Monday, January 30, 2017

The sin that holds you back

Our greatest struggle is with ourselves and our attitude.

Not other people, or lack of money, or opportunity, or your family of origin — not with birth order, race, gender, or where you live. None of these things can hold us back from living a life of purpose.

What holds us back is ourselves. Our habits, our negative thinking, our excuses, our fears, our whining, our lack of discipline, our fear of failure, our refusal to let go of the past, our unwillingness to forgive, our loss of hope and our lack of enthusiasm, our cup-half-empty view of the world… All these obstacles and more rest within us, not outside of us. They conspire against our dreams and our hopes for a future filled with God’s blessings.

There is an often-overlooked story in Mark 6, where Jesus goes back to his hometown of Nazareth. Now, I like going back to my hometown — people are excited to see me, and I, them. But when Jesus returned to his hometown, the people were rather cool and hands-off with him. Standing off in the distance, they gossiped about him: “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him (Mark 6:3).

Jesus came to bless them, and they missed their blessing because of one thing: a failure to humble themselves and believe in the person of Jesus. They were unwilling to embrace the gift he was offering. What was the result? “And he could do no deed of power there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and cured them. And he was amazed at their unbelief” (Mark 6:5-6). This same chill, disaffected attitude can infect churches, families, marriages — people in general.

We get so fixated on the tired old world as we know it, we’re blinded to the Kingdom and the Life that God keeps trying to show us. We literally cannot see the Light.

As we continue to walk through these early days of 2017, let’s bring a new attitude of faith in God. Let’s practice gratitude to God for all the many ways we are blessed. Let’s stop the negative thinking, the negative talking, and let us be thankful that the Lord is with us. God has great things in store for you through the gift of Christ our Lord.

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39).

Absolutely confident that our God is greater!

Pastor Ray Hylton