Wednesday, April 22, 2015

what are you holding onto that is keeping you from God?

Question: What are you holding onto that is keeping you from God?

Question: What weights are you carrying that, if freed up, would allow you more time, more focus, and more energy for the benefit of His throne?

Question: What tangible goods, selfish habits, and negative thoughts have monopolized your soul and stopped you from spiritual progress?

We all have weight to lose.  For some it is merely physical - which, let's face it, is hard enough.  But for most, we also cling to our own internal and external clutter.  Saving all our stuff for an ambiguous "later" timeframe to tend to.  Holding on tightly to our stored up piles of "fat" because we fear the future unknown, the unfamiliar, the uncomfortable.

I am at fault in this.  By nature, I am a planner and project manager.  Of course, alone there is nothing wrong with being either of these things.  However, I've noticed that if left to my own devices, I can turn these positive abilities into negative, fear-igniting rabbit trails.  I can easily fall into thinking, "What if this or that happens down the road and I'm caught unprepared?  What if I will need?  What if... what if... what if?..."  Then I worry, store up, and attempt to hang onto anything that will help me take control of a future scenario that may or may not occur.  I cling to what feels comfortable and dig my nails deep into memories and traditions that seem safe.  But am I trusting God?

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. (James 4:13-17)

I can also overexert myself with too many hobbies, interests, memories, and desires.  For example, I love knitting, painting, photography, reading... the list goes on.  Now, there is nothing wrong in enjoying these outlets in general and when time truly permits.  But when I allow such enjoyments to turn into hoarded stations of to do's that weigh down my home, my budget, my time, my ministry... well, then they no longer remain a relaxing hobby, do they?  Instead they become excessive loads that stress and wear me down.  Without faith-filled discipline, these interests can easily rule my thoughts, my schedule, and monopolize my space.  They can overtake my life and discourage my heart.  This is not how God intends for any of us to live, folks.  Without the wisdom of Christ to simplify and prioritize our comings and goings, these once relaxing and rejuvenating outlets can quickly turn into nooses around the neck.

I'm not alone in this issue.  I have friends who are overwhelmed by mountains of photo albums and scrapbooking supplies.  I know others who stash their homes full of trinkets, tickets, and what-not's associated with childhood memories.  They keep these things, not because they are particularly special or necessary, but because they feel heavy guilt in letting them go.  Some have too many books to read.  Some have boxes of half-started projects to complete.  The list of "weights" can go on and on, can't it?  But are these weights holding us back from what God calls us toward, friends?  Are they cluttering, stifling, and slowing our pace... preventing us from moving forward while enjoying and sharing the true freedom of Christ in our lives TODAY?  Surely we must be careful to know where our treasure truly is while remaining good stewards of the resources we have been granted.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)

And what about our thought life?  So often, we cling to inaccurate ideas about ourselves and others because they are familiar.  We linger in former brokenness with feelings of loneliness, laziness, lustfulness, and limitedness when instead, God calls us to move confidently forward in His grace.  He invites us to live free in His care.  To look only to Him.  To believe and have faith in His Way.  And as we walk alongside His narrow path, He offers to take on our burdens and lighten our loads.  He is a Redeemer who wants to relieve and bless us.  He is a King who wants to remove all trouble, weight, and worry.  So why are we still holding on to anything outside of His glory?

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. (Hebrews 3:1-6)

Think about it.  What do we really need outside of Jesus this very day?  I'm certain that boxes and loads of "stuff" accumulating in our basements, attics, and/or garages are not the answer.  I'm also certain that negative talk and habits of hopelessness are not of Him either.  No, our Master is the God who promotes order and peace.  He is straightforward and holy.  He is truth, light, and hope.  He is able to restore, renew, and revive us... FOREVER IN HIS PRESENCE!

Question: How complicated have we allowed our lives to become - ingesting and clinging to heavy loads of earthly crap that burdens us away from God's healthy eternity?

By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved - even though only as one escaping through the flames.  Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? (1 Corinthians 3:10-16)

Dear Christians, I encourage you to join me in rededicating yourself to the discipline of throwing off every weight, every load, every burden, every distraction, every unhealthy habit in Jesus Name.  Lay it all aside.  Give it up.  Get it out.  Surrender it now.  You need not carry or store this baggage any longer.  Stop subscribing to false securities, distracting thoughts, or would-be possibilities.  All that matters is Christ and the road He has you traveling on TODAY.  Everything else is destined for moths, rust, and thieves to soon enough destroy.

So... LET. IT. GO.  

Give it all up as fast as you are able, and run with endurance down the path God wishes for you to build upon His steadfast foundation.   His Word is the priority to know and share.  His Son is the focus to look upon and mirror.  His Kingdom is all that really matters in life... the NEW LIFE that you truly seek.  No profit, no project, no possession, and no other path can compare to God's perfect peace.  Let Him pioneer your steps, your plans, your future.

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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. (Hebrews 12:1-2a)

Question: What are you holding onto that is keeping you from God?

Question: How urgently will you surrender and throw off every weight in order to gain closeness with The King of kings?

“Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’” (Jonah 2:8-9)

Blessings!

Victoria

© The Devoted Woman | Victoria Anderson

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