by Pastor Tim Burt
Police sometimes make drivers who have appeared to be driving erratically, take a simple test; walking in a straight line. If I said to you, Take one step forward, you’d do it with no problem. If I said, Take one step backward, you again would do it with no problem. Most people know what it means to move forward or go backward. That is until they feel they’ve been hurt by people. When people feel hurt, betrayed, lied to, disappointed, discouraged from a broken promise, or left out and left behind, they struggle. Actually, for many people, struggle is too light of a word. Some people feel paralyzed and don’t know what to do or how to move forward from their hurt and pain.
A few years ago, I was experiencing a problem with my riding lawnmower. It was utterly dependable except for one small problem. Its right front tire leaked air slowly. It leaked air not because the tire was damaged but because the rim had a slight dent that allowed it to leak air. Every four or five times I used it, I had to re-inflate the tire. I let that go on for far too long. Finally, after being fed up, I did the work of finding a replacement rim and fixed it. It worked perfectly. Why did I ever let that go on and on?
This tire reminds me of many people’s lives. They have had something hurtful happen and suddenly their life has a slow leak. They don’t move forward. They try to maintain and do to a degree, but then slip backward until they have to fill their life’s tire a bit.
The enemy of your soul hates you. I have written about that many times. Jesus said that Satan’s desire is to kill, steal, and destroy. Satan would love to get you to curse God, and give up on Him. If you did that, then Satan would have succeeded in diminishing your trust and faith in God’s love and desire to help you. That would be a serious blow to your relationship with God and your confidence in being able to rely on His help. For those that this has happened to, their life has been more controlled by apprehension and fear. God has a world of faith adventures for us all. Fear will keep us from all the love and joy God wants to fill our lives with! God’s Word is filled with precious promises of His love, His hope, His help and protection, and a future, meaning a full and significant life that would bring you much joy. But, for you to experience that, you have to break free from the hurts, lies, disappointments, and bitterness that holds you back. You have to put the devil, unforgiveness, and past hurts and disappointments under your feet and move forward. This is what the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote, Philippians 3:14 (NLT) “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.”
Jesus understood heartache. His life of faithfulness to His Father filled His heart with His share of heartache—yet He always moved forward. The Bible doesn’t reveal a great deal about His relationship with His cousin John the Baptist, but I believe if we knew more, we’d find that they were the very definition of iron sharpening iron. I believe Jesus and John loved, talked about, and encouraged each other in the Word. When John was beheaded for following God instead of obeying Herod, the loss of his cousin John hurt Jesus’ heart dearly. We read in Matthew 14:13 (NIV) “When Jesus heard what had happened (regarding his cousin John,) He withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed Him on foot from the towns. “
Jesus barely had any time to mourn John’s death. The needs of people around Him were so great that He was back to ministering to them that very day. Jesus could have put His life on hold. People would have understood. He could have backed down from going to the cross. People would have understood. But He didn’t because He knew the Father needed Him. Jesus’ love for mankind was driving Him. He moved forward with His life and we are all blessed for it.
Hurt, disappointment, discouragement, and unforgiveness—so many things could be that slow leak that at best allows our life to maintain for a while but then go backward. That isn’t the plan of God! When the enemy comes against you, you make him pay so that what the devil meant for evil, is turned for good! Forgive because unforgiveness hurts you! Pray for others and trust God so that He can turn it for good. Have faith and trust God! That’s what champions do! They keep moving forward! They do because the love of God and for other people constrains them too! Let that describe you! Be that Champion for Christ that God made you to be!
Romans 8:28 (NKJV) “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt
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