Welcome to our third week of womens online bible study as we study Breaking Free by Beth Moore. Last week we learned about the five primary benefits God extends to His children. This week we learned about obstacles in our path to freedom. This is the major point in our Breaking Free study where the enemy wants you to sway, turn back and leave the obstacles in your path. He’ll tempt you to judge others, sometimes even the book author or the scripture itself. The goal of the enemy is to throw you off course and take away your glory with God. God wants to do a mighty work in your life, don’t let the enemy get a foothold. (Beth Moore) This may be the most challenging week yet. We’re looking in the mirror and facing our obstacles. Resist the temptation to run away and hide in your busyness. When the study becomes uncomfortable, spend more time with God, not less.
We looked at unbelief as the first obstacle, when Beth reminds us there is a purpose in illness, and unbelief makes it difficult to accept His purpose. I’m surrounded by illness, personally and professionally and I’ve seen Gods’ glory as well as His absence. From a world perspective, it makes no sense and from a spiritual perspective, it’s a necessity. It’s events such as these that keep us flowing back and forth on the belief diagram. A child is healed from leukemia, my certainty of belief exceeds all expectations. A baby dies from the same illness a few months later, and I see my confidence wavering. Back and forth, this constant struggle between belief and unbelief is exhausting! Seeing friends lose a child to illness, hearing stories about breast cancer, and knowing that autism is epidemic-I tilt my blue eyes to the Lord and whisper “why.” My visual perception is limited by my presence here on earth. In scripture, we learn that Jesus uses simple words to translate this worldview to a spiritual view. What do we gain by unbelief? Depression, lost hope, sadness, self destruction or spiritual death? Giving our life to the enemy of destruction, instead of living our life in God’s full Glory?
I wrote about unbelief the first time I read Breaking Free, and now several years later I am able to look back at my journey and see that I was living in self and not by the Spirit. I never saw it when I looked in my rearview mirror…because it was a process I needed to experience through scripture study. The big stone in my life- unbelief- was slowly and painfully rolled aside and I continued my journey towards knowing and loving a God I could not see. Now I live life knowing God is good, always!
This week also gave us the chance to learn about the value of prayer in our lives. From my own experience, I was first introduced to “prayer” when my husband was seriously ill, and neighbors I barely knew looked in my eyes and said “I’ll pray for him.” Over and over, people were saying this to me, and silently I thought “why are they all praying for me, I don’t even pray for myself!” Today I realize that these Christians were demonstrating “love thy neighbor” and I depended on this when my husband was fighting for his life. Later, my own friend needed prayers as her two-year-old daughter battled leukemia and I found myself repeating those words “I’ll pray for you.” Through I was a novice at prayer, I spilled my heart to pray for this beautiful girl. During that time, I witnessed over 600 people continually praying, giving blood and bone marrow, bringing her family meals, and tending to the emotional needs of this family. One small child, broken by cancer, brought myself and several other people to our knees in constant prayer with God. While God healed her cancer, the two-year-old girl healed my stagnant prayer life. Often we’ll find it easy to pray when we face an enormous illness, crying out “Oh God, heal me and save me.” Yet in the ordinary events of our lives, we are not praying and staying in God’s peace and comfort. Satan knows that facing death brings us closer to God, and he also knows that daily life and perfectionism distracts us from closeness to God. Remember, the enemy knows the scriptures too!
I wanted to draw your attention to the “stones of unbelief, pride, idolatry, prayerlessness” (and legalism) listed on page 72 in your workbook. Breaking obstacles is so important to me, I made a copy of this and I’m carrying it with me during my day. It’s a personal reminder to seek Him and evaluate my emotions based upon these obstacles. Our week ended with a lesson on the rules of faith, from the heart of God and not the heart of the religious organizations. I’m NOT going to speak much about this. I’m not going to discuss religious attire, religious rituals, religious sacraments, religious icons, etc in this study. Doing so is simply an open invitation for legalism and in an effort to defend my thoughts, I would become prey to it. Unbelief, pride, idolatry, prayerlessness and legalism are obstacles to true intimacy with our King. It’s time to Break Free.
This week we examined the five obstacles which hinder our relationship with God: unbelief, pride, idolatry,prayerlessness and legalism. Each of these is a big boulder we carry inside our hearts, weighing us down and distorting our vision of God. It took many years for these obstacles to attach themselves to our hearts….and in our bible study with Beth Moore we will break free from at least one of these. Like each of you, I’m praying for the Lord to reveal the clogged arteries of my spiritual heart. I think I’ve found a new one…because it keeps appearing and I am easily convicted about this issue. How about you…which of these obstacles are weighing you down:
As I am completing this study again, I realize I need to examine my heart like a surgeon looking for blockage. Certain there are more obstacles to remove, I am blessed in my journey because I’m walking it with you. Please post a comment below and share your story. What matters to God matters to me…and I enjoy hearing from you individually.
Assignment For the Week
- Read Week Four in your book.
- Listen to Audio Session Five or Video Session Five (optional due to cost)
- Check in with your Small Group Leader for prayer requests and fellowship
Group Discussion- Answer here or in your small groups
- Which of the 5 obstacles have you battled in your past? (unbelief, pride, legalism, prayerlessness, idolatry)
- Which of the 5 obstacles do you struggle with right now? (unbelief, pride, legalism, prayerlessness, idolatry)
- Has dissatisfaction ever led you to discover Christ in a new and satisfying way? When? (page 65 )
- Can you think of a time when God was trying to lead you to find fullness in Him but you settled for something less? Describe what happened. (page 66 )
- How can a student of God’s Word squeeze the enjoyment out of her Christian walk by replacing relationship with legalism? (page 73 )
- On page 69 on the workbook, Beth Moore walked us through an exercise where we took a scripture verse and turned it from a positive into a negative, in order to see the opposite effect. What did you think about this approach to scripture?
Please post your comments below…we all learn when we share together.