9 So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”
11 But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the LORD his God and heal me! 12 Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.
13 But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’”
––2 Kings 5:9-13 (NLT)
In chapter 3 of our Disciples Path curriculum this week, we learn about baptism, which is the disciple’s inaugural act of obedience to Jesus. To give us some background on the significance of baptism, our study points us to the Old Testament episode with the great Aramean general, Naaman. Reading through that story this week, it occurred to me that before Naaman could find healing, before he could really benefit from what God had in store for him, he had to overcome three forms of pride…
- Pride in who he was. (Verse 11—“I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!”)
- Pride in where he came from. (Verse 12—Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel?)
- Pride in what he could do. (Verse 1––“Sir, if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it?”)
But isn’t it the same with you and me? As Jesus calls you to take up your cross and follow him, don’t you sometimes find yourself faced with these very same forms of pride?
- Pride in who you are. Your status, your reputation, your good name to others. Jesus calls you to take up your cross and bear his shame with him.
- Pride in where you come from. Your family, your education, all of your past experience. Jesus calls you to make him your new point of origin, to give him your very first allegiance.
- Pride in what you can do. Your gifts, your talents, your proven track record. Sometimes what Jesus asks of you is not the great deed or spectacular feat, but the consistent, understated, week by week faithfulness of everyday discipleship.
When Naaman faced these three forms of pride, thankfully, he was able to overcome them…
14 So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child’s, and he was healed!
Where in your life do you need healing today? And what acts of faithfulness is Jesus calling you to today?
With you for Jesus,
p.s. Click here to listen to last week’s teaching time, entitled, Last Chance Hope.
p.p.s. This Sunday we pray for the Cattanis, blessing them in their new adventure!