Continuing on studying the “soul sickness epidemic”, in this post we will take a look at barriers that keep us paralyzed. I pray this blesses you and encourages you in your walk with Jesus.
When we think about the iconic “American Dream” the first thing I think of is the perfect sized house, green trimmed lawn, white pocket fence. Which would need money to pay the bills, healthy people in the house to do maintenance, even the proper amount of sunshine and rain the keep the grass growing and vitamin d thriving in our brains.
But while we see this picture street after street in housing developments with deed restrictions and 1/4 acre building lots… Has anyone noticed the real picture?
See I step out and see the perfect little house has grown quite dilapidated over the years from lack of maintenance. The grass is dried up in need of watering, fence is kicked in and even destroyed and some parts. I rang the doorbell to see if anyone was home only to find out the doorbell didn’t work. I peered in the window to see a man zoned out staring at a blank tv screen because the electric must have been turned off. No job, no money, needs aren’t being met… Can you fill in more of the picture?
Right now we have souls living in places they can’t afford to attain a dream that is altogether out of reach. They have unknowingly sold their lives to work for a lifestyle they may never pay for. Some are jobless, some can’t even afford the roof over there head. But the expectation is still there every day… Mow the lawn, pay the bills, we need food, need a car, the cool electronics, vacations, vacation houses… Where is it stopping? It won’t stop, unless the word of God becomes alive to us.
Jesus speaks many times during his ministry about wealth, possessions and money. In Luke 16 he tells us to be honest with the little or much we have (vs. 9-12) and that “you cannot serve both God and worldly riches.” (vs. 13) Most plainly, to “Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Get for yourselves purses that will not wear out, the treasure in heaven that never runs out, where thieves can’t steal and moths can’t destroy. Your heart will be where your treasure is.” Luke 12: 33&34
The fields in America are dry, in need of nourishment. But one would not just throw seed on parched ground. Much like the fields, we cannot share Jesus love if we have not properly prepared the fields.
Jesus says in Luke 12:54-56 “When you see clouds coming up in the west, you say it’s going to rain, and it happens. When you feel the wind begin to blow from the south, you say it will be a hot day, and it happens…. You know how to understand the appearance of the earth and sky. Why don’t you understand what is happening now?”
If we aren’t stepping out of our houses, our picket fences, how will we ever help our neighbors rebuild? Even further, Jesus made a point of saying that the biggest influence for the Kingdom we can make will be on our enemies.
“But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who hurt you. If you do this, you will be true children of your Father in heaven. He causes the sun to rise on good people and on evil people, and he sends rain to those who do right and to those who do wrong. If you love only the people who love you, you will get no reward. Even the tax collectors do that. And if you are only nice to your friends, you are no better than other people. Even those who don’t know God are nice to their friends. So you must be perfect, just as you Father in heaven is perfect.” (Matthew 5:44-48)
In order to see a change in the soil, we have to take the time and discipline. As followers and imitators of Jesus we need to be willing to take the more difficult job of love those with the hardest soil to till because Jesus can change their life. And both they and you will never be the same.
Challenge: pick one person that is on your hard to deal with list and love them to their face and behind their back for one week. Be kind and loving, reflecting Jesus love, and pray for them and their hardships. Pray that God give you wisdom to know how to love them. Even if they don’t change, I guarantee you will. But you’ve got to do it for a week! No slacking!