What's Holding You Back?

Dear Friends,

Along my journey with God there have been times when I've felt that there is something holding me back from his calling on my life.  Do you ever feel like that, or am I the only one?

Breaking what is holding you back
There can be various things in my life that work to hold me back from fulfilling God's plan for me.  Sometimes I can be the cause, something in me which is holding me back from moving forward. Sometimes it may be because I'm listening to others rather than listening to God. Sometimes it can be connected to my circumstances and at other times it's the devil.  He doesn't mind it when I'm a lethargic Christian, when I'm all talk and no action because I'm no threat then.  But the moment you and I say yes to God and begin to do something for God, that's when the devil gets worried.  The last thing he wants is Christians who are active for God, who are obedient to God's word and who are influencing others for God.  That's when he gets involved and will do whatever is in his means to stop us and hold us back from living out God's plan for us.

I find it helpful to look at what is holding me back and consider what I can do to remedy this.  Let's look at some of these things together:

1. My fears can hold me back.  They tell me I'm not capable of accomplishing what God has set before me, they tell me the task is too big, that it will be a failure.  When I focus on these fears, which can begin as small concerns, they become bigger, seemingly insurmountable fears.  I need to break the power of these fears by replacing them with truths from God's word.  I need his word rooted in my heart.  I need to remember that I cannot accomplish anything on my own "But with God everything is possible." Matthew 19:26b (NLT)  In 1 Corinthians 1:26-27 it says "26 Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 27 But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong."  (NIV)  God has deliberately chosen ordinary people like you and me, so that his power and strength will be evident in our weakness and limitations.

2. My doubts can hold me back.  Over time I can begin to doubt that I really heard from God what I thought I did.  If I focus on these doubts I begin to believe that I got it wrong or I made a mistake in thinking God would chose me for a purpose.  When these doubts surface I need to break any hold they have over me by taking them to God and asking him to remind me and reassure me that he has called me and that I did heard him correctly the first time.  He replaces my doubt with confidence in him and in his word. "Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God." 2 Corinthians 3:4-5 (NIV)  This is one of the reasons I keep a journal of what I hear from God, so that when doubts come I can refer back to what he has said to me and remind myself of it.  This helps to break the power that my doubts can have over me. 

3.  Listening to other people can hold me back.  The things they say can stop me from walking the path God has set before me.  What they say can often make more sense from a human point of view than what God has said.  I can begin to think they know better than me and that I ought to listen to them.  It can be hard to go against the crowd, to stand out and be different.  This is where I need to rely on my faith in God and keep a close relationship with him so that I don't waiver.  You can just hear the confidence in Paul's voice as he writes to Timothy: "I know the one in whom I trust, and I am sure that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until the day of his return." 2 Timothy 1:12b (NLT)  I also really like it in the Amplified Version: "I know (perceive, have knowledge of, and am acquainted with) Him Whom I have believed (adhered to and trusted in and relied on), and I am [positively] persuaded that He is able to guard and keep that which has been entrusted to me and which I have committed [to Him] until that day."

4. The devil will use everything he can to hold me back.  In Matthew 4:1-11 you can read the account of how the devil tried to stop Jesus from doing God's will by placing various temptations in his path.  Jesus resisted the devil by the power of God's word.  

In Matthew 16 the devil again tried to stop Jesus from doing the will of God.  Jesus explained to his disciples that he would suffer much, and that he would be killed on a cross but that three days later he would be raised to life.  Jesus recognised that the devil was speaking through Peter when 22 Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!” 23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Matthew 16:22-23 (NIV)

We need to recognise the devil's schemes and "Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour." 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT) 

We also need to remember that we too can resist and overcome the devil because of God living in us.  In 1 John 4:4 we read "But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world." (NLT)

Jesus purposely followed God's will and let nothing hold him back from accomplishing God's will.  So when we realise that there is something trying to keep us from living for God, let's deal with the issue and follow Christ's example.  Then we can move forward with our hearts set on doing God's will.

To Think About:
What is holding you back from doing what God has called you to?

How can you deal with this?  How can you overcome what is holding you back so that you can continue on your journey?



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