Silencing the Voices of Restriction

No weapon that is fashioned against you shall succeed, and you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD and their vindication from me, declares the LORD.” Isaiah 54:17 ESV

Have you ever stopped to consider what things are holding you back from loving and serving God the way you’ve always wanted? Can you pinpoint what is restricting you from a whole hearted commitment to following Jesus in the way you believe you really should?

Like most people, I love the opportunity afforded us, as we begin a new calendar year, to turn over a new leaf in our spiritual lives.

Regardless of your answers to the opening questions, the reality is that there are obstacles and restrictions standing in your way of new beginnings spiritually. The enemies of our souls are always seeking to thwart the forward progress of every believer who sets their heart to abide in and do the will of God. These enemies of the world, the flesh, and the devil all afflict us with restrictions that can hold us back from experiencing the fullness of God’s plan and purposes for our lives. It’s as if they have “fashioned weapons against” us that through threat and intimidation, bludgeon us into passivity, or worse yet, retreat and hopelessness.

As this verse from Isaiah indicates, these weapons typically fire their volleys as voices – either from within or without, in the form of a “tongue that rises against you in judgment.” These wagging tongues have a way of pelting us with misbeliefs and untruths about ourselves and God. If we give heed to them they inflict us with a sense of unworthiness, lack, fear or worse, which result in spiritual paralysis.

As you begin a new year, what debilitating judgments are being whispered in your ears? What is holding you back from becoming all God has created you to be? Is it a sense of unworthiness because of some besetting sin? Is it the distractions engendered by a love of the world and the accompanying lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life? Is it bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness rooted in a broken relationship? Is it a lack of confidence and fear of failure? Is it a lack of time caused by over-commitment and busyness? Is it a lack of finances, education, experience, friendships, open doors, opportunity etc.? The list is endless, but God is limitless in His ability to supply whatever we need!

In the midst of this bombardment of weaponry fashioned against us, God makes an astounding promise! He says none of these weapons or judgments has the staying power to succeed. In fact, our vindication from Him is a guaranteed part of our inheritance as His children. But how? What are we to do in order to see this promise become a reality in the midst of bombardment?

The key is found in the latter part of the first sentence where it says “you shall refute every tongue that rises against you in judgment.” It is important to note that it is our initiative that is expected, yes even required, to claim this promise. Simply put, God expects us to take the initiative of faith to step out and refute for ourselves, the lying tongues seeking to block our path in our pursuit of God. The Hebrew for “refute” carries with it the idea of dealing severely with or literally condemning the lying voices that condemn us.

Actions prompted by faith, and confidently rooted in God’s ability and kind intentions, are always required to inherit His promises (Hebrews 6:12).

Taking a faith initiative to refute such debilitating lies and judgments requires that we do two things.

  1. Speaking Out – First it requires speaking out and confessing the truths of God’s Word to counter them. This is exactly what Jesus did when tempted by the Devil in the wilderness. It could go without saying, but suffice it to say that God’s power is released through the speaking of His Word and He can only confirm what we confess (Hebrews 3:1, Job 22:28). In other words, we must say what we desire to see (Mark 11:24).
  2. Stepping Out – Secondly, refuting debilitating lies also requires stepping out and doing something that is directly contrary to, and in spite of, the voices of opposition. We need to be like Peter, stepping out of the boat to walk on water. Practically, this means facing our fears of failure and trusting Jesus to affirm and support us. The old adage “nothing ventured, nothing gained” is decidedly true when it comes to steps of obedience of faith.

The following phrase, given to me by God for this year, has become my prayer and declaration for myself and others whom I know and love:

No Restrictions can Stand Between, You and God’s Purposes in 2016!

Don’t let anything or anyone hold you back from God’s plans for you in 2016. Determine right now, at the outset of this New Year, that you will allow no restrictions to stand between you and God’s purposes. Can you make a prayerful commitment to refute every hindrance by speaking out and stepping out, in Jesus name?

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