(The following is the devotionals I sent out to our women’s small group for the week.)
If you were in church this weekend, you heard Pastor Brad share about the pursuit of Jesus. (If you missed it, you can watch it here: http://www.tworiverschurch.org/699277.ihtml.) Jesus’ invitation to ‘come after Him’ calls us to pursue Him with the same intensity found in romantic love.
Just as in a romantic relationship we wouldn’t let anything get in the way of our pursuit of that person, we shouldn’t let anything get in the way of our pursuit of Jesus.
So what barriers do you need to knock down? Do you need to lay down your fear? Sacrifice your pride? Surrender your time? Trust Him fully with the plans He has laid out in front of you? Is there a person you have put in place of Jesus?
Or do you need to go back to do the things you did at first, a time when you felt much joy in your relationship with Jesus?
Sometimes breaking down a barrier is easy. One choice, one action, one prayer and it’s done. Sometimes it takes more work. If that is the case, ask Him what the first step is you need to take. Then, step out into obedience.
Now share your barrier with someone. Barriers lose power over us when they are brought into the light. Find someone you can tell about your barrier, and then your plan to remove it. Don’t skip this step, this is important. James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” Anything that gets in the way of following Jesus can be a sin. So confess that barrier, that sin, to a friend.
It is likely that you will find that a friend has been through something similar. Often we deal with things so that we can then turn around to help someone else.
Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” ― C.S. Lewis
We need the support of understanding friends who can walk along with us as we learn to break these barriers down; or someone who can encourage us and cheer us on as we step out into obedience.
Ecclesiastes 4 –
9 Two are better than one,
because they have a good return for their work:
10 If one falls down,
his friend can help him up.
But pity the man who falls
and has no one to help him up!
11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
But how can one keep warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered,
two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.
When we have a three-corded strand of us, Jesus, and a friend, we will not be broken down by the barriers that stand in front of us. We can break down any barrier and run after Him.
I had forgiven my dad. But the Lord kept telling me to go home and talk to him. When I finally gave in, I knew that I had to knock down this barrier of fear in order to actually follow through with it. So I asked a few trusted friends in my small group to be praying for me during the up-coming week and weekend. I knew that if I didn’t have prayer covering, the enemy would convince me to chicken out. But with their prayers, and Jesus beside me, I knocked down that barrier of fear. And though I had broken through the barrier of unforgiveness, while I was at it, I kicked a few more of those stones over to make sure they were good and fallen over.
And by being obedient to breaking down those barriers, I got to experience the joy of feeling the Father’s pleasure in me. And it cleared a path for me to get to know Him as Abba at a more intimate level because my relationship with my dad was beginning to heal.
And because I had invited my friends to pray into this with me, they got to experience the joy with me. Romans 12: 15 says, ”Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn.” When we share our burdens and barriers and trials with others, they get to experience the joy and victory and celebration on the other side with us. Don’t rob your friends of getting to experience the rejoicing that comes with breakthrough.
So let’s run after Him together, friends. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” (Hebrews 12:1-2)
His arms are open and ready to catch us up. He waits with eager anticipation as a groom waits for His bride. Are you ready to run to Him, girls??
Pursing Him together,