"Remember that some men's sins are obvious, and are equally obviously bringing them to judgment. The sins of other men are not apparent, but are dogging them, nevertheless, under the surface. Similarly some virtues are plain to see, while others, though not at all conspicuous, will eventually make themselves felt." (1 Timothy 5:24-25 Phillips)
Thoughts for Today
People don't usually talk in church about the things that are bothering them under the surface, but people are struggling. The 20-60-20 ratio describes most congregations. Over the next few days, we will look at these three groups.
Today--the first "20." Typically, 20 percent of a congregation are the faithful supporters and active lay leaders. Many are doing quite well, but some are secretly having a hard time. They feel they must be the examples in the church and that admitting to a life-controlling issue would damage their testimony.
Even those who are doing well may be getting trapped by something in some area of their life. Some are being affected by trying to help friends and loved ones with life-controlling problems.
Consider this …
Do you see yourself in this "20" group? Perhaps you are serving in a leadership position or as an active volunteer. Are there life-controlling issues affecting you? Issues you are trying to hide from others--and maybe even yourself? Remember, God sees all . . . and he cares.
You may have let the busyness of ministry take over your life. Or you may have tried to help a friend with problems and have found yourself being entangled in that person's struggles. Or perhaps you are harboring resentment or bitterness. You don't want to admit these things. What would people think? What kind of a testimony would you have?
Remember, a life-controlling struggle blocks your spiritual growth. It keeps you from becoming the person God wants you to be and prevents you from doing all he has called and equipped you to do. It's time to be honest. With him. With yourself. With others. Earnestly ask God to give you direction, steps you can take toward freedom. Seek answers in his Word. Christian counseling could help. Consider finding a small group where everyone can share something about their struggles and together turn to God and his Word for answers.
The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT)
Lord, I want to be all you've called me to be. I want to make a difference and help other people. But I know this issue I am struggling with is an obstacle to doing all that. Please show me the steps I should take to find freedom. In Jesus' name . . .
These thoughts were drawn from …Living Free by Jimmy Ray Lee, D. Min. and Dan Strickland, M. Div. This updated version is presented in two parts. It offers information for anyone who either has a life-controlling problem or has a loved one with a life-controlling problem:
Part 1: Learning to Live Free
- Defining Life-Controlling Problems
- Mastered and Trapped by Issues
- Walls of Protection
- Family Influences
- Helping or Harming?
Part 2: Helping Others to Live Free through Small Groups
- The Small Group Strategy
- Effective Facilitation and Communication
Launching a Living Free Ministry
PO Box 22127 ~ Chattanooga, Tennessee 37421 ~ 423-899-4770
© Living Free 2007. Living Free is a registered trademark. Living Free Every Day devotionals may be reproduced for personal use. When reproduced to share with others, please acknowledge the source as Living Free, Chattanooga, TN. Must have written permission to use in any format to be sold. Permission may be requested by sending e-mail to info@LivingFree.org.