“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us to develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.” Romans 5:3-4
I don’t know about you, but most times, when I’m in the middle of “yuck”, it’s hard for me to rejoice. I want to be able to. I want to stand confidently in my faith knowing God will pull me through this. But sometimes, that’s really hard for me.
I know that as a believer in Christ Jesus, my sin has been forgiven. The wall that once separated me from the true God has been torn down, destroyed because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. Because of this, nothing can separate me from God’s love. “Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow – not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love” (Rom 8:38).
But sometimes, when I’m in the middle of my yuck, I start rebuilding that wall all over again in my mind. As I look at the scattered stones from the wall Jesus destroyed – stones that represent my poor choices, my ugly attitude, my selfishness, my pride – my sin – I hear the enemy telling me to pick them back up.
And in these moments of brokenness, sometimes I do.
I pick up each stone, and relive that moment with all of its hurt and shame. I put each stone on top of the other until this “mental” wall is rebuilt. And then, I sit on one side, and God sits on the other… or at least that is the image the devil wants me to see.
The truth is, the wall is still destroyed. I’ve only rebuilt it in my mind.
To have a fresh vision – a vision focused on Jesus – I cannot continue building this wall. It will only block my eyes from seeing the true beauty of myself in Christ.
Instead, I must take all of these “mental blocks” captive and make them obedient to Christ. I cannot simply set them aside, because they will still be there. I cannot use these stones to build a wall between myself and my past, because it would prevent me from seeing and remembering all that Christ has saved me from.
So what do I do with these scattered stones?
I lay them flat behind me. When placed on the ground next to one another, they no longer tower over me, preventing me from seeing past them. They no longer obstruct my view of what’s in front of me, nor do they hinder my view of what’s behind me.
Instead, they lay out a path behind me. A path that symbolizes the problems and trials He has helped me to overcome. A path that reminds me of who I used to be and where I once was, but by the grace of God, I’m not any longer.
Now, when I look ahead, I can see clearly the cross before me, and the fresh vision of my Savior. And this my friends, is reason to rejoice!
Thank you so much for your sacrifice. Often times in the moment of my struggles, I forget to keep my eyes on you. My vision is blocked because of my mental defeat. Instead, Father, I ask for your help. Please help me to take captive every though and make it obedient to you. Be with me today, Lord, and grant me courage to finally lay these stones down behind me, and press forward into You.
In Your Precious and Holy Name,
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