Breaking the Barriers of Limitation
By Pastor Michael Olawore
New Wine Church, London
Foundation Scripture: Genesis 17:6, Luke 5:1-5
Sunday 25th January 2015
We have been examining the series titled 'Beyond the Boundaries of Limitations'. Last week, we looked at a message titled 'Following the Promptings of the Holy Spirit'. Our foundation scripture last week, Romans 7:6 highlighted this truth, by stating that we have been liberated from the law in order to follow the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Hence, we must guard against being led by the flesh, but yield totally to the leading of the Spirit. This guarantees excelling and living in the fullness of the purpose of God.
The Holy Spirit intends to guide us into all truth as promised by Jesus in John 16:13, hence it is unscriptural to be summoned and directed around by a so-called prophet in the back desert of nowhere on how to live and decide on the next step in life, when this should solely be the work of the Spirit. This can only be summed up as being guided blindly by a blind person. To be led by the Holy Spirit, you need to recognise that you are a spirit being, who has a soul and lives in a body. As you are led by the Spirit, pay close attention to the inner witness and inner voice.
Today's message is titled 'Breaking the Barriers of Limitation'. To put it bluntly: any barrier or obstacle that you refuse to overcome will have to be tolerated and accommodated. God never intended for us to be restricted by barriers as these prevents us from excelling. So it is vital that you break every boundary in life. In fact, in God's economy, your excelling has already been concluded. In Luke 5, we read the story of a discourse between Jesus and Simon. Jesus had borrowed Simon's boat to teach the multitude. Soon after Jesus finished, he instructed Peter to let down his nets into the sea for a catch, in a bid to reward him for the kind gesture. Here is a lesson for us: God always intends to bless and reward those who give wholeheartedly to Him, unlike men who would never be able to truly reward.
As mentioned earlier, Simon's reward was already prepared and all he needed to do was receive the package. Sadly, it appears from this passage that Simon was not too keen to be rewarded. He was so focused on the disappointment of an all-night no-catch experience that he took lightly the words of Jesus. Isn't this the stance of an average 21st century believer who at best would have reacted to Jesus, just like Simon did? The bible records what Simon did next in versed 5: 'But Simon answered and said to Him, "Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.' He obeyed reluctantly, more or less to get Jesus off his back. Two completely opposite view points – one from Jesus, the other from Simon. We must be careful how we respond to God's already prepared blessings in order to avoid shortchanging ourselves. All Simon focused on was the toiling of the night before, completely oblivious to the impressive plans that Jesus had prepared for him. When he eventually let down his net, he caught a large number of fish that began breaking the net, to the point that he had to request for the assistance of his colleagues – James and John. It is important to reiterate this: Don't go through life ignoring or downplaying the words of Jesus.
Ephesians 1:3 refers to our spiritual blessings as recorded in Paul's letter to the church in Ephesus: 'All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ' (NLT). Since we have been blessed with every spiritual blessings including excelling this year, it is now our responsibility to access this blessing.
However, I have come to realise that between where you are today and the 'excel' that God has prepared for you is a gap. Now, the better you are at bridging that gap, the more likely you will excel. Many of those who have failed to experience 'excel' as God intended, have either ignored or embraced the gap (or barrier) as normal, as opposed to overcoming it. God's promises are secure and concluded for us, but each of us must play our path in bringing these promises into reality. We have various bible characters that stepped out and experienced a phenomenal breakthrough in life, as they bridged the gap and overcame the barriers. These heroes include Moses who parted the Red Sea, Joshua who brought down the walls of Jericho, Esther who obtained the favour of the Lord and king Artaxerxes, and so did Rahab whose life was preserved. David bridged the gap, as he brought down the giant Goliath, Gideon defeated the Midianites. Conversely, there is a barrier that each of us must remove in order to access and experience the already prepared blessings of God, which becomes accessible by initiating the corresponding work of faith.
Two examples in scriptures come to my mind of those who were tardy in carrying out God's instructions: firstly, the Christians in Jerusalem in the book of Acts. God's ultimate purpose for them was to take the gospel to the ends of the earth, to which it seems there was no urgency amongst them, until God orchestrated the persecution that scattered them. Secondly, Jonah refused to obey God's instructions to preach in Nineveh, until the whale delivered him right on the shores of the city. I pray that each of us will not delay in engaging with the process that will trigger the release of God's excelling blessings into our lives in Jesus name.
Let me share with you a barrier you need to break in order to access your blessings, this year:
The Barrier of Perception: There is an interesting account in Matthew 16:21-23 that illustrate this accurately. "From then on Jesus began to tell his disciples plainly that it was necessary for him to go to Jerusalem, and that he would suffer many terrible things at the hands of the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but on the third day he would be raised from the dead. But Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. "Heaven forbid, Lord," he said. "This will never happen to you!" Jesus turned to Peter and said, "Get away from me, Satan! You are a dangerous trap to me. You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God's" (NLT). Peter's rebuke of Jesus was based on his imprecise human perception of the situation, which Jesus rightly pointed out. As Christians, our outlook of various situations of life must be as close to God's perspective as possible. So in your marriage, finances, career and life in general, what do you see? Where did you borrow the notion that it is too late or impossible for you to make it in life? Who gave you the idea that your background is a hindrance in achieving God's purposes for your life? You must be mindful of God's perspective in every situation as this is what really counts. Too many people have truncated their blessings and destinies because they could not see beyond their human viewpoint – how sad! Marriages that had the potential of blossoming were aborted overnight because a spouse decided to 'pull the plug'. Some have left their heaven-ordained planting in a church because they got tired of waiting for God to come through. Friend, you were never created by God to see things from a human viewpoint, but from His viewpoint. This was the issue that confronted Simon in Luke 5, which we read earlier. As this is our year to 'Excel', you must see this from God's viewpoint. Remember that God is not a man, hence He cannot lie (Numbers 23:19). Remember that Satan's duty is to place your focus on the human viewpoint – just to frustrate and stifle you. Instead, you must focus on God's viewpoint – He created you in His own image for this reason. Most of the challenges and the unresolved issues that we are dealing with are often as a result of our perception of the situation.
God asked Jeremiah the question, as recorded in Jeremiah 1:11 'What do you see?' Here is the same question for you today – What do you see about you, your destiny and your future. Remember that you will always think in the direction of your perception. Invariably, you will then proceed to behave, according to your thought process.
The danger of living from a human point of view is that you ultimately become what you perceive. This was what Lot experienced in Genesis 13:10, which read: 'Lot took a long look at the fertile plains of the Jordan Valley in the direction of Zoar. The whole area was well watered everywhere, like the garden of the LORD or the beautiful land of Egypt. (This was before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah'. So did the ten spies in Numbers 13 – they could only see the giants in the land, and this eventually led to their demise. However, Joshua and Caleb who saw the land from God's perspective eventually lived to tell the story – they conquered the land and enjoyed the inheritance that they had perceived from the onset.
If you are married, let me encourage you to celebrate your spouse. See your spouse as God's gift to you. Think highly of your spouse; remember that every thought eventually underline your conduct towards him or her. Wisdom demands that you begin to see your spouse through God's eyes, and forget the difficulties you both may have experienced in the past.
Having a human perspective is to carnally minded, as against being spiritually minded, when you see things from God's viewpoint. So everything thrown at you by Satan is simply intended to push you towards walking in the flesh. John 6:63 puts it this way: 'It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life'. In other words, anything done in the flesh will result in nothing. The word 'Spirit' in both upper and lower cases mean the same thing: 'pneuma' – when you see in the Spirit, you are seeing according to the word of God. So God's word concerning you, including wealth and riches, wellness and wholeness, and His words to us as a corporate that 'we are exceedingly fruitful' should cause you to rejoice and celebrate. Go ahead and make decisions based on God's viewpoint only and not otherwise. Jettison any distractions from the devil or any ideas to question God's word in your life. Abraham fell prey to this thought process when he asked in Genesis 17:17; 'Abraham fell facedown; he laughed and said to himself, "Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old? Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?" (NIV).
When you meditate on God's word, inevitably power is triggered in your spirit and your spirit becomes charged up. Secondly, as you meditate on God's word, confidence is developed within you. It was this confidence that energized David at seventeen years to confront an experienced warring Philistine giant, Goliath.
In Matthew 14:27-29, we read of Peter's experience of walking on water. As long as Peter looked to Jesus and steadied his eyes on the Word, he did the remarkable thing of walking on water. 'I declare that in this year, you will walk on your 'water' and circumstances in Jesus name'. However, as soon as Peter began giving his attention to the wind, he became afraid and began to sink. So, whenever you disconnect your heart from God's viewpoint or his word, inevitably it would lead to fear and problems.
In rounding up, here are four things that could prevent you from seeing your world from God's viewpoint: firstly, your current circumstances: You must put in perspective the various reports you receive from day to day: bank reports, doctor's reports and other letters that could shift your gaze from God. Secondly, your previous experiences: You must be careful not to define your present or future by your past experiences. Thirdly, other people's experiences: You must disengage your mind from believing the lies of the devil that you will experience the negative circumstances that happened to close friends or relatives. Every generation curses and misfortunes are broken in Jesus name! Lastly, other people's words that limit you: Parents, we must be deliberate in speaking and celebrating our children and the improved economic conditions that they enjoy. Never remind them of your difficult upbringing (if you had one). Guide and encourage them and ensure that your do not limit them in any way.
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