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TITLE: What is hindering you
By David McArdle

Time for self-examination
What is hindering you?

“Then the glory of the Lord will be revealed … ” [Isaiah 40.5 NASB]

Isaiah, like the majority of the Old Testament prophets, had not had an easy life, and nor was his ministry always widely accepted. Yet, he had continued to stand upright and loyal to God, in the face of the severest difficulties, for example, at one time, his wife and his two sons were the sum total of the chosen remnant of God.

Ever since his call and vision, when King Uzziah died, Isaiah had been weaned away from trusting in man and had learned to trust in God alone. Consequently, his life, ministry and faith were solidly rooted in God, as a result of this revelation.

God’s faithfulness and dependability were paramount, both in Isaiah’s family life and in his ministry and God gave him great and unparalleled insight into the Person, work and life of the Lord Jesus.

However, as a result of the exile, the people had been undergoing a barren and unsettling period. However, Isaiah cried out, “In all their afflictions, He was afflicted.”

This ministry of comfort in the midst of affliction, was an essential and an encouraging one, for there was a work to be done before the glory of the Lord could come to the people.

At a time of restoration and renewal, the first fundamental truth which the Lord imparts to His people is the knowledge that the consequences of their sins have been removed and that there never will be any public or private, recrimination or condemnation.

Sometimes God’s people, although they really do know that they have been forgiven, still carry a sense of guilt and shame with them wherever they go. To a people in this circular condition, the Lord would say, “It is finished.”

Now, if we are actually going to enter in and receive all that the Lord has for us, there may be one two or two things which we need to pay attention to.

When my two sons were younger, I used to say to them, after a misdeed had occurred, “Repeat after me, discipline is good for me.”

Without being intentionally critical, most, if not all of us, would definitely be more effective for God and useful to man, if we continually exercised more personal and private discipline. Times of chastening would not be so frequent and severe, if we were to, daily, take stock of our lives.

In [Isaiah 40.4], the prophet painted five spiritual pictures, which, when completed and signed by us, will assist us greatly on the way to maturity.

They are,

“Let every valley [of unfinished tasks] be lifted up.” We always start out in God’s work, with the best of intentions, to accomplish … May today be the day that we start to eradicate this weakness, by fulfilling these daily duties?

"Let every mountain [of unbelief and difficulty] be made low.” There are, in many of our lives, obstacles that we have continually allowed to remain for far too long. May we say, by God’s grace, “Today, you are coming down.” Seven times Moses said to Pharaoh, “Let My people go.” Before he gave in. Whatever you are facing, continue to repeat God’s word to you, for God is faithful to fulfil His word.

"Let every hill [of small and insignificant things] be made low.” Most of us know, to our cost, the dangers of inattention to minor matters. Let us then, with passion and unmeasured zeal, tighten up our self-control and keep our eyes and mind under a tight rein.

"Let the rough ground [of broken relationships] become a plain.” This is unquestioningly, to some believers, a sore point. However, we are never going to make any permanent progress in our Christian lives, until we are holding nothing against a brother in the Lord.

"Let the rugged terrain [of prickly things in my life that people have highlighted, and, as yet, I have not turned from, into] a broad valley where God’s glory can flow through unhindered.

Last night, I asked my 14 year old daughter’s music teacher, “Does Charlotte have real potential or are we just wasting our money?” She replied without hesitation, “Charlotte has the potential to be a West End star. However, I would add, she needs to do ballet. She does not have to be a ballerina but when she can do ballet, then she will be able to do any dance. Without that, she will be seriously hindered on the stage, no matter how nice her voice is.”

Are you aware of anything holding you back from advancing by leaps and bounds in your spiritual life? You are accountable before God to find, root out and destroy it. [David McArdle]
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