Why is it that when you try to move forward it seems like you are pulled backward? Have you experienced this? Maybe you've decided to improve your health or financial situation only to face a challenge that makes it worse. Or you have decided to overcome a repetitive sin habit only to continue to give in.
It's most likely a heart belief. There is no global conspiracy to sabotage your life. There is no one waiting around the corner to cause you to fail. You can't even really blame the devil because all he can do is lie to you and present short cuts. There is only what you allow yourself to believe and the decisions you make.
Look at what happened to Jesus when he started his ministry.
“Luke 3:21 When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened 22 and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” 23 Now Jesus himself was about thirty years old when he began his ministry. He was the son, so it was thought, of Joseph, ….
When it was time for Jesus to begin his ministry, which was to be the Messiah and establish a new covenant through his death, burial and resurrection, the enemy challenged his identity.
“Luke 4:1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry. 3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” 4 But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ “ 5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. 6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish. 7 Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.” 8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ “ 9 Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. 10 For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you, To keep you,’ 11 “and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ “ 12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ “ 13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
The same thing will happen to you. The truth is it doesn't matter if it's the devil or your own heart, your identity will be challenged when you step into a new area of life.
When you are inspired and begin to move forward, you are going to stretch out of your normal routines and increase the capacity of your heart. Your heart will need to increase in capacity because you're going to need grace to accomplish something you've never done or sustain something you've tried in the past.
“Enlarge the place of your tent (heart), stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.
— Isaiah 54:2
Your hopes and dreams to influence people with the Gospel are an invitation from God to walk in something that's bigger than yourself. Your passion and love for people is the very heart of God desiring to love people through you and bring them into a deeper relationship with him. The burdens you feel for those less fortunate or suffering around you are God's spirit crying out from your inner man to increase His kingdom and set people free from sin and death. Like Jesus, when you step out, you will be challenged.
But it's OK. God is with you, he will confirm His Word and he will strengthen you as you go. Commit to a transformative process that's rooted in establishing your heart in your identity in Christ and expect God to do amazing things through you!
LIFE GROUP DISCUSSION
In the past weeks I've been teaching on the idea of your calling being defined by your love for people. It's now time to overcome the inertia and move forward in your calling. By now you should have identified "WHO YOU LOVE." Now you get to answer the questions, how will I love them and what do I need to love them?
IN FULFILLING YOUR CALLING, THE WHO DETERMINES THE WHAT AND HOW
- Do you feel like you take one step forward and two steps back when you're trying to move beyond your everyday responsibilities?
- Do you recognize any patterns when you feel like you're going backward? (such as an old sin arises, you get sick or your car breaks down, etc...)
- What will be your strategy to affirm your identiy in Christ when you feel like you're losing ground after making a decision to move forward?