I believe most people feel trapped in some way or another. You have tried everything you can. You have heard the sermons, read your Bible, and prayed. You have done and tried it all, but it’s not working. It’s like what’s wrong with me? Why isn’t this Christian thing working for me? Why am I still trapped? Why am I still struggling with the same sin(s)!?! It is very draining and discouraging.
Your trap might come in the form of an addiction, a problem, a stronghold, or an issue. Maybe it looks like one of these:
1. Financially, it never adds up. You budget and save, but you can’t get out of the red. It is a constant uphill battle.
2. Relationally someone has wounded you, and it won’t heal. You can’t let go, forgive, and receive your healing. You constantly carry around this hurt, and you can’t get past it.
3. Your past haunts you. You know you are forgiven, but all you feel is self-condemnation. You feel like your past disqualifies you.
4. Or, it’s your secret sin. It would destroy your reputation if anyone knew about it. You fight it everyday by yourself, but make no progress.
Whatever your trap looks like, no matter what you do, you can’t escape. You can’t stop. You have lost count of how many times you tried to quit. Currently, you are sick and tired of taking your same problems to God over and over again. You might be wondering, “Does God even take me seriously anymore?”
It may be you have given up. You have reasoned and rationalized yourself into believing it’s just who you are. That It just comes with the territory.
God has pressed it on my heart that a lot of people can identify with this. It was me at one point. I know how you feel. I am here to tell you God is concerned about your freedom. He didn’t stop at your salvation. He wants you to experience victory, freedom, and peace in your life now. I am going to tell you how. Not my words, but His.
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”
Does this strike you as odd? It’s like what do you do? “Oh I’m trapped. I better try harder, do more, and change myself.” This seems like the logical response. I mean, God helps those who help themselves. Who said that? Not Jesus. Actually He said the polar opposite. He is telling you to rest.
How does that work? Where do you come in?
You’ve probably heard that it’s up to your repentance. You’ve heard that you need to straighten up, get some discipline, and stop. But, do you know what repentance is? It’s not saying you are sorry, and then trying harder to stop. Repentance is turning from your sin and turning to Jesus. He does the work inside of you.
It’s so opposite from what feels natural. We feel like we have to do for ourselves what Jesus has already done for us. Jesus did not leave you any leftover work from the cross! He didn’t give Himself up to help you; He did it to save you! Your Freedom doesn’t require your effort. In fact, all our efforts were good for was putting Jesus on the cross in the first place. Let that one sink in… Yet, we feel like it is our efforts that will get us out of what they got us into.
Don’t cheapen or lessen the sufficiency of Christ’s blood and atonement for us by trying to pair it with your own futile efforts.
This message is hard to understand or compute when in your mind your life and your performance is a bigger deal to you than the life of Jesus and His sacrifice on the cross. Are you more focused on what you are doing and if it is good enough, or are you focused on Jesus and understand that He is enough in every category?
But, how do we do that? How do we change this mindset, and start relying on Jesus instead of ourselves?
28 And Peter answered Him and said, “Lord, if it is You, command me to come to You on the water.” 29 So He said, “Come.” And when Peter had come down out of the boat, he walked on the water to go to Jesus. 30 But when he saw that the wind was boisterous,[a] he was afraid; and beginning to sink he cried out, saying, “Lord, save me!” 31 And immediately Jesus stretched out His hand and caught him, and said to him, “O you of little faith, why did you doubt?” 32 And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased. 33 Then those who were in the boat came and worshiped Him, saying, “Truly You are the Son of God.”
You’ve probably heard this story before in church or in a sermon. More than likely someone took the spin on it that this story is about how great or little Peter’s faith was, and how it helped him walk on the water or caused him to start sinking.
But, I believe this story is dealing with Peter’s focus more than it is his faith. As long as Peter focuses on Jesus, walking on the water comes naturally. But, when he focuses on trying to walk on the water, he begins to sink. The same applies to us. When we focus on Jesus, we will naturally escape from our trap, but if we focus on ourself trying to free ourself from the trap, we will fail.
And, we all have a list. This list contains all that we are supposed to do and things we are supposed to avoid. We think this list is how we will overcome what is trapping us. But, following that list is as impossible as walking on water. And, as long as you focus on that list, you will sink and fail. But, if you make Jesus your focus, your list will come naturally.
Jesus even said that He is the fulfillment of that list.
17 “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.
We have created this list from the laws in the Bible right? So, instead of trying to follow each one of the rules on that list, just follow and focus on Jesus who is the fulfillment of the law. If you focus on Jesus, the supernatural will come naturally. Trade in your list, and trust in Jesus.
Your key to freedom is taking your focus off of yourself. Place it all on Jesus instead of your own attempts to free yourself. He has already given you the keys to your freedom. Don’t try to make your own set because they will not unlock what only Jesus can.