Stop Doing It Your Own Way

My Wednesday Night class of 4 year old children – 4th Grade have been studying the story of Naaman from 2 Kings 5:1-15 the last two weeks. We will spend one more Wednesday night with Naaman, yet I feel like I could spend a whole year with the story. There is so much good in Naaman’s story. As you recall, he’s a man with quite a bit of authority as the commander of the army for the king of Aram. “He was a great man in the sight of his master and highly regarded, because through him the Lord had given victory to Aram. He was a valiant soldier, but he had leprosy.” 1 Kings 5:1 This man was someone who gave orders, who through his leadership had earned the respect of his King and those he led into battle, and because of his position in life is not accustomed to needing help from other people. Now, he has an infectious skin disease, leprosy, and has become completely helpless. His world has turned upside down.

There is a captured Israelite servant girl who serves Naaman’s wife. In Naaman’s upside down world, a slave girl has compassion on him, and she tells Naaman’s wife about Elisha, the prophet, who is able to cure Naaman of his leprosy. In his desperation, Naaman receives clearance from the king to go to Israel. The king of Aram sends a whole bunch of money and clothes to the king of Israel in hopes of buying a cure for Naaman. The king of Israel overreacts and tears his clothes because he knows he can’t cure Naaman and fears for his kingdom. Elisha hears about the king’s temper tantrum and tells him to send Naaman to him. Elisha’s messenger tells Naaman to wash himself in the Jordan River 7 times and he will be cured of the leprosy. Naaman thinks this is a really silly idea and he is angry because he thinks he deserves a dramatic healing in the name of Elisha’s God. Instead he simply receives a message and Elisha doesn’t even give him this message in person, but through a messenger. This upside down world that God speaks into is not what Naaman expects for someone with his authority and greatness. He is not a humble man, yet his own servants, who live in constant humility, beg him to listen to Elisha and follow his command to wash in the Jordan River. So, in this upside down world story, Naaman submits to his servants, and washes in the Jordan River seven times, and he is healed of his leprosy. Even more impressive is his skin isn’t simply restored to the battle scars and skin of a long life, but his skin is clean and free of scars like a young boy.

One of my Kindergarten students, Lily, told my entire Wednesday night class last week that “the water didn’t heal Naaman, but God healed him through the water.” Not only did God heal Naaman through the water, but Naaman also learned there is only one God. If you are able, imagine being Naaman, a great leader of an army, who is infected with a horrible disease that will completely destroy his body, and through his helplessness submits to a captured servant girl, his wife, his own servants, Elisha, and finally the Lord God.

In Naaman’s upside down world, his leadership abilities don’t save him. In this present world where leadership is revered and coveted, may we learn to be awed by those who submit to the Lord, those who submit to one another out of love for Jesus, and those who lead us not by swords, but with humility and gentleness. As the Children’s Minister at Singing Oaks, my job description is to disciple children, but I know without a doubt, they are constantly shaping and forming my relationship with God. In an upside down world, we learn from those the world considers beneath us. Perhaps leadership is overemphasized in our world, and submission (giving up your own way) is a discipline we should seek instead in this upside down world of following Jesus. Naaman’s example of submission is truly beautiful. If he had tried to do it his own way, he would have died from leprosy and others wouldn’t have come to know the one true God.

Naaman’s life lesson to us is to stop trying to do it your own way. My favorite fitness instructor Alisa Keeton of Revelation Wellness says, “I can say, ‘for you Jesus and muscle my way through it, but that is not how God shows his power.’” God knows what is best for your life. Stop muscling your way through life, submit your life to God, and others will know God through your life.

Other Posts You Might Like:

Harvest Sunday - Ross Thomson

Under Construction - Nic Dunbar

Body Pain - Beau Davis

Make Disciples - Bob Bentley

G.O. There - Nic Dunbar



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McKinney at Cardinal

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Denton, TX 76209



Sunday Worship Schedule
9:30 - Worship (English Service)
10:10 - Bible Class (Birth to 8th grade following the Kid's church time until the end of service)
11:00 - Worship (Spanish Service)

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6:30 - Celebrate Recovery

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