Here is Part 1 if you missed last week's!
So here is the question… What are you wearing? What are the grave clothes that you are bound up by? What is your ANYTHING that holds you back from EVERYTHING God has for you? See grave clothes are different for each of us. Just like we are all wearing different clothes right now, the things that hold us back from everything God has for us will be different. For me, it might be fear, for you, it might be insecurity. For someone else, it might be anxiety, or loneliness, or depression. It could be the old friends that you just can’t seem to get away from or the old habits that you always seem to go back to.
Grave clothes are usually…
1.) A sin we can't leave. Perhaps some of us have not experienced freedom in our lives because there is a pattern of sin we cannot escape. Just because you are alive in Christ does not mean that you will never sin again. Often, we find ourselves going back to the same old destructive behaviors. This is where many Christians get caught up. I love Jesus, but I just can’t seem to break free from this sin. Even Paul (author of most of the New Testament and arguably the second most influential man in all of history second only to Christ) talked about how he loved God but continually found himself doing the very things he did not want to do. If you are alive in Christ but cannot break free from a pattern of sin you just need to know that God has more for you. When you find yourself bound up in a sin you can’t leave, one step towards freedom you can always take is confession. Freedom often lies on the other side of confession.
2.) A hurt we've received. All of us have been hurt in different ways, and to different degrees by other people. It is helpful, often, to know we are not alone in our pain. The hurts that we have received from others can easily become SOMETHING that keeps us from EVERYTHING that God has for us. How? Well, maybe you’ve never shared with anyone how you have been hurt. Keeping that a secret just allows the pain and the hurt to grow. We need to bring it into the light. Maybe you carry around guilt and shame because you feel like somehow you deserve what happened to you. Maybe when you think of the ways that you have been hurt you are filled with anger or rage or frustration. When you find yourself bound up in a hurt that you’ve received one step towards freedom you can always take is forgiveness. Freedom often lies on the other side of forgiveness. Now listen, some of you have been seriously hurt, mistreated, or even abused. Please understand that I am not downplaying the severity of what may have happened to you. I am not trivializing what you have been through and telling you to get over it. If that is you, please hear this. I am so very sorry for the pain that you have experienced. No one deserves to be treated the way that you were treated, and it is not okay. But holding on to unforgiveness is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Unforgiveness is a prison we think we put others in only to find we are the ones locked inside. Regardless of what has been done to you, God wants you to experience life and freedom in Jesus name. Forgiveness is possible.
3.) A lie we believe. Some lies are harmless. Believing in the tooth fairy or the Easter bunny never really hurt anyone that I am aware of. Other lies, however, are far more costly, far more significant. Maybe you are here tonight and you believe a lie like… I am not good enough. I’m not smart enough, pretty enough, skinny enough… Fill in the blank. I’ll never amount to anything. No one loves me. If I work harder my heavenly father will love me. Maybe someone spoke something over you, said something to you or about you, called you a name, and it burrowed a little hole into your heart and over time you have come to believe that what they said is true. And now you struggle every day to try to fight back against those lies. When you find yourself bound up in a lie that you believe, one step towards freedom you can always take is to have the truth spoken over you and pray for you. Freedom lies on the other side of truth. If you know that you struggle with believing the lies of the enemy about who you are, you need to get in God’s word because the truest thing about you is what he says about you. His truth can and will defeat the lies the enemy likes to whisper in our ears.
What are the GRAVE CLOTHES that God is calling you to LEAVE BEHIND?