When we think of breakthrough, we often associate it with something we don’t have arriving at our doorstep. Our breakthrough is easily tied to our desired promotion, increase in finances, greater influence, healing of sickness and joy flooding our hearts. However, we don’t often think of breakthrough as a transformation of our lives, rooted in a transformation within ourselves. God sent Jesus to die on the cross and pay a ransom price for our sins (Galatians 3:13, Romans 6:23); He sent Jesus to reveal the Father as a God who delights in mercy, relentlessly loves His children and forgives every sin as one in the same; He sent Jesus to reveal our true identity as one of power, love purpose, abundance, peace and health – for as Jesus is, so are we (1 John 4:17); but He also sent Jesus to live among us so He could replace our stony hearts with ones of flesh, opening our eyes to the fullness of His presence. In this week’s message, as we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Pastor Tracy discusses how as God replaces our once hardened hearts, we are able to walk in breakthrough by continuously walking in God’s presence.
When Adam and Eve first sinned, man’s heart was broken. God, unable to coexist with sin, was forced to remove His Spirit from within us and confine Him in His temple (Genesis 2:17). Both Adam and Eve, once full of the life-giving Spirit of God were left empty with a stony heart – a heart susceptible to pride, sorrow, selfishness and weakness. Their broken hearts quickly became prone to accepting the lies and destructive fruit produced by sin. And as Adam and Eve began to believe they were unworthy of God’s love, unable to measure up and were overwhelmed by shame, a veil began to cover their eyes and limit them from seeing the fullness of a God they once walked with. They were unable to see and believe God was a Father who so desperately wanted to spend eternity with His children. They became unable to receive God’s all sufficient grace. They no longer saw themselves as cherished, but rather felt ashamed of the mistakes they made; and it is this same stony heart which makes us prone to believing the same lies about ourselves – lies which, convince us we’ll never escape our sorrow, we’ll never make a difference and God doesn’t hear our prayers – lies, which lift a veil over our eyes, restricting us from believing that while we so often live in the ordinary, God’s desire is to carry us into the extraordinary.
When Jesus died on the cross, the veil separating God’s presence from man was torn in two (Matthew 27:51). This not only allowed us access to walk boldly to the throne of grace, but gave the Holy Sprit the opportunity to break out of the temple and dwell in us once again. It was at this moment our breakthrough came, as God became able to fully restore and heal us from within. When we receive Jesus and allow the Holy Spirit to live in us, He softens our hearts towards the ways, thoughts and love of God. He is able to reach into the broken, weary and burdened areas of our hearts, uplifting them with His strength. The Holy Spirit eradicates the lies we once believed about God and replaces them with truth, reminding us of God’s faithfulness, forgiveness, gentleness and grace. And as our hearts are softened, the veils which once covered our eyes are also lifted (2 Corinthians 3:14). We begin to see God for who He truly is – a God of mercy who desires to take us from glory to glory – a God who not only pours out His living water among us, but causes rivers to flow out of us. Yet all of this still remains a choice for us. While Jesus made a way for our eyes and heart to be open to walking in the extraordinary presence and provision of God, we must decide to rest in His presence. We must say yes to letting the Holy Spirit speak to us and reveal the bitter, proud and ashamed parts of our heart, willing to let Him perform His perfect work in us. And we must daily position ourselves in His presence, believing that when we rest in Him, His living water will not only be sufficient to provide all we need, but will carry us into a life of things we never could have imagined. Breaking through the lies of deceit and experiencing all God has destined for us begins when our hearts are softened and the veils are lifted from our eyes.
- What areas of your heart are hardened? Who/What is your heart hardened towards? What do you believe has caused your heart to feel this way?
- How has your hardened heart limited you from experience the fullness of those relationships? How have they prevented you from moving forward?
- Are there any lies about God you still find yourself believing? How have they limited you from walking in the fullness of God’s plans for your life?
- Do you find it difficult to be vulnerable with the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to search and heal the broken, weary and burned parts of your heart? If yes, what stops you from allowing Him access to perform His healing work in you?
- How can you keep yourself in God’s presence throughout the day? What can you do to position yourself in God’s stream of living water, so you can receive His strength, power, wisdom, courage and identity?
- What ordinary areas of your life have you accepted as true? How you think God wants to make those areas extraordinary?
Thank God for softening your heart. Praise Him for taking your heart of stone and replacing it with a heart of flesh (Ezekiel 36:26). Ask God to reveal any areas of your heart that still may be hardened towards Him or someone you know. Invite the Holy Spirit into you heart and allow Him to mend the brokenness within. Thank God for revealing Himself to you in His fullness. Ask God to increase your awareness of His presence in your life. Pray that as you would position yourself in His living water that He would continue to reveal the greater glory of His plans for you. Thank God for carrying you into your purpose one step at a time.
Encourage your group members to allow the Holy Spirit to search the deepest parts of their heart and embrace whatever He may reveal to them. Remind your group members that as we seek wholeness, there may be areas of our hearts we are unaware of that are still broken. Lead your group members to Scripture which reinforces God’s nature regarding any fears, unbelief or doubts they have towards God. Help your group members see the simplicity of staying in God’s presence throughout the day, by giving them practical ways to remain in prayer and worship.