* Should be no barriers in marriage
Have you ever noticed how a little child can run naked through a room full of strangers without embarrassment? He is not aware of his nakedness, just as Adam and Eve were not embarrassed in their innocence. But after Adam and Eve sinned, shame and awkwardness followed, creating barriers between themselves and God. We often experience these same barriers in marriage. Ideally a husband and wife have no barriers, feeling no embarrassment in exposing themselves to each other or to God. But, like Adam and Eve, we put on fig leaves (barriers) because we have areas we don’t want our spouse, or God, to know about. Then we hide, just as Adam and Eve hid from God. In marriage, lack of spiritual, emotional, and intellectual intimacy usually precedes a breakdown of physical intimacy. In the same way, when we fail to expose our secret thoughts to God, we break our lines of communication with him. (NLT)
Genesis 2:25 – Now, although Adam and his wife were both naked, neither of them felt any shame.
* Barriers can develop faith and obedience
We learn from chapter 1 that these enemy nations were still in the land because the Israelites had failed to obey God and drive them out. Now God would allow the enemies to remain in order to “test” the Israelites; that is, to give them an opportunity to exercise faith and obedience. By now the younger generation that had not fought in the great battles of conquest was coming of age. It was their job to complete the conquest of the land. There were many obstacles yet to be overcome in their new homeland. How they would handle these obstacles would be a test of their faith.
Perhaps God has left obstacles in your life—hostile people, difficult situations, baffling problems—to allow you to develop faith and obedience. (NLT)
Judges 3:1-4 – The Lord left certain nations in the land to test those Israelites who had not participated in the wars of Canaan. He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle. These were the nations: the Philistines (those living under the live Philistine rulers), all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the hill country of Lebanon from Mount Baal-hermon to Lebohamath. These people were left to test the Israelites—to see whether they would obey the commands the Lord had given to their ancestors through Moses.
* Don’t let barriers block you from Jesus
The Roman officer could have let many obstacles stand between him and Jesus—pride, doubt, money, language, distance, time, self-sufficiency, power, race. But he didn’t. If he did not let these barriers block his approach to Jesus, we don’t need to either. What keeps you from Christ? (NLT)
Matthew 8:5-6 – When Jesus arrived in Capernaum, a Roman officer came and pleaded with him, “Lord, my young servant lies in bed, paralyzed and racked with pain.”
* – When Jesus called Matthew to be one of his disciples, Matthew got up and followed, leaving a lucrative career. When God calls you to follow or obey him, do you do it with as much abandon as Matthew? Sometimes the decision to follow Christ requires difficult or painful choices. Like Matthew, we must decide to leave behind those things that would keep us from following Christ. (NLT)
Matthew 9:9 – As Jesus was going down the road, he saw Matthew sitting at his tax-collection booth. “Come, by my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Matthew got up and followed him.
* Jesus’ death removes barriers
The Temple had three main parts: the courts, the Holy Place (where only the priests could enter), and the Most Holy Place (where only the high priest could enter, and only once a year, to atone for the sins of the nation—Leviticus 16:1-35). The curtain separating the Holy Place from the Most Holy Place was torn in two at Christ’s death, symbolizing that the barrier between God and humanity was removed. Now all people are free to approach God because of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins. (NLT)
Matthew 27:51 – At that moment the curtain in the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart . . .
* Jesus breaks down barriers of prejudice
This woman (1) was a Samaritan, a member of the hated mixed race, (2) was known to be living in sin, and (3) was in a public place. No respectable Jewish man would talk to a woman under such circumstances. But Jesus did. The Good News is for every person, no matter what his or her race, social position, or past sins. We must be prepared to share this Good News at any time and in any place. Jesus crossed all barriers to share the Good News, and we who follow him must do no less. (NLT)
John 4:7-9 – Soon a Samaritan woman came to draw water, and Jesus said to her, “Please give me a drink.” He was alone at the time because his disciples had gone into the village to buy some food.
The woman was surprised, for Jews refuse to have anything to do with Samaritans. She said to Jesus, “You are a Jew, and I am a Samaritan woman. Why are you asking me for a drink?”
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