Who needs breakthrough?
If you feel “stuck” right now in any part of your life, then you need breakthrough.
A breakthrough is, at its heart, a way forward. It can be a subtle realization. Or it can be some massive change. In many ways, it depends on how you are currently stuck.
As we’ll discover later in the book, there are different kinds of stuck. Getting clear and naming what kind of “stuck” you feel is important. You will learn about the different types of “stuck” shortly, but right now, let’s just explore how you might be feeling “stuck.”
It’s such a common feeling, and it can affect any part of your life at any time: your relationships, your work, your finance, even your relationship with God.
You may feel you can’t quite pinpoint what it is …but you know that you feel “stuck.”
Unlike an imminent crisis, being stuck doesn’t have sharp edges. It’s a sense of something being “off,” a feeling of disappointment that lingers and sticks with you.
Life is just not what it could be. You aren't moving forward. Life feels like it is on hold.
If we were honest with ourselves, it feels like being a frog in water slowly, slowly rising in temperature. There's nothing really wrong -- but we know if we stay where we are, we're in hot water filled with regret and dissatisfaction.
Have you felt this way? Maybe you feel that way right now.
You just feel stuck.
When we ground our life in Jesus and what he has done for us, we have been made “unstuck” from the bindings of religion.
It’s just hard to fully live into that truth.
This book will take you on a journey, a journey I went through while studying King David, particularly a passage which gave the perfect image of how Christ frees anyone who feels “stuck”:
“So David went to Baal-perazim and defeated the Philistines there. “The LORD did it!” David exclaimed. “He burst through my enemies like a raging flood!” So he named that place Baal-perazim (which means “the Lord who bursts through”).” 2Samuel 5:20 NLT
Take a moment to let the picture really sink deep within your imagination. David, as we will see, really was stuck.
But God, “like a raging flood,” saved him, and “burst through.”
This is the picture of breakthrough that I want for you.
As I wrote this book and studied the Scripture, I realized that there are two common ways people seek to get themselves unstuck: self help and wishful thinking.
Neither are the right way. Both appear to have elements of a Godly life; but the small, nuanced difference between how King David handled his “stickiness” and these two typical approaches are enough rob us of God’s true power.
If you find yourself in one or more of them, you need a breakthrough.
This short book was designed to help you get there. Not just unstuck.
But to experience God’s breakthrough.
Did you know that God is described by David as "God of the breakthrough"?
Take a moment to let that sink in. When I reflect on that, I tingle with anticipation. It's awesome to know, believe, and trust this as something right out of Scripture.
Because breakthrough can mean different things to different people, let's start by grounding ourselves in definitions based on God's Word.
There are three ways the Bible illustrates breakthrough:
- God is the God of the breakthrough
- Gospel breaks through the veil of law and religion
- Grace breaks through our sin and guilt
In the passage from Chronicles and 2 Samuel, God is called the "God of the break through" by David when God defeated the Philistines at Baal-perazim.
The victory that David experienced by the "God of the breakthrough" foreshadows Christ's work at the cross. Christ's death broke through the veil separating us from God, tearing it from top to bottom, as described in Matthew.
“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split.” Matthew 27:50-51 ESV
This was a spiritual, literal, and profound “breakthrough” separating you from God, shredding the religion which once kept us trapped.
As a result of that death and resurrection, grace breaks the bondages of sin.
“Sin is no longer your master, for you no longer live under the requirements of the law. Instead, you live under the freedom of God’s grace.” Romans 6:14 NLT
All three share that cleansing and freeing image of “bursting waters” illustrating how God breaks through into our lives.
My (ongoing) story
I, not too long ago, felt as if I had literally had enemies.
David describes the Philistines as "they went up in full force to search for him." The key words was "full force."
In the Psalms, David cries out: "Dogs surround me, a pack of villains encircles me."
I don't know if you have ever felt that way. I hope you never do if I haven't.
Corporate America can be very challenging. Conflicts happen. Sometimes these become intensely interpersonal. In retrospect, because of my own blindspots, I found myself in a situation that was stressful, ultimately resulting in my leaving.
And even though the event is past, the residuals of that "corporate trauma" have persisted in my life.
These persisting shadows of death are the real enemies.
Once I tugged on that string of what happened and how I continued to feel wounded afterwards, I realized there needs to be a deeper change.
That change has to be rooted in Christ's work in me.
While saving grace is freely given, wonderful, and amazing -- it's also just the beginning of our maturing in Christ when we live in a fallen world.
I needed, and still need, a breakthrough.
Why I realized I needed a breakthrough (and you may, too)
If you, as I have, ever though to yourself, "Why does this keep happening?" you are, for lack of a better word, stuck.
I often find myself thinking these or similar words.
When one is stuck, one needs a breakthrough.
When David calls upon God, he is in a valley. The image to keep in mind, then, is David is in a valley, surrounded by mountains, with the Philistines coming upon him in "full force."
The victory over his enemies is described this way:
God has broken through my enemies by my hand, like a breakthrough of waters.
"Like a breakthrough of waters."
This is such a graphic, powerful vision of water breaking through the dry valley. Have you seen a powerful wave strike the edge of rocks? Have you heard the roaring sound of a huge wave as it strikes again the shore?
I'm writing this fifty feet away from the edge of the Pacific Ocean — hearing the crashing waves and seeing the water spraying as the waves strike the shore.
The sound breaks the monotony of life. The water quenches my dry spirit.
Do you relate to that at all? That desire for breakthrough?
I kicked this off by sharing a personal story of why this teaching was important to me. As with all my teaching, it is never because I have mastered anything.
It's because I need the teaching and the Word of God. Writing it down, teaching it, sharing it with other people is my way of allowing Scripture to cut through myself as a double-edged sword.
But I can't help but wonder if other people experience the same thing.
Why would you need breakthrough?
To begin processing where you are in life right now, and to help create fertile ground for new growth in your life, please reflect on the following:
Which areas in your life need breakthrough?
If you could define breakthrough in your life, what would it look like?
What are ways you have tried on your own strength to have a breakthrough? And how did that turn out!
In the next chapter, I am going to share in more detail why the common “self help” route could lead to disappointment.
To read the full series, click on the "Breakthrough" tag or go to the Breakthrough Page.