September 18, 2017
Over the past several weeks we have all seen and heard the stories of people in incredible situations due to the storms that have impacted the Caribbean, Texas, and Florida. In many cases the stories were about how people came and rescued others from the danger they were in. We all watched in horror as the owner of a nursing home in Texas put pictures of elderly people sitting in wheelchairs up to their chests in water during the storm on social media, begging for someone to come help them. When her pleas for help were answered and the rescuers arrived, what a scene. Her desperate actions led to the saving of all those in her care.
One of the most important lessons we can teach our students relates to the many different kinds of storms that they will encounter in their lives and how they can deal with them, and even improve their lives through the process. As a matter of fact, as adults, we continue to learn how to deal with the obstacles we face throughout our lives as well. As parents we know all too well the dangers and distractions that constantly encroach into our children’s lives. The good news is that obstacles can be overcome and working together, between family and school, we can equip our students to meet the obstacles which will come their way. As parents we all have encouraged a child after a not playing well after a ball game or took them out for an ice cream when they were feeling down about a broken friendship. Those times can be very sweet because it allows us as parents to take part in their life in a way that can never be duplicated or replaced. Sometimes an encouraging word from a teacher is all it takes to help a student get past an obstacle they are facing in school.
It’s no different in our Christian lives as we struggle in our walk with the Lord. The obstacles we face spiritually are tossed our way by Satan himself. 1 Peter 5:8, “…your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, prowls about, seeking who he may devour.” Our Christian walk is often depicted as a race with obstacles. In Hebrews 12:1-2 the Bible speaks to how we can face the obstacles in this race. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
According to this passage we have to learn how to set aside whatever it is that is an obstacle. We all understand that overcoming obstacles in our lives is usually not easy, but it means we should be doing all that we can to remove the obstacle. For instance, when we have an attitude problem, we need to adjust our attitude. If the conduct of others is discouraging to us, we shouldn’t become discouraged because we have no control over them except that we can talk to them about it. When Peter inquired about the future of another disciple, John, Jesus said, “What is that to you? You follow Me.” John 21:22. More often than not what is needed is for us to step up to the plate and do our own job, not worry about someone else. Many times our conduct and attitude will inspire others to do better. If our obstacle involves sin, we need to repent and pray. Acts 8:22-23, “Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin.”
Sometimes our spiritual obstacle is that we are not growing in the Lord. In our spiritual walk, we have to make a plan in order to grow spiritually. Our plan should include setting aside a time to study God’s Word on a daily basis and we also need to pray regularly and allow God to speak to our heart. I believe an area that often causes weakness in our spiritual growth is the neglect of attendance and participation in the local church. The truth is that we need the local church and the local church needs us. Experience teaches us that spiritual growth takes time and great effort. We cannot learn everything we need from the Bible by casual reading. If we are going to grow in spiritual knowledge, we have to keep studying God’s Word for life, praying every day, and faithfully being active in the local church.
Truly, Satan will put many obstacles in our way as we strive to grow spiritually. He despises our Christian school, our Christian families, and our churches. He doesn’t want them to grow so that the obstacles of life can be overcome. But our God, who is greater than the storms of this life, is greater than our spiritual enemy as well. 1 John 5:4-5, “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”