Summary: This sermon deals with going beyond the limitations others seek to place on us to the point of reaching God’s calling for our lives.
Not Limited By My Limitations
When we look at the success and lives of others, we may sometimes cry out in envy, that’s not fair. Why doesn’t that happen to me? Why can’t I have it like that. They get all the breaks. If we are not careful, we can become so consumed with envy and jealousy of others, we will miss out on what it is we are capable of having or doing ourselves. Life is always going to be unfair.
The mere decision you make to become a Christian, means you are choosing an unfair lifestyle. You can’t get even. You can’t have it all. You can’t expect others to love you simply because you do good. You can’t expect to never have problems, because God has promised all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. You will receive some spiritual gifts from God and not others. Even in the body of Christ, life is not fair.
God has something special and unique for you, because of who you are. We are all different with various strengths and talents. We are also different because of the limitations which we each possess. None of us are limited in the exact same way. The issue before us is, is will we learn from our limitations or use them as an excuse to not reach the potential God has placed within us.
Our temptation in facing limitations is to play the comparison game. Nothing destroys our contentment and peace, quicker than comparing ourselves to others. When Jesus told Peter, when you get old, somebody else is going to lead you by the hand and make you go where you do not want to go. Instead of Peter asking, Lord how will I be able to adjust to this situation, he said, now Jesus tell me about John. Is he going to have it rough too? It was as though Peter was saying, I don’t mind limitations on me, just as long as it also happens to him. Jesus said, your job is not to worry about John, your job is to follow me.
Limitations, setbacks and problems are a real fact in life. In the DUB Phillips translation of a part of 2 Corinthians he writes. We are handicapped on all sides, but we are never frustrated, we are puzzled, but never in despair, we are persecuted, but we never have to stand it alone. We may be knocked down, but we are never knocked out.
When we finally realize our limitations and handicaps, we then possess the ability for a real break through. We as Christians are called to live in the real world, not some fantasy of God simply coming down and wiping away every problem and every tear. Sometimes we impose limits on our ability to deal with our problems, because we tried something a long time ago and it didn’t work. We have been limited in our ability to find a solution in God ever since that failure way back then.
We all know an Elephant can pick up a ton with his trunk. An Elephant is one of the most powerful animals there is. Yet if you go to a circus, you will see a massive animal tied to a little stake in the ground, and He will stay there. He has the potential to go anywhere he wants to go, but instead he simply looks around and possibly thinks about how it would be different if the rope wasn’t tied down.
You see the elephant’s problem is mental, not a physical limitation. When he was young, he was tied to a stake that was deep in the ground before he got his strength. He pulled and struggled as a youngster and just couldn’t get away from it. One day he accepted the fact he wasn’t going to get away. From then on, he decided, whenever he was tied to the stake he was stuck. The elephant has allowed the limitations which has been placed upon it to keep it from becoming what it could possibly be.
It doesn’t cross his mind, he is not the same elephant he was years earlier without much strength. Nor does he recognize, the stake is not nearly as strong as it once was. Some of us need to wake up to the fact, we are not the same person we were back then. God has equipped us with additional strength and if we get up the nerve to challenge what’s holding us back, we could find a whole new world waiting for us to be in charge.
Many times we don’t put the limitations in our lives, somebody else put them on us and we accept them. You can’t do it. You won’t do it. You’ll never amount to anything. You’re just like your father. You can’t be anything without me. You owe me this. You never will graduate. You can’t leave me. Before we know it, we allow the pronouns to change just like the elephant to, I can’t do it. I won’t do it. I’ll never amount to anything. I’m just like my father. I owe them this. I can’t graduate. I can’t leave.