What's Holding You Back...& How to Overcome It


What is holding you back from experiencing God's best for your life? Is it...

  • a sin pattern that traps you?

  • worry, anxiety, fear?

  • unresolved conflict, anger, or bitterness?

  • the overwhelm and stress of a busy, fast-paced life?

Whatever it is, Jesus wants to set you free! His words in Matthew 11:28-30 provide a key to finding the abundant life God intends for us. Jesus said:


Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.

(vs. 28, BSB)


If you find yourself overwhelmed and weary, or burdened with anxiety, fear, anger, or sin Jesus promises rest. . .if we will COME.


The first step in overcoming is to come to Jesus.

Jesus wants to help you; He wants to heal you, but you have to come to Him with whatever it is that is holding you down. This may mean...

  • confessing your sin.

  • throwing your worries and fears on Him.

  • crying out to Him in your exhaustion and overwhelm.

Philippians 4:6-7 says:


Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God...

(vs. 6, NIV)


Note how all encompassing this is. We're not to worry or be anxious about anything. We're supposed to turn to God in every situation! But also note the last bit...with thanksgiving. This can be challenging when we feel stuck, trapped, buried, or hopeless. BUT it is in thanking God that we receive the promise which comes along with this...


And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

(vs. 7, NIV)


When we come and lay everything at His feet, thanking Him for all He's already done for us and all He's given us, as well as all He will do and give to us, that's when God's supernatural peace descends.


Perhaps you've had this spiritual experience before. You know from all circumstantial evidence you should be freaking out but you're not. You're oddly at peace, and that peace is guarding you from the anxiety or fear, the stress or sorrow. It's a spiritual peace...a God peace. And it's beautiful.


Unfortunately most of us don't live in that place. That spiritual peace is a memory, far removed from the day-to-day existence we live. But what if there were a way to experience peace in the mundane, in the busyness, in the stress? Jesus gave the answer to that in the next verse of Matthew 11:


Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

(Mt. 11:29, BSB)


We have to do life with Jesus to experience a place of habitual rest.

Note that Jesus said we would find rest for our souls. Spiritual peace is lasting, yet sometimes it seems nebulous. But rest for the soul? That's boots on the ground kind of rest. It's rest in our thoughts, rest in our relationships, rest in our ambitions and motivations. Our souls are who we are...our personalities, intellects, and wills. They are the essence of us in daily living. And Jesus says we can experience rest there too! So how do we experience that rest? By yoking ourselves to Jesus.


Just like a young ox is yoked to an older, more experienced one to learn the ropes, so too we learn how to live in a state of peace and rest by being yoked to Jesus. But how do we even do that? We do life with Jesus. We spend time with Him daily. (This may look different for each person; there's no devotional formula God requires. Instead, it's about relationship!) We seek His opinion and guidance. We still our hearts and minds amidst the busyness long enough to hear the voice of His Spirit. And just as the lead ox guides the learner in the right direction, so God's Spirit leads and guides us. He leads us in paths of righteousness. He leads us beside still waters. He makes us lie down in green pastures. He restores our souls (indirect quotes from Ps. 23).


If you aren't experiencing God's peace and joy...hope and rest in your daily life, perhaps it's time to set aside your own ideas and agenda and instead seek God. Do life with your Savior--from the littlest decision to the big ones. Jesus promises you will find rest for your soul.






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