ALL THAT HINDERS…FEAR OF BEING DIFFERENT

As we continue to consider areas where we may be hindered in the race God has marked out for us, can you relate to the hindrance of the FEAR OF BEING DIFFERENT AS A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST? I have personally struggled with this big time in my earlier years and it even rears its ugly head every now and again now.

I have always wanted people to like me. I want people to approve of me-think I am cool, “with it”, on the cutting edge of …..well, anything. In other words, I don’t want people to think I am this weird Jesus fanatic like we read about in the news. I don’t want to be associated with “Christians” who either live depressed, legalistic “can’t do anything fun” lives, or be the one no one wants to be around because I give the smelly fragrance of self righteousness and judgement. I have said, “I don’t like others to be uncomfortable and I don’t want to put people off.” What is wrong with this picture? Excuses. Self-justification. It reeks of “all about me,” also known as pride.

As followers of Christ, we want to be discerning and use wisdom with the world. But many times, I fall into the trap of Satan’s deception. The fear. The pride. I stay quiet. I don’t share the hope I have through Christ. I try to blend in. I don’t stand up for Christ and HIS values and ideals when given the opportunity; or when I see His honour and majesty of who He is being tarnished or blasphemed.

This is the deal: Christ calls us to be different! And, it isn’t about us. It is about Christ. All. The. Time. Being a follower of Christ is not an add on in our lives. Christ teaches us a set of values and ideals which is distinctive from the way of the world. He calls us to be different; to be counter-cultural. We are not to get our cue from those around us, but from Him, and so prove to be genuine children of our heavenly Father. All through the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus carries this theme to be different. He gives the Christian value-system which is as relevant today as it was then.

Being a follower of Jesus Christ lays the trajectory for all of life’s choices. It can be very difficult at times. I have failed miserably many times. I was sidetracked for many years. My heart deceived me!(Jeremiah 17:9) and the serpent deceived my mind. (2 Corinthians 11:3) Sisters, If our minds tend to negotiate, to compromise the gospel, to justify our disobedience, we must be aware of this deception.

Our Lord is gracious and compassionate, and has rescued us through Jesus Christ our Lord! He helps us in our struggles. He will help us to throw off the hindrance of pride and fear of being different than the world around us! He helps us to be salt, light, and hope to a broken world. We must encourage one another to CHOOSE to give to Him our all in humility and a teachable spirit every day. Let’s encourage each other to dig deep into the word of God which will equip us through the Holy Spirit.

Let’s run together, the race God has marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith! Let’s embrace being different!

Love, Kathy x

fear of man

 

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ALL THAT HINDERS

woman w rucksack

…Let us throw off anything that hinders…” Hebrews 12:1b

Ed and I enjoy hiking. In our 9 years of marriage, we have walked parts of Brecon Beacons, Derbyshire, Cornwall, and of course, around our patch in the Cotswolds.
I remember one particular walk we did which circles around Castle Combe. We were on the last stretch walking uphill. It was about ¼ mile from our car. I came SO close to giving up; to ask Ed to go and get the car and pick me up! But I persevered uphill that last little bit. To reduce the weight off my back, Ed relieved me of the burden of my rucksack and carried it for me. This “hindrance” being taken away, I was able to persevere to the “finish line” to the car!

This visual picture reminds me of those things which might hinder us; those things we need to “throw off” in our race God has marked off for us. There may not be specific “sin”, but there may be lots of “stuff” in our lives which may be eclipsing or impeding our running the race. What might that look like? I would say it is anything that slowly pushes God to the periphery of our hearts and off His path. What instantly comes to my mind are: BUSYNESS. DISORDERED PRIORITIES.

I know that I have struggled with these at times throughout my race with the Lord. They took me off course. They got my heart and mind off of what really mattered. I began to major on the minors of life. My busyness came from disordered priorities which stemmed from self absorption and selfish interests. I was allowing my activities and my children’s activities to crowd out sitting at the feet of Jesus. My gospel foundation was being compromised and starting to deteriorate. My choices were becoming more like the world and less like a follower of Christ. My lips were saying Jesus is Lord, but my children saw the reality: that Kathy was Lord. And as the children grew older, my children began to follow my example. I didn’t understand why they were not interested in the things of the Lord until I looked in the mirror of my own busy, disordered life. Yikes.

I am NOT saying that activities, interests, and hobbies are wrong! Far from it! They are wonderful and God’s gift to us in bringing healthy outlet, enrichment and growth. It is when they become a hindrance to our race in Christ that He has marked out for us; when they push godly pursuits to the margins of our lives where God becomes a accessory or an afterthought of our week.  That is what I did in my earlier years. Please don’t do what I did.

Throwing off hindrances to our race is crucial, not only to maintaining our spiritual foundation, but in building it. Let’s take off those rucksacks that hinder us on the race God has marked out for us. Are you taking consistent time to sit at the feet of Jesus? Do your priorities reflect what you say you value the most as a follower of Christ? Can you discern God’s priorities in your life? If any of the answers to these questions is “no,” then it is time to address the hindrances of busyness and disordered priorities.

I will pray for you and please pray for me blog sister. May our Lord Jesus guard our hearts and minds of anything which might compromise our spiritual foundation; which might hinder us from running the race with godly perseverance!

Love, Kathy xo

 

 

 

 

 

Godly Perseverance: A Heart Issue

“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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3

Last week on Grace Place, we began the first of our summer reflections on godly perseverance from Hebrews 12:1-3. So true to my Father’s relentless love for me, I learned a lesson this week which is the very foundation of running the race with perseverance:  Godly perseverance can only be sustained with a pure heart.

Let me explain: Last week my scheduled activities were heavy, temperatures warm, and there were also many opportunities to “one another”- listen, share, comfort, encourage and sometimes challenge. I found myself wilting; not only with the heat, but with my heart.

My attitude began to suffer. All my sinful “selfs” began to rear their ugly heads– self-pity, self-righteousness, self- justification, pride. I began to complain to the Lord; maybe not vocally, but in my heart. I was persevering in ministry for the Lord wasn’t I? But does all of it really make a difference? I don’t see much fruit.  I just want to be home with my feet up! Besides, I don’t have much energy and I don’t like THAT one bit! Yikes! Not a pretty picture. On the inside, my heart was whining and rebelling like a spoilt child.

I was later reminded that my attitude was not unlike the older son in the parable of the prodigal son. The older son felt hard done to. He felt he had persevered for his father in his work and loyalty and received nothing in return. But as the father in the parable reminded the older son, (Luke 15:11-31), my heavenly Father reminded me of His great love, patience and faithfulness.

As I read of the heroes of the faith in Hebrews 11, I was greatly convicted. They followed the invisible God, clinging to his promises, knowing God could be trusted to keep them. Today, we have been given so much more this side of the cross! All of God’s promises are yes in Christ Jesus. (2 Cor. 1:20)

Through my tears, I repented of my sinful heart. Peace and rest flooded my soul. I realized, AGAIN, that there is the bigger picture of God’s promises going on beyond what I can see in my little world. You know, sisters, our perseverance may be spot on, but if our hearts and motives are not in line with God’s heart, we will suffer, become disillusioned and weary. We must persevere, not only because it is the right thing to do, but because of Jesus-for His purposes. His glory. Our good. Although we may never see the fruit as we read in Hebrews 11, we can have full assurance that God’s promises and purposes will come to pass in and through us because of Jesus, the author and perfectereyes on jesus of our faith.

Will you help me to keep my eyes on Jesus as I persevere in HIS name; not in MY name?

So where is your heart with what God has given to you to persevere with this week?

I am praying for us all reader, that we will fix our eyes on Jesus as we persevere for Him.

Love, Kathy xo

Run With Perseverance The Race Marked Out For Us

Kathy Larkman

Kathy Larkman

“..Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us, 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 12:1-2a

Ed and I had the opportunity to attend Wimbledon a couple of days ago to watch Andy Murray play Alexander Bublik. It is so amazing to witness such a high level of competitive tennis! I can only imagine the sacrifices he has made in the name of the game-the preparation and training, both physically and mentally; to consistently persevere day after day. And this is BEFORE he even walks on the court to play his matches! Andy has persevered over the years. He has pressed on. He has dug deep on those days when he didn’t feel like it; when he lost a match; when he was injured. We are drawn to and inspired by people like Andy who persevere. How do I know that he has persevered? The proof is in the fruit. Andy is ranked number one in the tennis world.
running the raceA definition that I think describes well what perseverance is: steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, especially in spite of difficulties or discouragement. Determination, tenacity and patience also are closely related qualities.
So, it is interesting that the Hebrew writer speaks of the analogy of “running the race.” Paul also uses this analogy in Philippians, Galatians, 1Corinthians, and 2 Timothy. He was from a culture where the hearers could relate to what he was trying to convey about the Christian journey because sporting events were as important then as they are today. If we are inspired by those achievers in sports and feats of courage, how much more as followers of Christ should we heed those who have persevered in the faith in living out their lives for the glory of God and sharing the hope of the Gospel! This is the highest calling; a grind of day in and day out selling out to God as we persevere and press on.
Through the summer months, we will consider godly perseverance: What does scripture teach us about perseverance? What is the fruit of godly perseverance? How does God enable us to grow in it in our everyday lives? Like Andy in his world of tennis, let’s run the race that God has marked out for us in such a way as to take the prize!
My prayer for us this summer is that we will learn to persevere more and more,  and that we will keep our eyes fixed on the author and perfecter of our faith, our Lord Jesus Christ.

In the meantime, stay cool and drinks lots of water in these warmer temperatures!

Love, Kathy x