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Roll Up Your Mat

Roll Up Your Mat

“And Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed.’ Then he arose immediately.” (Acts 9:34)

Aeneas obeyed the Lord through Peter. Why did Jesus, through Peter, tell him to pick up his bed? The Lord didn’t want him to be lying back on it because he no longer needed it as his workplace.

There is something for us here.

A beggar’s mat is a symbol; it is his mark that identifies him as a paralytic. Truly, who else in the marketplace has a bed with him? Only the lame do. Jesus tells him to get up off his old identity and roll it up and put it away.

In the same way, Jesus met us somewhere. (I think He does this for us repeatedly.) He addresses things in us that identify us. It could be “wounded” or “victim”. He wishes to give us a better identity than one that is attached to the earth.

I have a friend in another city who had been “homosexual”. Jesus addressed that and basically told to him, “Get up and roll up your mat. You no longer need that identity.”

What has He addressed in you? What identity did you have that He has, in Christ, replaced? Do you still use that old identity? Do you sit on the mat? Do you still “need” it or have you fully received your new identity? You’ll know you have if you have abandoned everything that hinges on that old identity and have fully embraced who you now are eternally in Jesus.

It is very important that we recognize that Jesus has changed all this in our lives.

“Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer.” (2 Corinthians 5:16)

As Christians, we are no longer identified in terms of our physical state, our pasts, our woundings or our healings, the opinions others have of us, or how they evaluate us. NOTHING from the earth defines us eternally, though people will try to do this to us because this is a large part of what satan accomplished in the Fall.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation…” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18)

Because we were born into a world largely commandeered by the devil, we often need to be reconciled with who we really are now, sometimes years after being born again since identity in Christ doesn’t seem to be taught much in the Church today.

Our ministry presents a conference named “Union with Christ”. At one point in it we play a song when we address this issue of Identity. The lyrics go like this as the singer portrays God speaking to us:

“I will change your name; you shall no longer be called - wounded, outcast, lonely, or afraid. I will change your name; your new name shall be - confident, joyfulness, overcoming one, faithfulness, friend of God, one who seeks My face.”

“And Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed.’ Then he arose immediately.” (Acts 9:34)

This man did what God told him to do and immediately began to enjoy his healing AND his restored identity. You know what? That’s almost enough, in and of itself - for us, anyway; but there is more. When God does something for us, it IS for us but it’s for the benefit of others, as well.

“So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.” (Acts 9:35)

Aeneas had the option to disobey; we always do. He could have reasoned, “If I get up I might have to learn how to live again. I know how to survive as a paralytic beggar but I don’t know how to work like other men do. That’s scary! Maybe I should stay here on this mat. I know how to do that.”

Instead, he got up, walked in his new identity, and other people saw it - not just in Lydda but also in Sharon. It opened them up to the possibilities that come with being involved with Jesus. They turned to the Lord!

So, the man benefited from the healing and identity change and other people benefited but, most importantly, the Lord was building His kingdom person by person.

Let’s be encouraged, when the Lord touches us, to try to see it with supernatural eyes, to seek Him in it, to tap the mind of Christ, and to wonder: “What all will He accomplish through this touch?” Then, if we are tempted to hold onto that old identity, let’s abandon it for God’s glory.

Let’s ask the Lord to reveal which identities we carry that no longer apply to us so that we might discard them.

We’re no longer losers, addicts, drunks, rape or molestation victims, divorced people, rejected, or ex- anythings.

Let’s seize the identity that Jesus spent so dearly for us to have and live that out.

In Him we are beloved, whole, perfect, cherished, valuable, clean, healed, new, and alive.

I hope this has inspired you to “roll up your mat.” Once that is done, throw it away.

You don’t need it anymore.

Pastor Mike McInerney

Mike McInerney Ministries, Inc.

© June 10, 2019

(for use with permission)

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