On my morning walk last Thursday I was about 1/3 of the way through and I came to realize that I had a little rock in my shoe. You see, I start my walk on Hwy. 53, and walk the shoulder of the road, which is fine gravel and sand. It’s not a bad walk before the traffic starts, if you watch out for dead raccoons. Well, as I was walking, I must have kicked up a rock and it worked its way into my shoe.

Step after step, I felt it creep downward and finally, it was under the center of my foot. I didn’t want to stop because I clipping along at a good rate, it was irritating but didn’t really hurt, and I was sure I could make it home without a problem. But still, every step, I was aware of it. It became the focus of my walk.

Finally, after about 2/3 of my walk, I thought, “this is ridicules, stop and take it out.” So, I did. I stopped, pulled off my shoe in front of someone’s house, shook out the rock, put it back on and started my walk again. It didn’t bother me anymore. All of a sudden I heard something… my iPod… there was a “praise song on it.” It was a song that lifted praise and glory to God for all He has done for us. And then it hit me. That song had been playing and others like it, for the last 15 minutes. I hadn’t heard a word. I hadn’t thought about God, I was focused on a stupid little rock.

Some things in our lives are like that rock. They keep us preoccupied as we battle to keep them from hurting us. We focus on them and it keeps us from moving forward in our spirits. You’ve heard the saying, “in all things moderation.” “Poppycock,” I say. Some things just need elimination! Because for us, keeping them in moderation just takes too much work! It becomes a roadblock to spiritual growth, worship and praising God.

I wonder, how many things in my life distract me from a life of praising God? How many things have I been trying to keep in their place when I should just be letting go of them? Attitudes, habits, expectations, private desires, when we try to keep harmful things under control, we end up preoccupying our mind. Freedom often comes from elimination!

It is true, some things we can’t eliminate. We don’t eliminate relationships, because God’s desire is redemption and reconciliation. We don’t eliminate certain weaknesses, because many of these we don’t control and God uses them to give us greater grace. But there is a lot we can eliminate – – because it distracts us from living in the awareness of the presence of God.

James 1:19-21 says, My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.” (NIV)

There are things we just need to get rid of because they keep us from living by the Word of God and adopting the values of God. They keep us preoccupied on the things of this world versus the life of the Kingdom of God. Take a moment or two to pray and ask the Spirit of God to reveal the rock you’ve been living with, trying to keep under control, so you can be freed to enjoy all He’s done for you.

How do we get rid of things that hinder us?  Prayer to discern what it is.  Physically remove the temptation.  Fill the space with a God-honoring activity or desire.  And finding someone to be accountable to.