By Charles Wages
It is an appropriate saying that reminds us that “we should strive to be a part of the solution rather than the problem.” Also, we must remember that it is about as bad to be hindered as to hinder. It is pretty difficult if not futile to try to be neutral in life. We, in the main, either help in the service of God or we hinder.
It is said in John 12 that some of the chief rulers believed on Him, “but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” In other words, they were hindered from taking a public stand for the Lord because they were afraid of the disfavor of men. Loving the praise of men more than God is a definite hindrance in and to the service of God. It was the fearless and faithful Paul who said, “For do I now persuade men or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Gal. 1:10).
Growth is an inherent part of life. Growth in grace and knowledge is an ordained part of eternal life. Yet, growth can be stunted and hindered. Failure to advance in grace and the Word is a definite hindrance in and to the service of God. Paul wrote to the Galatians and said, “Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?” (Gal. 5:7) In another sense of the word, they had been “cut back in their advance and production for God.”
Prayer affects our life, and the way we live affects our prayers. Peter, in reflecting on just one vital aspect of our overall life, wrote that the husband and wife should live together “as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers, be not hindered” (1 Pet. 3:7). In broadening this thought, we can see that the way we order our lives not only affects our own prayers, but can hinder almost everyone with whom we have contact and becomes a definite hindrance in and to the service of God.
Our lives should be lived for the glory of God and to the benefit of others rather than ourselves. For instance, the apostle Paul writing concerning taking “carnal things” for his spiritual service, said, “Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ” (1 Cor. 9:12). He recognized the servant of the Lord had the right to receive gifts because later he said, “even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” There may be things, in many instances, that we will have to forego in order not to hinder.
The areas in which we can help in the Lord’s work are so limitless that it should make us feel ashamed to say, “Where and how can I help?” There is one point, though, that should be stressed. That is, that in most cases, we need to work together in order to really help in God’s service. There may be a few instances in which an individual does it all, but, in general, “togetherness” should be the word.
Again, let’s refer to the Apostle Paul. He said of his three-fold deliverance in 2 Corinthians 1:10-11, “Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver; in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; Ye also helping together by prayer for us.” Paul was careful to note that the saints had been praying together and this was of great comfort and help to him. We can all help by praying, not just as individuals, but as the great family of God.
In closing, may each and every one of us study carefully Hebrews 4:16. This great verse tells us how to come to God (boldly), where to come (the throne of grace), and why we should come (obtain mercy, find grace to help in time of need). Just one comment will suffice. Let us notice and weigh carefully that this not only means that we personally will find “seasonable help,” but surely should enable us to help others with the blessings we receive.