(Photo: Dan Delzell)
We all have issues, and that includes you. We go through life with these issues, some of which become apparent to us, while others not so much. So the question is, do you realize some of your issues?
I doubt that any of us, on this side of heaven, will ever realize all of our issues. But we can't start to make progress until we begin to realize some of them. It is fascinating how these issues differ from one person to the next. Your issues are likely very different from the issues of people around you, and vice versa. Your upbringing, your propensities, and your choices are just some of the things that produce your issues.
There are some issues which are common to millions of people. The most prominent one is the sin of unbelief. It keeps a person in a box and a place of spiritual darkness, where there is no knowledge or acceptance of what God has done to provide the forgiveness of sins. This issue is the mother of all issues because it exists at the very foundation of a person's existence. There is nothing deeper within a man than his belief, or his unbelief, in Jesus Christ.
Then there are issues that exist whether you are a believer in Jesus Christ or not. Some of them involve the way you view yourself, or the way you view those around you. Other issues involve moods and tendencies. And some issues are related to temptation, and to strongholds that have formed in the past by giving into certain sins. We are certainly complex as human beings and when you combine everything we have in our mind with everything we have in our past, it can result in some pretty persistent issues that tend to hang on to a person whether he is a believer or not.
How well do you know yourself and your issues? What are the three biggest issues in your life related to God, and to your thought life and behavior? What issues tend to dominate your existence over and over and over again? Are you even aware of them, and if so, how are you attempting to address them? Have you tried giving them to God? No, really, have you?
Have your issues been much of a factor in your job performance? How about in your marriage, or in other relationships? That's the thing about issues they tend to crop up right in the middle of our relationships and our work. We can't escape them, but we can address them with God's power and wisdom. They can be contained, and sometimes even removed, depending on the nature of the issue. Either way, God's grace is available to help us all the way whether the issue persists or not.
That is one of the many wonderful things about our Lord. He doesn't throw in the towel on us or turn His back on us. He always remains with His children, even through our issues. When we get to heaven, none of us will have even so much as one issue. That will all be a thing of the past. But for now, our best approach is to ask God for the wisdom to recognize our issues and for the grace to overcome them by His love and power.
Sounds simple enough but as we all know, the devil is in the details. Let's ask God to be our strength in the midst of any areas where the devil or our flesh is getting the best of us. God loves to help us and He loves it when we are open to recognizing and admitting our issues to Him. How else would we ever realize our need for Jesus and His love and forgiveness?
God is greater than our issues so let's celebrate His greatness and His ability to carry us through this life and bring us to the day He welcomes us into His heavenly kingdom to a land without suffering, and a land without issues. Just the thought of it reminds us that these issues are quickly passing away. Oh the joy of knowing the One who has no issues, but only grace for those who humbly bring their sin and their issues to His cross and His open arms of love.