When it comes to living a God honouring life which is joyful, the world is happy to place hinderances in your way. It will attempt to lure your biblical values and passions away from obedient faithfulness to Christ. So often, we believers fail to recognise the seduction by God’s enemy to mix worldly ideology with biblical truth. The writer of Hebrews exhorts us to …throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith (Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV).
Notice that the things which hinder are not the sins which stop us. There are many things in life which hinder and restrain our walk with the Lord. Hinderance is anything which slows us down, interfering in a way which holds us back from advancing in our relationship with Christ. They are often things which are not evil in themselves, but simply distract and side-tract us from an undivided commitment to an unwavering and obedient walk with Christ as Lord. However, these hindrances can become temptations, then, if followed, they become sin. These can be appetising seductions which our enemy slips into our lives using the most delicious means possible.
The types of the hindrances will vary from Christian to Christian, but the goal is always the same. The enemy also loves to gather people together who share a common love for the same hindrances, this creates agreement and emotional comfort while stunting the Lord’s work in their lives. Believers are called to wake up to these distracting friendships and activities by throwing off everything that hinders. This requires determined love for Christ as the chief love of our lives. We choose Christ as Prime over all hinderances.
Attention-grabbing thoughts and activities that seduce our affections are not only to be rejected but replaced by thoughts and activities which fix our eyes on Jesus. This requires intentional and ongoing evaluation of the treasures of our hearts (Mt 6:21). This calls for critical thinking and surrender to Christ through the reassignment of our affections to Him as the target of our passions.
The world presents us with friendships, ambitions, ideologies, media, hobby and sport activities which all call for increasing affection and time commitments at the expense of higher priorities. Anything which detracts your spiritual vision and ambitions from being Christ-centred requires reallocation to a lower priority, or removal. This discipline even applies to church activities and Christian friendships. Christ is to be first and central in all. The world will fiercely compete for this position. Your own human fleshliness will challenge this position. And deceitful heart affections will object to Christ reigning in this position as absolute Lord.
Jesus Christ demands our primary love as creator God (Heb 1:2), as Sovereign Saviour and ascended Lord (Jude :25), and as the First in rank and priority over our lives (Col 1:15-20). Jesus is the One of whom God the Father instructed, “Let all God’s angels worship him” (Hebrews 1:6).
The world loves distractions, and it loves to establish spiritual hinderances in our lives, anything to practically dethrone Christ as your Lord. Let’s make Paul’s prayer our prayer today; that our love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God (Philippians 1:9-11).