Breakthrough is an act or instance of moving through or beyond and obstacle. The idea of a "breakthrough" suggests a preceding struggle that finally peaks and finds resolution. Literally it is just like the word sounds - a breaking through. Whenever something has a strong hold on us, a breakthrough is needed.
If you've had the same New Year's resolution for several years in a row and seen little results, a breakthrough might be needed. If you find yourself trying and failing and trying and failing in one specific area, a breakthrough might be needed. If you have just flat out given up on something in your life, a breakthrough is probably needed.
We were not created to be strongly held by anything other than Jesus. You are positioned for breakthrough the minute you realize the key to your breakthrough lives within you. Your ability to overcome what's has a hold on you will not be found in your trying harder or doing better. They way to demolishing strongholds is different than you might think.
2 Corinthians 10:3-4, “3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Strongholds start in our minds. When we plant our feet in a lie, we then pivot our lives from that lie and essentially strengthen the hold the enemy has on us. If I plant my foot in a lie - a wrong belief about God, myself or others - then I will pivot from that lie as I go about my life.
What I pivot from has a stronghold on me because it works as a foundation for what I build on and wrong thinking builds a foundation that leads to wrong living.
When you think about the breakthrough you need this year, you have to know- it's not dependent upon you trying harder or doing better. Breakthrough isn't your battle, it is your blessing. It's your birthright. He's invited you to this independent of what you can or cannot do.
Your breakthrough - that thing you need freedom from - it isn’t dependent upon a shift in your ability - it’s dependent upon a shift in your dependability
There's a story in the John 5, where an invalid guy has sat beside a pool thought to bring healing for 38 years of his life. Talk about needing a breakthrough. This guy hoped that one day he would be the first in the water when the angel came down and stirred the water. Jesus comes to the pool, known as the pool of Bethesda, walks right up to this man and asks him, "do you want to be well?" The man comes back to Jesus with all of the reasons why he could not be well. How he never has anyone to help him into the pool and so he misses out on breakthrough every single time.
Jesus's response, "pick up your mat and walk."
Jesus didn't ask him why he hadn't been healed, he asked him if he wanted to be healed?
Here's what I see when I look at this passage in regards to our own personal breakthroughs and the question Jesus has for many of us today.
1.) First, we must honestly answer Jesus's question, "do you want to get well?"
Obviously Jesus knows the answer to this. Everyone gathered around the pool needed healing. They were sitting there waiting for their breakthrough to come, waiting for the water to stir. Jesus asked a question with an obvious answer and he went to one of the men who had perhaps been sitting there the longest.
Those places you think you will never find healing. Those lies you believe you will always pivot from. Those are the exact places he stands before you today asking if you want to be well. Nothing is impossible for the one who recognizes who is asking the question.
2.) Second, with Jesus in front of us, we must realize our breakthrough stops being about our outer circumstances and starts being about our inner connection.
Jesus can do anything. His words could usher in healing in an instant. Thirty-eight years was a drop in the bucket for the God of the universe. The invalid man had to reckon with the answer to Jesus's question; did he want to be well, or did he want to sit in the known comfort of his dysfunction.
As this man sat before Jesus the stronghold in his mind was that he needed something he didn’t already have standing right in front of him. We know this because his answer wasn't “yes, heal me,” it was a list of all the reasons he hadn't received healing.
When we misplace responsibility for our spiritual breakthrough we find ourselves by the pool waiting for what we need rather than standing up and living from what we already have.
The man had become comfortable in his stronghold. The community around him allowed him to sit in a place of brokenness instead of helping him move into a place of healing. The community who has allowed you to stay in bondage all of your life is probably not the community that will also lead you to your breakthrough. The place that made you weak will not likely be the place that makes you strong. This man had to get up to find his place of healing.
Jesus was the only answer this man needed and his question was not about his situation it was about his surrender. Would he let go of what he knew, of what made sense and of how he thought this would play out to embrace where he was invited?
3.) The time for breakthrough is always NOW
For you to grasp the full power to his point you need to read the passage through yourself.
John 5:2-8, “2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 4 [b] 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
Notice verse 4 - in most versions of Scripture you will see that verse 4 has been omitted. The b after verse 4, will lead you to the bottom of the page where it would say this:
“For an angle of the Lord went down at certain seasons into the pool, and stirred the water; whoever stepped in first after the stirring of the water was healed of whatever disease he had.”
Verse 4 was added in at a later date to explain why these people were waiting by the pool. And here's why that's important to us - Jesus came to breakthrough old religion. The idea that these healings were dependent upon something else happening is foolish.
Jesus put a stop to religion. The Gospel message does not require you bring anything to the table. It simply says, "be an available participant." These people, this man, they were waiting for God to do something. Jesus is what God did. God sent his son so we could walk in health, healing and wholeness. He's already done it. There is not reason to sit in a stronghold when we've been invited into freedom.
Jesus put a stop to your waiting.
So maybe you stop waiting for that person to change
Stop waiting for that scenario to play out
Stop waiting for your kid to sleep
Stop waiting for your other kid to go to college
Stop waiting till you get older, you make more money, you have more time
What if you stopped waiting and started embracing the Jesus standing before you with your breakthrough in hand. Stand up, take your mat and walk.
The man's healing came in his action. He showed what he wanted by what he did. Had he sat there he would have missed healing. But he took a step. He dug in and decided to do something with his body and ultimately he walked himself into his freedom.
You don't have to beg God for what he's already bought you.
You don't have to wait for the walls to fall down when he's handed you the key to the door.
Jesus stands before you this new year and asks the same question, "do you want to get well?" How are you going to answer?