Summary: It is the spirit that you have that really counts. If we have the wrong spirit, blessings can never flow to us or through us.
BARRIERS TO BLESSING
INTRO: All of us have read the story about the dykes of Holland According to the story, one day one of the dykes sprang a leak and the water began pouring in through that hole. But a heroic boy thrust his arm into the hole and held the waters back and saved the city from possible destruction. I am afraid that you and I have held back some waters too — the waters of blessing. God has wanted to bless us, but our lives have not been what they should have been and we have held back the blessing. He has wanted to bless other lives through us and we have held back His blessing from them.
In the text we see Jesus preaching in a certain house. A crowd had gathered, a crowd filled the whole house and overflowed into the courtyard. Every door was blocked by a mass of people Down the street lay a sick man. Although he was not able to go to Jesus, he had four friends who wanted to bring him to Jesus. They could not get to Jesus for the crowd. You remember how the friends took him up on the roof and let him down into the healing, forgiving presence of the Savior. We, too, have been barriers to blessing. If we are not living as we ought to live, if our hearts are not right in God’s sight, we erect barriers that keep blessings from us and from others.
The Christian life is a thing of the spirit. It is the spirit that you have that really counts. If we have the wrong spirit, blessings can never flow to us or through us. Let us look as some of these spirits.
I. A COVETOUS SPIRIT IS A BARRIER TO BLESSING.
Achan is an illustration of this spirit. He coveted the forbidden things in the city of Jericho, and because of this covetousness he brought defeat to Joshua’s army and death to himself and his family. God would have blessed Achan and his family, but Achan cut off the blessing by his covetousness.
In Malachi 3:8, God tells how the blessings are cut off because of our covetousness. When God commands anything He attaches a promise every time.
He commands us to tithe and then says, “I will open up....” (Malachi 3:10). There is a real blessing for the tither. If you love money and keep it and spend it for yourself, if you keep that from God which belongs to Him, you are surely erecting a barrier.
II. A REBELLIOUS SPIRIT IS A BARRIER TO BLESSING.
Take the case of Jonah. God wanted to bless him and make him a blessing to the people of Nineveh. To this preacher He said one word, “GO.” That is a small word, but it carries a big blessing with it. But the preacher said to God, “NO.” That is a small word, too, but it cuts off the blessing. There came a time when God conquered Jonah’s rebellious spirit, but the Lord had to send Jonah through much trouble before the preacher learned his lesson.
I have seen people rebel against God. A loved one dies; they do not think it is right, and they cry out, “He shouldn’t have been taken away from me!” Or they have a hard time and say, “Why has this happened to me?” God is blamed for all of their trouble. With their rebellious spirit they build a wall, and no blessings can get over it. God has a plan for your life, but if you rebel against that plan you cannot expect the blessings of God.
III. A WORLDLY SPIRIT IS A BARRIER TO BLESSING.
Demas is an illustration of this point. He was a young man who heard Paul preach one day. He was charmed by the personality of the preacher. Every word was a challenge to his heart. In a great moment of spiritual ecstasy he cried out, “I will leave everything and go with this man in the service of Jesus Christ.” Wasn’t that fine. There is nothing greater than a young man committing himself to serving God. He was right by Paul’s side. He was a joy and help to him. But they journeyed to the great city, and the bright lights of the world blinded the eyes of Demas (2 Timothy 4:10). Thus Demas cut off every blessing for himself and for others whom he might have served.
There are so many like Demas in the world! They start out for Christ in a wonderful way, and then one day they world calls to them. They listen; they follow. From that moment Christ and the Church have no room in their lives. The blessings cease to come to them and through them. Many of you in your social lives have friends whom you could help toward Christ and the Church and heaven, but you do the worldly things which they do and you have no influence over them. God wants you to be a channel through which His blessings go flowing to these friends, but instead you have become a barrier because of your worldly spirit.