Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hinderances

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio


How big is your giant hinderance?
Hebrews 12:1

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.








There are some things that hinder us from making progress spiritually.
Here are a few bible examples for you to consider.

First there is Lots wife. The place where they live has become so wicked that God has decided its time to wipe them off the map. Abraham pleads with God that if he can find 10 righteous to spare it and with hold the judgement due. God finds only four. Lot and his wife and two daughters. From my reading they are not exactly spiritual giants there story is a bit dicy in places and Lot seems to me to be a pretty carnal minded guy. At one point the whole land is before him and he must choose which way he will go because he and Abraham must part ways. He chooses the most lush and easy lands and heads off to the good life.  I suppose the easy and hard path is another post. For today in this story, Lot and his family are rushed out of town by some angels and told don't look back. Lot's wife is lured by the old life and looks back and does not escape and becomes a pillar of salt. Worldly captivation prevents her escape.  (Ge 19::26) Is there some part of the old life that still tempts and lures you away from the things of God?


Another hinderance is that of David in 1 Samuel 17:39  David is about to face the giant and he goes to the king with his crazy faith. Saul said to David, “Go, and the LORD be with you.”
 38 Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. 39 David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Ok so he is only briefly hindered here - but there is a lesson to be learned. We are hindered when we attempt to use the things that God has given to another to equip them rather than use what he has given us. Was it the stone that killed the giant or David's faith that God was able? Is God bigger than the giant you are facing?


People who are discouraged can oppose us as they did in the building of the wall of Jerusalem in Nehemiah 4. 10 Meanwhile, the people in Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is giving out, and there is so much rubble that we cannot rebuild the wall.” 11 Also our enemies said, “Before they know it or see us, we will be right there among them and will kill them and put an end to the work.”
 12 Then the Jews who lived near them came and told us ten times over, “Wherever you turn, they will attack us.” 13 Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows. 14 After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” When we are discouraged we don't get much done. Nehemiah takes some precautions by posting people in key places and giving them the tools they needed to stand their ground. He speaks to them and reminds them to remember the Lord. If you are fighting discouragement today remember the things God has done before and pray and ask Him to cause courage and faith to rise up in you. Put on the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

In Matthew 13 even Jesus was hindered by the unbelief of the towns folks in his home town of Nazareth. They just could not get past seeing him as Joseph and Marys son.  Some times we have to go beyond the familiar to find people who can see the calling of God on our life. I know when we used to travel and do concerts we were no big deal in our home town but go about 50 miles away and you suddenly became a big deal. Great people of faith that had come to bring the message of God. 

In the story of the rich young ruler it is his possessions that keep him from following Jesus. In our day and age it might be that fancy tv or your computer or all the stuff you've bought on credit and now have to work extra hours to pay off leaving you little or no time for God and kingdom work.

Sometimes our worry and the problems we imagine hinder us. In Mark 16:3-4 Mary and the girls want to go and put spices and anoint the body of Jesus and they worry along the way about how they will move the big stone at the entrance.  Sometimes God has already take care of the problem and we have spent energy worrying that was unnecessary.

Well that should be enough for you to chomp on today. Our verse reminds us to throw those weights and hinderances and the sin that so easily entangles off. Are there thing that are hinderances that you need to deal with? Ask God to help you see them and to help you find the courage to deal with those things. So you can move on in your walk and growth in Him.

Prayer
Dear Lord,
Help us to see the things that stand between us and more fully following you in your plans and purposes. Help us to examine our lives and deal with the sins that easily entangle us. Help us not go back to the old dead ways and habits but continue to walk in greater freedom in you.

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