All of us get the wheels of our lives stuck in ruts from time to time. That’s given. The real issue is “How do I get out of my rut?”
I’d like share a story about a man who was in about the deepest rut anyone could ever experience. His name was Bartimaeus and he was a blind beggar who lived in the ancient city of Jericho. You’ll find his story in your Bible at Mark 10:46-52. I encourage you to pause and read it.
Allow me to tell you what kind of rut this man was in. First, he was blind. A blind man in those days couldn’t work. He couldn’t read or write. There was no brail writing. He couldn’t even get around a “seeing eye dog.” In that day dogs were considered unclean animals to the Jews. Secondly, he was reduced to begging. A man in his condition, unless he had relatives to support him, could do little else but sit near a popular thoroughfare and cry out, “Alms, Alms for the poor!” Thirdly, he was an object of pity. I say that because that was what was behind making a living for him. It was only by soliciting the sympathy of others that he could survive. He probably got pretty good at what he did. Finally, his life was reduced to those last four words of verse 46: “sitting by the road.” That was his rut. Blind. Begging. Pitied. Sitting by the road. For most people such obstacles would be considered inescapable.
But Bartimaeus got out! The purpose of his story is to show you and me how he did it and how we can get out of our rut, too.
- Take the Initiative
In verse 47 of this story, it says, “And when he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Right away, we see that Bartimaeus took the initiative himself to cry out to Jesus. This is a very important observation. Often times, we stay in a rut because it’s comfortable, it’s safe and we feel secure. But if we want to get out of the rut, we have to first decided to take the initiative. We have to say to ourselves, “I’m moving on. I’m getting help. I’m going to change.” This leads us to step two.
2. Believe you can change
For Bartimaeus, it took real bible believing faith to get up and move toward Jesus. But, he did and Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.”
Where does this kind of faith come from? It’s certainly not a “leap in the dark.” Faith must be based upon some evidence. Notice that phrase in verse 47, “And when he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out…” That implies some recognition – that Bartimaeus had some prior knowledge that Jesus could heal.
Where does your faith come from? Can you recall a past experience where Jesus was faithful to His word? And isn’t Jesus the same today as He was yesterday? Then, take the initiative and believe with Christ’s help you can change.
3. Identify your real need
In verse 51, Jesus asked Bartimaeus, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
Every time I read this type of question asked by Jesus, it makes me chuckle. Jesus already knows what we need. So why ask? He asks for our benefit. Sometimes, we don’t know what our needs are. I think we get preoccupied with the “how.” “How am I going to get out of this rut” becomes our question instead of asking, “What do I really need?”
What do you need? … a job, better health, transportation, peace, financial security? When Jesus asked Bartimaeus what he wanted, Bartimaeus replied, ““Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!”
4. Stop listening to others
Have you noticed that most people are pessimist? Look what the people surrounding Bartimaeus say to him in verse 48.
“And many were sternly telling him to be quiet.”
Sad, isn’t it. I’m guessing since most people who drag themselves out of a rut eventually crawl right back in, others don’t dare risk cheering them on. Cheering for them would be like predicting a victory over the pit. If the person fails, they risk being laughed at. So, they opt for the winning side and concluded you’ll never make it. Doing so discourages you.
Don’t listen to the crowd that is discouraging you. Listen to those who are cheering you on!
5. Stop waiting for the ideal circumstances—Make Your Move
The ideal circumstance will never come until you decide to make a move. Think about it. What were the chances that a blind man would gain the attention of Jesus surrounded by a crowd of people? Not much. Bartimaeus could have made excuses.
“This isn’t the right day.” “He has too many other people to deal with.” “I shouldn’t bother him.” “I’ll try again, tomorrow when he’s not so busy.”
NO! Bartimaeus don’t make excuses. He didn’t procrastinate. “Casting aside his cloak, he jumped up, and came to Jesus” (v 50).
What a bold move! What gave him the courage? He wanted out of his rut! What about you? Do you want out of your rut? If so, stop waiting for the right circumstances. Make a bold move today.
I hope this has encouraged you today. Perhaps it’s given you a fresh perspective or a even a plan for getting out of your rut. I want to do more. I’d love to pray for you. If you’re in a rut and just need to know someone is praying for you today, leave a comment. You don’t have to share your situation if you don’t want to. It can be as short as “pray for me.”
God loves you and He desire’s your freedom.