What roadblocks have you encountered as you pursue a “call” on your life? What is it you want to do in life and every time you begin to work toward this goal, you are met with resistance, obstacles, hurdles, negativity, and/or inadequate funding, or you lose the determination because it is “just too hard?” No answers to the questions. No energy. No cooperation. No assistance. Illness. Not enough hours in the day. Loss of motivation due to all the above. Someone said, “you can’t.” Are you tempted to quit? Are you tempted to go back to what you were doing? Are you waiting on the lottery? Have you completed phase one and now you cannot seem to progress any further? The vulnerability is overwhelming. Roadblocks in life are real challenges.
Jesus is about “to enter the arena.” He has survived birth and childhood. He has completed all the steps required to be a Rabbi (in other words, He jumped through ALL the religious hoops: circumcision, bar mitzvah, baptism, “got the Holy Ghost,” tithed, read in the synagogue, knows the Ten Commandments like the back of His hand, knows all about the prophets, and Jewish history, and has written His own copy of the Torah). But, there is one problem, He is breaking with TRADITION! He is doing a new thing! “Enter the critics into the arena sitting in the cheap seats.” (Brene’ Brown’s book Rising Strong)
One of the first roadblocks Jesus encountered to His ministry was way back when He was twelve and He knew who He was and what His mission was. He had to go home and wait. (Identity, May , 2017) As Jesus launches out into the “unknown”, the first person to take a bit of wind out of His sails is His cousin John. John has been preaching “the Kingdom of God is coming,” yet, initially declines to baptize Jesus on the grounds he is unworthy. Jesus must convince John to baptize Him so He can “fulfill all righteousness.” John can ONLY baptize with water, but in doing so, Jesus is in turn baptized with the power of the Holy Spirit by His Father. Having to plead with others to be part of your journey can be exhausting. Do you think Jesus was surprised by John’s initial refusal? (Matthew 3:13-17)
In the post Prejudice and Racism (May 17, 2017) we saw Jesus “family and friends” try to throw Him off a cliff in His hometown because they are embarrassed by His activity.
Jesus brings a new style of preaching to the people and they love it, but in the break with tradition, Jesus is upsetting the establishment. The effort to slow the exodus of the faithful from the synagogue to the hillside (out of the traditional church to the mega church with the satellite preacher and the great music) is now the goal of the local ministerial association: The scribes, Sadducees, and Pharisees. How dare this itinerant nobody (Nazarene) steal their parishioners and their pocketbooks. (John 6:2, 10)
Jesus has left His occupation to “do the will of His Father” and finances are in short supply and resources are extremely limited. His disciples are quick to point out this fact. Gotta love those who point out the obvious. (John 6:7)
Another roadblock or at least a speed bump are His disciples squabbling over who is the most important. Their lack of understanding, and one hothead in particular, tries to block His way. Sometimes the people closest to us are the hardest to move out of the way. (Luke 9:46, Luke 22:24)
And of no real surprise are the demons of hell doing everything they can to deter Him only to discover they are the instruments He uses to complete His mission of “being a Lamb led to the slaughter.” (Luke 11:24)
Jesus calls doubt an obstacle of faith. He calls people who prevent the search for truth a “stumbling block.” (Mark 11:23, I Corinthians 8:9, Romans 14:13-23) Jesus did what Brene’ Brown calls “inviting the critics to the reserved seats in the arena.” He knew they would be there so He gave them reserved seats. He welcomed them into His arena. That is bravery at it’s best for “he showed up and was seen.” Jesus was the ultimate Daring Greatly dude.
When God calls us He will equip us; He will require us to trust Him. (Hebrews 13:21) What He calls us to will demand He show up because what He calls us too is God-sized. It will be what we cannot do unless He provides and trust me, He will not provide all you need early! It will require you to have FAITH. Faith is an action word. (Ephesians 6:16) We must do something, like walk on water in a storm. We need to expect delays, detours, distractions, attempts to dissuade us, and discouragement. (Priscilla Shirer Armor of God)
Roadblocks required Jesus to face the opposition head on. He trusted His Father to provide His needs just as He provides for the sparrows and lilies. He answered His critics with wisdom, courage, and kindness. (Matthew 21:23-24) He used the demonic forces to His own advantage. (Matthew 8:31) He operated out of love and compassion (turning the other cheek) and expected His Father to get Him to the end. (Matthew 27:12)
Our roadblocks are the same: criticism, put-down, lack of funds, lack of time, lack of emotional support, fear, doubt in ourselves–am I enough? Can we learn from Jesus example of keeping on keeping on? Roadblocks are often placed to slow us down, give us time to stop and think, move us in a different direction, or meet a need of another. Even roadblocks have a purpose in God’s divine plan for our lives. Everything Jesus did was to prove who He is! Was Jesus tempted in these situation to get ahead of His Father. I think so. He just did not act on the temptation, He chose to embrace the delays, detours, distractions, and not succumb to discouragement and He would not be swayed from His appointed path. Jesus knew the safest place for Him was the center of God’s will! When we choose to get out of God’s will we are on our own until we like Jonah decide the consequences of doing it “my way” are not worth it! (Book of Jonah)
Why the Critics Aren’t the Ones Who Count by Brene’ Brown (23 mins)
Jesus knew what it has taken science 2000 years to understand! Here is a shot of courage for your fearful heart!
Even If by Mercy Me
Treading in the arena,