There's a modern parable told periodically throughout Christendom that some of you may have heard, but I'm certain not all of you have. It goes like this. A young man, deep in the woods, walked out of his cabin one morning and was greeted by Jesus standing there waiting for him. He said, "Lord, how may I serve you?" Jesus then pointed towards a nearby bolder and said, "I want you to move that boulder." The young man became troubled by this because the boulder was massive.
But being obedient he obeyed. Day after day, month after month, year after year he pushed and pushed and pushed against that boulder, but it would not move. Some time later Jesus returned and the young man said, with great frustration, "Lord, I've done as You've asked and pushed against this boulder, but try as I might I can't make it move!" The Lord then smiled at him, and said, "It wasn't my intention that you move it." "Then why have me try?" Jesus then pointed to the young man, and said, "Look at yourself, and how strong you've become. Your muscles have grown, your bones and your tendons have become stronger, and you have become mighty in strength. Now, let me move this boulder for you."
You see, there are some things in our lives that God tells us to battle against, but try as we might, pray as we might, struggle as we might, they just do not move, at all, period. They're always there, immovable, gigantic, untouchable. I've got several of those boulder experiences in my life as well, and I know that each of you do too. But have you ever wondered why those boulders won't move? Perhaps it's a lack of faith on your part, or insufficient prayer, perhaps a lack of trust, or even a insincere desire to move that boulder in your life.
Quite often those boulders are things in your life that are sins. Things like smoking, drinking, lying, sexual immorality, or even simple, seemingly innocent things like envy or jealousy. Some things we pray for God lifts them out of our way and moves these boulders for us with just a simple prayer. But others He tells us to move. Why? Because, like the young man, God wants to use these experiences to make us stronger. In other cases the boulder is only immovable because we are immovable. What do I mean by that?
Well, let's say for example you're a lustful individual. It feels good to you to lust, and you like ogling petty men or women with lustful thoughts in your mind, imagining immoral acts with them, all of which is tainting your soul. You may not be happy with doing that, and in some ways it may make you feel sick that you're doing it. Yet you do it anyways. Why? Because, despite the self condemnation and loathing, it's a sin that makes you feel good. Sorta like drug of sorts. If one were to dive deep into the physics and chemistry of the whole thing, there's actually a bit of truth to that.
Those sinful lusts or desires actually create a reaction in your body and your brain that very closely mimics the same effects caused by narcotic drugs. These in turn create a weak desire within you to get rid of them. It's not the strong, "This is going out the door right now and there's nothing that can stop me from doing it!" Those kind of reactions to sin quite often occur with items that we have the least emotional or physical connection with. It then becomes the ones which we have the greatest connection to that become our boulder experiences.
So how do we resolve these issues? How do we, if we can't move them ourselves, create the circumstances needed for God to step in on our behalf and move them for us? Well, I believe the answer is right before us. Look at what the young man did. When he obeyed Christ he pushed and pushed and pushed for days, weeks, months, even years. He kept pushing and never stopped. But what kind of pushing was that? If you take it from the metaphorical into the physical that pushing becomes daily, sometimes hourly prayer if the sin or temptation is incredibly strong in our lives, bible study at least once, preferably several times a day, self denial, both of ourselves and the sin especially, and much more.
It's basically a full on turning to the Lord, burying ourselves in Him complete, always pushing forward, pulling away from the sin with all our strength and pushing towards Christ even if it seems like we're making no progress, because even if the boulder isn't moving, our faith and spiritual strength is growing stronger. Then, when He feels it's time for the boulder to move, it will vanish from our lives with an ease that is confounding. It will just suddenly go away as though it were never an issue. But when we look in the mirror afterwards, wondering what happened, we will see, not the skinny, weak, frail individual we were before this trial, but rather a strong, muscular, healthy follower of Christ, strong in faith and spirit, and ready to go bigger and greater things for Jesus.
So if you have a boulder experience in your life, don't cry about it, or wail and moan because the rock isn't moving. Push against that overwhelming slab of stone with all you have, and cling to Christ with all your strength, growing ever stronger day by day as you cling to Him, and in time, with great patience and long suffering, you will not only see your boulder moved, but you will also have become the follower and believer that He's always wanted you to be. But you can't become that, nor will you see your boulder moved, until you fully surrender yourself to Christ and His perfect will for everything in your life.
God will not move those boulders in your life until you're willing to surrender your will to Him completely, and to do that you must deny yourself, and all that you are, and follow Him, without question or reservation. But you can't do that with just a mental decision. Just like Love is more a physical action than a fleeting emotion, obedience is a physical action of service and obedience to God rather than a mental ascension to His will.