What Hinders You?

Originally published Monday, 05 March 2012.

I was planning on starting the idevotion series about having intentional devotions, but felt something else bubble to the surface before we dive into this practical, tools type series.

I was thinking about the stuff that hinders our devotion to God. My husband preached a sermon on Sunday from Hebrews 12 - about running with endurance and throwing off the distractions and sin that keep us from God’s high calling. And that is what set the wheels in my head to turning.

Some of us get weighed down in our pursuit after God because of all the great things going on in our lives. We get distracted away from the Blesser because of all the blessings. The job, the kids, the vacation won’t take care of themselves - and we end up putting more energy into those things than we do in seeking God. Some of us get weighed down in our pursuit after God simply because we don’t know how to “do” it differently. I spoke with a woman not too long ago who said she was very faithful to read her Bible and later in the conversation I came to understand she meant she was faithful to bring her Bible to church and read along with the pastor. If we don’t know how to dig in, sometimes we just don’t. Others of us get weighed down because we get overwhelmed, confused, hurt. That tends to be me more than I care to admit. Most people say that in times of trouble they run to God. In times of trouble my faith is tested and I am tempted to question the faithfulness and goodness of my Father’s character. It’s as if I stand there with my mouth wide open looking at life and God and just can’t get past the, “How could all this happen?” And it weighs down my ability to study and pray. It’s not the right way to respond, but I’m still a work in progress...

The potential to get bogged down with the unanswered questions and disappointments isn’t unique to people who walk with God. And if you’re in that boat, I hope today’s post is an encouragement to you!

Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego were tossed into a fiery furnace and miraculously delivered. But before the furnace event, they’d been kidnapped and forcibly made eunuchs as teenagers (the age is assumed by Bible scholars, we don’t know for sure). They’d already been through one “fire” before the furnace experience - a fire that they weren’t delivered from like I am sure they were praying for. They stayed steadfast to God through all of that and saw His hand and glory because they stayed faithful long enough.

Paul suffered all manner of set-backs to his service to God - he’d been beaten, threatened, shipwrecked, had a physical ailment, was imprisoned numerous times, had a band of nay-sayers that followed him on missionary journeys with the intent of discrediting and uprooting all his labors for the Gospel. He didn’t sit there and bemoan his lot or wonder why in the world God let all of that happen. He got up. He kept preaching to anyone who would listen. He saw God’s faithfulness as he stayed faithful to the One who had called him.

Abraham picked up his life and wife and went on a faith-trekking adventure. But the adventure wasn’t all wind-in-your-hair inspiring. There was drought, there were questions, there was emotional/relational disappointments that made big rifts in the fabric of his life. But he was faithful. Til the end.

Job had all his children and livelihood stripped from him in a day. He was stricken head to foot was sores. There were questions. Lots of questions. But his heart stayed the course and he was found immovably faithful to his Lord. It was after that horrible season in his life that God brought more blessing than he could have imagined.

If you sense the heart of your devotion to the Lord is waning because you came to an impasse with more faith questions than answers, you’re not alone. May the life examples of these heroes of our faith stir us on to follow God through the valleys.

Today I am praying for all of us who have let discouragement throw a wet blanket on our devotion to God that He might grant us a fresh heart of desire to seek His face.

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Looking for more encouragement in your walk with God?

Check out Walking with Jesus 101: One Hundred and One Days of Devotionals to Strengthen your Walk with God

Most of us have wished for a Cinderella moment when we could step into a new pair of shoes and in the blink of an eye have our lives transformed. Or, perhaps like Dorothy, we wish we could close our eyes, click our heels and find ourselves instantly transported away from the adventure we accidentally got dropped into. While it might not come from new shoes or heel clicking, God knows our need for a changed life and fresh start! Discover the life transformation that happens when you say "Yes" to God and step into His fullness. Walking with Jesus 101 is a collection of devotionals journeying through the Scriptures that point our feet to God's pathway for living. What walk of obedience, leap of faith or stand of endurance might God be calling you to? He has good things stored up for His children who eagerly seek His highway for living!