“Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not fully straighten herself. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said to her, “Woman, you are freed from your disability.” And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.” Luke 13:10-13 ESV
The alarm clock gave my usual 5 a.m. wake up call. I started my daily routine, but something didn’t feel quite right. I couldn’t identify exactly what it was, but I just felt a little worse than the day before.
The next day the alarm sounded again, and again I felt a little worse than the day before.
And the next day, a little worse.
And the next day,
and the next.
Until one day, I discovered getting out of bed had turned into a battle. A temporary physical problem had persisted, and wasn’t improving. But it was more than that. Something seemed to be affecting my spirit as well.
Have you ever been in that place?
Then you understand why the woman in Luke 13 went to the synagogue on the Sabbath to see Jesus.
“Now he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the Sabbath. And behold, there was a woman who had had a disabling spirit for eighteen years.” (v.10-11)
Disabling spirits can affect us physically, but sometimes this type of spirit wants to debilitate us in other ways.
A disabling spirit can undermine our thoughts.
…weaken our will.
…damage our determination.
…take away our hope.
Oh, and they’re sly too. They don’t hit all at once. That would be too obvious. They creep in one small step at a time, not alerting us to anything unusual. So if we aren’t prepared, we leave ourselves open to their sneak attacks.
So what do we do when a disabling spirit threatens us? How do we gain freedom from its hold?
The woman in Luke 13 knew. And from her brief but powerful story, we can learn how to break free from any spirit that tries to disable us.
1. Don't wait for the right time to take action.
After Jesus healed the woman, the ruler of the synagogue spoke to the people, “There are six days in which work ought to be done. Come on those days and be healed, and not on the Sabbath day.” (v.14)
The woman came to the synagogue on the Sabbath. Jesus was there. She could have gone home and waited for the appropriate time to return. But with Jesus, there’s no reason to wait. Jesus’ promises are unchanging and always available to us.
2. Don't listen to negative people.
A wise person once said, “Negativity breeds negativity.” So the best way for us to protect our spirits is to guard against negative talk.
“But the ruler of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath…” (emphasis mine).
Have you ever met an indignant person? Then you know exactly how the woman felt when, in the middle of her joy, those negative words came spewing out. It could’ve ruined the moment, but she didn’t let it. She chose to listen to Jesus instead.
3. Untie your ox.
“Does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from the manger and lead it away to water it? And ought not this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom satan bound for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” (v.15)
Sometimes we get used to that disabling spirit. Even though we don’t want it around, we’ve just grown accustomed to it being there. But the weight it adds gets heavier and heavier each day.
Let’s make a decision today to release the weight. Commit to letting it go. Lift it from around our necks and see how lighthearted we feel.
Let’s untie our ox and release what’s keeping us bound.
4. Glorify God.
“And he laid his hands on her, and immediately she was made straight, and she glorified God.” (v.13)
We always have time to praise our Lord.
The woman in our story today knew this. And once we plant it deep in our spirits, we can praise our way through any struggle.
Have you sensed a disabling spirit trying to work its way into your life? Are you feeling overwhelmed and unable to deal with the weight of it?
Let’s agree together right now to take these lessons from the woman with the disabling spirit and apply them to our own lives.
With Jesus we have the strength to overcome it and live daily in freedom.