Updated: Feb 20, 2020
Last Sunday we outlined three things that get us stuck: we lose sight of the big picture, we're not willing to pay the cost, and we neglect spiritual training in at least one area. We get stuck.
What does that mean for me?
Those are three big areas; what do they really look like for us individually? What's your sticky thing? Well, it's different for everybody, but maybe one of these sound familiar to you:
We lose sight of the big picture. For some of us this means that we get tunnel-visioned on our own life. We get so caught up in the day-to-day and how things affect us individually that we lose the long view of what God wants to do and accomplish through us. So what does this really look like in the everyday? It looks like the guy who is jealous of their neighbor or friend because their life looks easier, better, more exciting, (insert your sticky adjective here). It looks like the woman who's had a falling out with her mother, brother, sister, daughter, friend, (insert your sticky relationship here) and can't let go of the hurt and pain to let that relationship be healed. It looks like the high schooler who is so obsessed with what others think of them that they choose to look more like their friends than to look like Christ. It's any number of things, but I think you get the picture. It's ANYTHING that distracts us from God's ultimate plan, not just for our life, but for all of creation. Let those distractions go and focus on God's big picture (Philippians 3:14).
We're not willing to pay the cost. We live in an age of Instant Pots, Instant Pay, and Instagram. We want information now, and we want life to be easy. Those things aren't inherently bad, but we often trade easy for quality and settle for "good enough" because we're not willing to put the time, energy, effort, work into what's excellent. How many times have we done that in our relationship with God? We get stuck because we're not willing to put in the work for his best for us. This may mean we substitute human relationships for a Godly one, asking others to fill what only God can fill. This may mean we choose an easy path because we don't like the one God is calling us to. This may mean we give in to what the world tells us we should care about instead of what God says we should care about. It comes in many forms, but it's easy for us to get stuck because we want the spiritually easy, not necessarily the spiritually excellent. If you're stuck because of this, you probably know what it is that's holding you back (Philippians 3:8)
We train well in one spiritual discipline but neglect others. Remember? We skip leg day. But what are spiritual disciplines? That's a very Christiany phrase that just means habits or practices that make and keep us strong spiritually. It's doing the same thing over and over to get better and better at it and getting closer to God while you're doing it. Spiritual disciplines include things like prayer, meditation on God's word, worship (corporate and individual), giving thanks, fasting, giving, and study. Richard Foster, probably the modern world's foremost expert on spiritual disciplines, says, "The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people.” Spiritual disciplines make us deeper people and get us unstuck. There are days when you don't feel like reading God's word or praying. There are certainly times when giving thanks or living in gratitude don't come naturally. That's what makes it a discipline - we do it anyway. So what are you neglecting? Do you love singing songs of praise and worship but can't remember the last time you read the Bible on your own? Are you great at study on your own but find other things to do than meet with other believers on Sunday morning? Maybe you're showing up to church every Sunday but aren't trusting God with your finances enough to tithe. God wants to grow us; when we're stunting ourselves in one area, we're stunting ourselves in all spiritual areas (I Timothy 4:7-8).
Let God Unstick You
The good news is, we don't have to stay stuck. That's not where God wants us. He wants us to live a grown-up faith in full relationship with Him. Whatever area has you stuck - give it up to Him. Ask Him to take it and to give you strength to make the changes you need to make because he doesn't ask you to do this alone.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Did you miss Sunday's sermon? Check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/MuskegonFirstWesleyan/videos/506149680043514/