What transpires when anger and bitterness are left unchecked in our hearts? What materializes when anger and bitterness are not jettisoned from the recesses of our minds? Think four words: conflict, coldness, isolation and uselessness.
There may be times when we simply do not know what to pray, times when words simply will not come. Yet, praying specifically is always a more effective way to pray. General praying receives general responses and makes for less energetic conversations with God. That may be one reason for dull prayer lives. Abraham had the audacity to ask God for the incredible, and he actually believed that his praying would make a difference. What about you? Do you pray for the incredible and believe that your praying actually makes a difference?
Has anyone’s success challenged you to the point of anger? Have you ever felt that someone owes you something? Have you ever been weighed down because the circumstances of life have been unfair? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” you may be struggling with anger and resentment, a condition that the writer of Hebrews refers to as “the root of bitterness which springs up and causes trouble.” If you want to be free from the ball and chain of emotional rancor, this message is for you.
Winning Christians answer these kinds of questions: When life is over, what have you got? When the moment comes for stepping into eternity, is there anything you can take with you? When the horn sounds, does it really matter whether you were a winner or loser as a believer? If you have asked these questions, how have you answered? It’s not too late to change the answer or to improve the answer. Paul shows us how.
Practice is not the point; playing is the point. However, no one wins on the playing field without first winning on the practice field. That is true in the realm of athletics and also true in the realm of Christianity. Paul not only encouraged his readers to live as gold-medal followers of Christ, he also provided powerful advice on the kind of practice that that produces championship disciples. The winning strategy is clear, and the winning results cannot be denied.
What will the future be? Will it be a life of running away from difficulty, even injustice? Or, will it be a life of hearing and seeing God in the midst of the difficulty and/or injustice? Will it be the futility of screaming against the difficulty and the injustices? Or, will it be the overflow of blessing to those around you while trusting the Lord to work out the rest?