In John 11, we read the story of Jesus raising His friend Lazarus from the dead. It’s an incredible story with many details that carry beautiful lessons for us. One such detail that jumps out at me whenever I read the story is when Jesus tells those attending Lazarus’ funeral to “Take away the stone” or remove the door that covers the entrance to Lazarus’ tomb.
Sometimes we read Bible passages too literally and can miss deeper truths that are present in them. This statement of Jesus is more than just a command for the people to remove a barrier to His friend so that He can raise him from the dead. These words are also instructions to all of us that can help use in our own lives. However, you might wonder how these words pertain to you if you, unlike Lazarus at the beginning of the chapter, are not dead.
The answer is you are not Lazarus, but you might have one or more Lazaruses in your life that you would give anything for God to resurrect. Perhaps there was a dream or vision that you once had that you feel you have lost sight of. It could be the joy of your childhood or how you used to be before some event happened. Maybe there is a promise that you have been waiting on from God, which has been taking ages. Or maybe it was the person you were before you became addicted to something.
Whatever it is that you have placed in the tomb, God can bring it back to life. God will lead us to the joy, peace, and more that He has promised us in the Bible. Some of God’s promises include:
“If you believe, you will see the glory of God.” – John 11:40
“I am with you always.” – Matthew 28:20
“All things work for good for those who love God.” – Romans 8:28
“I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future of hope.” – Jeremiah 29:11
“I came so that they might have life and have it more abundantly.” – John 10:10
Furthermore, John 11 reminds us that God can restore, repair, and heal.
Maybe you read these and put them in a tomb, assuming that they are not for you. The truth is that these are meant for all of us. We should remember, though, that God wants us to participate in our lives just as much as He wants to help us. He will not force us to choose Him.
There are certain stones that we choose to put in place in our lives that Jesus tells us to remove so that He can work His miracle to resurrect the things or promises that we thought were dead. Jesus tells us to remove these stones so that He can see more clearly into our hearts to find them pure and wholly attached to Him.
We have stones in place that sometimes block our hearts from better knowing God or from experiencing the incredible faith life that God wants for us. When I was stuck in my addiction to drugs and alcohol, I thought that I could never give up those things because I thought they were my only tools for happiness. Furthermore, I feared what might happen if I removed those things.
God wants to raise our experience of life from the dead. He wants to increase our wonder and give us excitement in living in the Spirit. However, first, He tells us to take away the stone. We must remove the things that can keep us from knowing God more. These things include:
– Lack of forgiveness: Like Judas, we hold grudges against others and ourselves without any mercy or understanding.
– Doubting the work of the Holy Spirit: Like the scribes and Pharisees in the Gospels, we dismiss the amazing things that God does as nothing, missing out on the signs of His Kingdom.
– Hatred: Like Jezebel from the Old Testament, we are cruel to others, wishing or bringing about evil upon them due to our negative opinion of them.
– Envy: Like Saul in the Old Testament, we allow our possession of something to become more important than someone else’s good.
– Hardened Heart: Like Pharaoh in the Old Testament, we idolize our plans and desires to give them preference before the Lord and His desires. In other words, we stubbornly choose “our way” despite knowing that the Lord is calling us to do other things.
Each of these is a stone that blocks us from growing in our relationship with God and can even keep Him from resurrecting the things that we thought were long dead. One might read these and think that this means that hope for this must no longer be an option. However, the truth is that no amount of time is an obstacle that could keep God from working.
The Lord keeps his promises and can resurrect the things you thought were long dead. He tells us to take away the stones mentioned above so that we can give Him permission to work in our lives. He will not force us, but if we choose Him and remove these stones, we will see the glory of God.
To move forward and remove these stones in your life, there are many steps you can take. I share these and other related guidance in the numerous blogs, content, and other programs that Zenith puts out.
If you are seeking more guidance on how you can take away the stones that are interfering with your faith life, we can help! Zenith Ministries has been running a successful mentorship program that assists people in dealing with a variety of issues, including addiction, anxiety, marriage problems, depression, and more.
If you want to learn more, visit www.zenithministries.com/mentorship or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.