Have you ever felt that you have been on a “plateau” for too long a time, that you should already have reached your next level of spiritual or material increase? Maybe it is one of three things that is stopping your progress. Let’s take a look at three “progress stoppers” from Scripture, and the solution to each one.
1. The enemy of your soul, satan, may be the first cause of a halt in progress in your life. I mention him first because he represents the least of our problems in the list I am suggesting. Matthew tells the account of Jesus crossing the lake when a storm arose, “trying to stop Him” from the assignment waiting on the other side.
“Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?” (Matthew 8:23-27 NKJV)
Jesus responded to this “progress stopper” by “rebuking” the storm. The word “rebuke” is the same Greek word He used when rebuking demons, suggesting that satan was behind this storm. We also have authority to rebuke the devil when he opposes our progress as we carry out God’s assignments for our lives. Satan rarely bothers with a believer until they find God’s will and seek to do it. When we have embarked on our spiritual journey to fulfill all that God intends for us, we can be assured that we have the needed weapon to remove satan from our path – the Name of Jesus.
2. We may be stopping “ourselves” by trying to do the right thing without the proper instruction and training. Jesus was premature in attempting to fulfill His role as Messiah in Luke 2, having left his parents and gone into the temple to teach the spiritual leaders, and was sent back home to continue to learn and grow in the house of Joseph and Mary.
Then He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and was subject to them, but His mother kept all these things in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men. (Luke 2:51-52 NKJV)
Jesus was released to fulfill His assignment after He reached the needed level of wisdom and maturity.
Paul told Timothy that those who refuse instruction actually are “opposing themselves”.
And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (2 Timothy 2:24-26 KJV)
Being unteachable will stop progress in our lives, making us our own worst enemy; maintaining a teachable spirit will unleash progress in our lives. So far we have observed satan and self as two of the “progress stoppers.”
3. Last, but certainly not least, is God. Yes, God will stop us at times in our lives when we need a character adjustment. God is more concerned about what we “become” rather than what we “accomplish.” Someone has rightly noted that “talent can take you far, but only character can maintain what you have attained.”
But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. (James 4:6 KJV)
The verse says that God will oppose those who are operating in “pride.” If God stands in your way, forget about progress until you find out what He wants to do in your life and make the necessary changes. Pride is often an overestimation of ourselves, whereas humility is a correct estimation of our selves, including both strengths and weaknesses. Pride is “self-sufficiency,” depending own our own abilities without the grace of God. Humility is recognizing God’s place in our lives and surrendering to Him, and depending on His grace to accomplish His will for us. People who have learned to “acknowledge Him in all their ways” have gone far and left a great legacy in this world.
I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Philippians 4:13 KJV)