you were running well. who hindered you from obeying the truth? [galatians 5:7]
hindrances. they are all around us every day. while our spirit is willing to obey the way of God, and our soul longs for his presence to be more and more evident in our lives, we are still in a battle. a war waged within us that every believer knows so well. what are the enemies in this battle?
satan and his fallen angels. the father of lies, the prince of the power of the air, the principalities and powers of this present darkness. they attempt to present to us an alternate reality where God appears weak and less desirable than the desires of our flesh. satan is crafty, and subtly and slowly seeks to destroy anyone who would buy his false gospels. [john 8:44] sometimes they will sound wrong. but sometimes they will sound very close to right. the lies hinder us when we do not know, love, and cling to the truth.
the world. those who follow the prince of the power of the air, those who walk in darkness, those who are blinded to the glory of God. we were once one of them, before God called us to himself. together, they have created ideologies that spit in the face of God’s glory and love. they have belittled his great name and in rebellion to their Creator, they have exchanged the truth for a lie, worshiping the created things of the earth rather than the one who made them. [romans 1] they would seek to sway us with luring, with mocking, with hatred, trying always to use our words against us. this is the way they treated the Son of God, and we can expect the same. these ideologies hinder us when we do not know, love, and cling to the truth.
our flesh. not the physical body, although it is the vehicle. in a sermon i listened to this week, the speaker defined our flesh as “our ego that feels a need, and then uses all of those resources that it has in its own power, to fill that need, distinguishing those from God, which does not lie within the flesh’s power. the flesh is the eye that tries to satisfy me with everything except God.” we cannot blame satan or the world for our own sin, because he and they only use our own desires to lure us into it. [james 1:14] we justify our sinful actions until the Spirit of God intercedes and convicts, leading to repentance. we are hindered by these desires when we do not know, love, and cling to the truth.
so with this barrage of temptation we face every day, what hinders you? do the lies turn into apathy and laziness? do the false ideologies become normal and acceptable? do your desires give way to sin and isolation?
Jesus said we will continue to run well if we abide in him. [john 15] not visit him. not give him a short phone call a few times a week, but to abide. to stay. to live there. we seek to become always aware of his presence and live like he is with us, because he is always with us! we can drink in his truth, and it becomes our dna. it will flow out of us like rivers of living water. [john 7:38] we will know his truth, we will love his truth, we will cling to his truth, and we will continue to run well.
therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. [hebrews 12:1-2]