Mature Class Study, teacher Helene Goble.

Sometimes we get rocks in our shoes as we walk. We are to lay aside every weight, look to Jesus, and consider him so we don’t get faint in our minds. If we get a piece of bark in our shoe and ignore the irritation, it will cause a sore place.

Hebrews 12:1-3 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

A rock in our shoes spiritually can be destructive. Things that get into our shoe can happen to everyone.

Hebrews 12:22-29 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn…written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear…

If we let something stay in our shoe, a sore can fester or be bitter so many around us can be defiled. Bitterness can spoil our peace but also others who are close. We’re supposed to follow peace with all men, not just ones we like. What’s in your shoe? Is it anger (something that happened a long time ago), frustration with the children or others, deep sadness, or irritations that keep festering? One thing that often comes up is the thought “it’s not fair!” These can cause separation between us and our prayers to God. We have to give it to God and let him do what he will. Regret can be a stone in our shoe like – I wish I’d been a better mother when I was young or something else. We have to let it pass. If you have six rocks in your shoe, you can barely walk. Even having two rocks in your show makes walking very difficult.

Hebrews 12:13-15 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

We would be lying against God’s power to heal and help us forgive if we let things cause bitterness and strife. Holding onto something that causes bitterness is an earthly and human way to think and reason about things. We’ll end up with strife and confusion if we think that way. We need to keep being easily entreated like when we were first saved. We have to retain the childlike acceptance of God’s grace for hard situations. If we lean on our own thinking, we’ll get hard. Bitterness will spoil our testimony. It’s not from God and is lying against the truth. We can tell if we’re operating under the grace of God. His way is pure, peaceable, gentle, and easily entreated. We keep peace by letting go of bitterness.

James 3:11-18 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh. Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.  But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

A soft answer is the remedy or template to help us if we start to feel bitterness, strife, anger, or other upset feelings.

Proverbs 15:1-4 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright: but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.

The younger of two sons asked his father to give his inheritance to him. He didn’t care about his father or his brother.

Luke 15:11-13 And he said, A certain man had two sons: And the younger of them said to his father, Father, give me the portion of goods that falleth to me. And he divided unto them his living. And not many days after the younger son gathered all together, and took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.

He spent everything on riotous living and then came to himself. He saw he needed to go back to his father’s house.

Luke 15:14-19 And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want. And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him. And when he came to himself, he said, How many hired servants of my father’s have bread enough and to spare, and I perish with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.

The father saw his son coming down the road with a repentant heart. His son confessed his error and the father received him with love and made a feast for him. His father said to put shoes on him so he must have been barefoot. The father didn’t scold him or turn him away but had compassion on him.

Luke 15:20-24 And he arose, and came to his father. But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy son. But the father said to his servants, Bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet: And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry: For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.

When the older brother heard what happened, he basically said “that’s not fair!” and he was angry so he wouldn’t go in.

Luke 15:25-28 Now his elder son was in the field: and as he…drew nigh to the house, he heard musick and dancing. And he called…the servants, and asked what these things meant. And he said…Thy brother is come; and thy father hath killed the fatted calf, because he hath received him safe…And he was angry, and would not go in…his father out, and intreated him.

The father entreated his older son. The father let him know he loved him and everything of his was his son’s also. His father was trying to get him to let go of the stone in his shoe. John Gotmann, a Jewish man, observed couples to develop a way of resolving conflicts. He noticed that some people solve problems and resolved conflicts more easily than others. The ones that were resolving problems and conflicts genuinely wanted to hear the other person’s side and showed respect to keep the relationship together. Those who weren’t good resolving conflicts were defending and blaming, blaming and defending, etc. Defending and blaming is like the rocks in our shoes that keep rubbing a sore place until we get rid of them. Defending and blaming doesn’t solve problems. Gotmann was actually using a Bible principle we’ve had for a long time.

Luke 15:29-32 And…said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed…thy commandment… thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends: But as soon as this thy son…which hath devoured thy living with harlots, thou hast killed for him the fatted calf. And he said…Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine. It was meet that we should make merry…for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.

We need to know where our wisdom is coming from. Is it pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, and full of mercy? Submitting our problems to God in prayer gives the help we need. Or are we harsh and judgmental like the older brother? We  can ask God how to be more effective in dealing with souls. What is keeping us from getting along? What hinders our relationships? Look at the patterns God has shown that work. Ask God if there are any rocks in our shoes.

James 3:17-18…wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.