Spiritual Toe-catchers

Something I especially enjoy is going for long walks in the country. I consider myself a “serious walker” because I do this as often as possible and on a regular basis. However there’s a man who loves walking even more than this serious walker. This man decided to walk on foot from the Golden Gate Bridge all the way to New York City. I suppose he wanted to set a record or something. But a news reporter asked this man what the greatest difficulty he had encountered on his trip. He asked him, “Was it the mountains? Was it some of the poor road conditions? Was it the weather? What was the greatest difficulty he encountered on that big trip from sea to shining sea? The man thought about it for a moment and then he answered, “The worst thing I had to deal with was the sand in my shoes.” This was a shock to the news reporter for sand is one of the tiniest things in the world. This man’s biggest problems were the small ones.

And in our spiritual journey, many times the same is true for us. We might be able to quote from memory many Bible texts when someone comes up to us and challenges something we believe, or we might take pride in our spirit of sacrifice and the large offerings that we give to the Lord’s work, and we can really glory in some big victories over sin in our lives. But what about the small things that are tucked away into a corner... like that little white lie that you felt that you had to tell to get out of some hot water? Or what about that little grudge that you are holding against someone who hurt your feelings? Or what about that little tv program that you know you shouldn’t watch, but you keep going back to it week after week? It might be a little habit, a little addiction, a little attraction, but it’s a big toe-catcher that keeps you from giving your heart 100% to Jesus. You know folks, it’s the little things, it’s the ordinary things, it’s the things that we take for granted that can be the most deadly on our journey to the Kingdom. Those little grains of sand in our shoes can rub us raw until we can’t walk anymore.

That’s why God gives us this warning, “For we wrestle not with flesh and blood but against powers, against the master spirits who are the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly supernatural sphere. Therefore put on God’s complete armor that you may be able to resist and stand your ground on the evil day, and having done all to stand firmly in your place....” (Ephesians 6:12,13) We are wrestling with something much bigger than we are. We need help, divine help...help that only Jesus can give us. Many times we don’t even fully realize the areas where we need help, but God knows. And praise God, those Everlasting Arms are big enough to handle anything Satan might throw our way.

I know we’ve heard it before, but we need to hear it again. We need armor and God’s armor is the Word, the Word, and the Word. We need to write the Word of God in our hearts to keep us from stumbling, and to keep us on the right path. And we need prayer, because prayer not only is our conversation with God, but prayer does something to us. It opens the door of our hearts so that the words we read in the Bible are no longer words, but they are principles that we apply to our lives They aren’t just facts and figures, but they are life and breath and hope. And prayer gives God permission to do that miracle in our hearts. It gives Him permission to gently impress upon us the changes we need to make.

Screech! Halt! Stop! This is urgent enough to stop right now in mid-sentence to say IT IS TIME to SEEK GOD!! Has your experience become mediocre? Are you too busy or you just don’t care enough to think about those grains of sand that are coming between you and Jesus? Perhaps you realize that something is wrong with your relationship, but somehow it’s slipped to the low priority list? It’s time for a wake-up call!! The problem with the spiritual sand in our shoes is that if we don’t work at getting rid of it, the granules grow...and grow and grow until they become spiritual stumbling blocks. And stumbling blocks can and will separate us from Jesus. This is serious business!

Take some time right now to check your spiritual thermometer. Proverbs 4:18 says “But the path of the just is as the shining light that shines more and more unto the perfect day.” In other words we are promised that our experience with Jesus will only get better and better, and brighter and brighter. If your experience seems a bit dim and tarnished, undoubtedly there are some grains of sand that need to be abolished from your spiritual shoes. And the great news is that you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, the sweetest music in the ears of our loving Father is the heartfelt cry that simply says, “Jesus, I need Your help!” Like Jacob pray, “I will not let You go until You bless me.” The greater the cavern of need we present to the Father, the greater the endowment, the greater God’s response to the need.

Someone once said “Our God is the only One who can take life’s rubbish heap; our mistakes, disappointments, disobedience and sin and through divine alchemy, make even these ‘to work together for good.’ If this were not true, the gospel would be for the angels, not for us imperfect creatures still walking the warm earth.” There is nothing too hard for God! He’s longing for the opportunity to give you “abundantly more than you can ever ask or think!”

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