Saturday, January 26, 2013
Living a Life Unhindered
Due to my Bible study, Layers, just having been released, I felt as if God wanted me to talk about all the things that hinder. You know, those burdens we often carry around which leave us feeling weighed down and powerless.
I opened up with the example of a game that was out on the market years ago called The Last Straw game. The object was to place colored straws in baskets on this poor little plastic camel's back. Because he was held together in the middle by a rubber band, eventually one of the players would put a straw in the basket that would bend him in two, literally breaking his back.
I described our lives as being somewhat like that camel. We often say, "If one more person needs something of me today...," or "If God puts one more thing on my plate, I'm gonna..." You know what I'm talking about. The stresses can be so great, yet our God whispers, "Give me your burdens. I'm big enough to handle them."
Hebrews 12:1 says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."
In essence, God is saying, "You know what? You are carrying around things that should be at the foot of my cross. Lay them down, for I have a race for you to run."
So what are some of our burdens? Well, for instance, things I have dealt with include: fear, unforgiveness, worry, grief, doubt, perfectionism, and sin - sometimes mine, other times caused by someone else. I've become so good at balancing this stack of burdens that people around me don't even seem to notice.
The Bible describes a widow woman in 1 Kings 17:7-24, hindered by so many unseen burdens. Without her knowledge, God had "commanded" her to provide food for His prophet, Elijah. Funny thing is, she thought she was about to make her last meal for her son and herself then die. She had no idea who this God was that had her in His sights. The widow was carrying around an arm-load of burdens, and the God who created her was about to step in and take control of her load.
God presented her a choice (as He often does with us): she could either make her meal and die, or obey Him and discover great blessings. Thankfully she chose the latter.
Over time, she forgot God's kindness towards her and His provision. Her son became sick and died, and she again questioned God, immediately feeling as if it were repercussion for her sin. Quickly, more burdens were beginning to expose themselves.
In a matter of minutes, Elijah whisked her son away to an upstairs room and prayed for God to have mercy and restore him to life. And...He answered. Once again, He displayed His love and mercy for this poor widow woman.
Yet, I believe the pivotal moment of truth came when she declared, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth." Her King had stepped in and cut her loose from the sin and snares that entrapped her in a faithless love. She was about to get her running shoes and God's Saints were cheering her on.
"Now I know...the truth." She finally realized and embraced God's truth. He had been there all along as she carried her burdens, just waiting for her to release them.
Friends, I don't know what burdens you are carrying around today, but God says, "Hand them over to me and be free! I have a race for you to run...unhindered.
Lay 'em down. He's right there waiting.