offered.
3. He leaped up! A man, who never knew what it meant to have use of his legs, took hold of the helping hands offered him and leaped to his feet. This lets me know that it does not matter the limiting, confining, restrictive, and disabling circumstances I have struggled with or suffered from, God can cause me to experience an instantaneous transformation when I make up my mind to get up!
4. He stood. He allowed himself to experience the stabilizing effect of having both feet firmly planted on the ground, embracing the moment.
5. He walked. He began the process of forward movement in his life. He didn’t sit down and say that this is the only place he had known; he simply started to move forward!
6. He entered the temple. He went into the place from which he had been restricted all these years. When you receive strength, find the courage to stand and move forward, don’t allow fear or mental limitations to keep you from entering your promise. He entered the place where he could hear truth, where he could learn, where he could worship.
7. He continued to walk and leap. Too often, we so quickly forget the amazing moment of change we’ve experienced and fall prey to old habits and mindsets. Once you get moving, keep on walking, keep on leaping! Let the people around you continue to wonder and marvel. Let them ponder your past, and ask if this is the same person they used to know – you just keep on moving!
8. He praised God! He gave thanks, demonstrated gratefulness, acknowledged the power of God that brought him to that moment.
If we are going to be able to LEAP in life, we need to be willing to receive strength, encouragement, wise counsel. We need to release doubt and let go of the past. We need get up right away, before fear can creep in and make us think we need a crutch to lean on. We need to begin to move forward, and make use of the ability now awakened within us. We need to continue to celebrate our transformation. And we must embrace an attitude of gratitude, giving thanks for the healing we have received.