Dear Loved One,
If you’ve ever heard me speak on the subject, then you know that I love this time of year. I love the feast of Thanksgiving and everything about Christmas! Now as 2016 comes to a close, and we anticipate the start of a new year, the Lord has been reminding me of something He placed in my heart to study many years ago. I believe the Lord brought this to my mind to share with you, because of its great applicability in preparing our hearts for the start of a new year.
My study focused on the terms “treadmill” and “millstone.” You may be familiar with the origin of these words and how they are related.
A “treadmill” was the machine used to grind corn in ancient times. A “millstone” was a part of the treadmill that actually broke open the corn kernels and ground them into meal or flour. The millstone was put at an angle resting against the mid-point of another stone and the heavy, huge millstone would be rotated like a wheel as the corn was poured in. Around and around it would go, grinding away.
As you approach the start of a new year, I would like to ask you about the “treadmill territory” in your life. Are there things that have become grinding to you? Are there areas in your life where it seems you aren’t making headway, no matter how diligently you try? I want to show you how to expose these areas in your life, so the Lord can free you from them!
I think Israel’s experience in Egypt is a biblical example of a truly “grinding” situation. Pharaoh placed the people of Israel into a treadmill task, as they were forced to operate as human millstones in order to make mud-bricks. They served in a system from which they derived no salary and even less fulfillment. Israel was basically given survival rations and lived a treadmill existence.
There are powerful lessons that can be seen in this passage of Scripture found in Exodus. As we identify the patterns and principles revealed, we will gain insights that will help us learn to live again, despite whatever our treadmill territory has ground out of our lives.
Identifying the treadmill territory in your life
In most cases, this “territory” has to do with a certain part of our life. It may be physical; a sickness you can’t shake. It may be tiredness, or difficulty maintaining a healthy lifestyle. It may be emotional, and involve depression, anxiety, or fears. It may be a relationship that is strained, and you don’t know what to do to make it better. It may be vocational or financial or moral. Treadmill problems come in all shapes and sizes, and these experiences can be very distressing.
There are also people that love the Lord, but feel like they are on a spiritual treadmill and unable to experience a fullness in their spiritual life. All of these experiences can lead someone to ask, “What’s wrong with me?”
Our minds become mired down and we find ourselves “treadmilling.” There are goals we don’t reach, efforts that prove fruitless and objectives that elude us.
Behind every treadmill is a manufacturer
When we confront our treadmill territory, we often tend to define these areas passively and just say, “Well, it’s my circumstances.” While I’m not trying to suggest that circumstances aren’t real, the fact is that circumstances are not all that is involved in the treadmill areas of our lives. Indeed, we have points of personal accountability on our life journey. Still, Loved One, my hope is to help you discern the manufacturer behind the treadmill territory in your life.
Israel didn’t make the treadmill they were on in Egypt. It wasn’t circumstantial, and it wasn’t directly their fault. There was, in fact, a power that was designed against their fulfillment, against their freedom, and against their purpose. Please hear this, dear friend, treadmills are produced by a manufacturer.
Jesus unmasks the manufacturer of the treadmills you and I encounter. He does not invite us to avoid our own accountability, nor does the Lord unrealistically say there’s no such thing as difficult life circumstances. They are very real and He is greater than them all.
Breaking the slave mentality
As believers, there is a pathway of deliverance for every treadmill territory we are facing, but we must learn to break the slave mentality. Our freedom is on the other side of that defeated or trapped mentality!
One of the main things that underscores the slave mentality is wrapped up in the word, bitterness. The enemy will use circumstances to make you bitter. Everyone has had a situation that they would describe as having gone sour. They can’t get the taste of it out of their mouths, or out of their life. The slave mentality develops bitterness, along with a sense of futility and hopelessness.
The Bible says in the 2nd and 3rd chapter of Exodus that the Lord saw the Israelites and heard their cry. They didn’t know He was doing either of those things, as they were experiencing bitterness and hopelessness. But the Lord saw and heard, and so began the process of deliverance.
There’s a promise for us wrapped up in that, regardless of what treadmill territory we are currently facing. Every one of us needs to know, in the same way the Sovereign God had a program already in motion, calculated and designed for Israel’s deliverance, the Living God is not only alert to your situation, He already has a program in progress for your deliverance! He is already at work. He sees you, hears you and knows what you are facing.
Facing the slave master
As we await the deliverance program God has in motion for us, we must face the slave master. Remember, treadmill territory is not solely circumstantial, there is also the manufacturer—the slave master.
Pharaoh is a case study in a slave master’s style. He did exactly the same thing our adversary, the devil, does. When we deal with Satan, dear ones, I want you to know we are not dealing with anyone less real, or less personally interested in our slavery than Pharaoh was in the slavery of the Israelites.
We are not dealing with some kind of a phantom, negative force.
We are dealing with a calculated master deceiver who will do everything possible to destroy God’s image in you and purpose for you. He is opposed to everything that is God.
Satan’s oppressive tactics are manifest in Pharaoh’s resistance to let the people go and worship God. Pharaoh’s objection was not simply to giving Israel some time off, or Israel missing their quota of mud-bricks. The issue was Israel being set free from satanic slavery, so they could move into the liberty of worship and relationship with God. Just as Israel was, so are we destined for realizing the dignity of the purpose God has designed for us—and Satan hates that.
The Lord has designed a program of salvation for us that includes our provision, prosperity, and the guarantee of His guidance along the way.
Learning to live again
The turning point is when we realize that 1.) our treadmill territory is a trap set by the adversary, and 2.) we denounce the manufacturer of the treadmill. So, stand against the slave-driver and declare your acceptance of the mighty Deliverer!
The Lord has called us to liberty! Galatians 5:1 says, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.”
Everybody has treadmill territory and Jesus calls us to be set free from it and learn to live again. We must break the slave mentality and receive the Lord’s freedom for us, as we take a stance as one created in God’s image.
Jesus came not only to forgive us, but to deliver and free us from every treadmill territory we may be facing. Loved One, I pray you will stand on the ground of His Word and denounce the devil, that old manufacturer of treadmills, and announce that Jesus, your mighty deliverer, will bring you into victory, will be your God, will give you an inheritance, will deliver you from burdens, and will set you free from the grinding circumstances in your life.
We were not destined for “mud-bricking it.” We’ve been called to the purpose of God being realized in us!
Praying God’s richest blessings on you and your family in this upcoming new year,
P.S. I pray that you have a Merry Christmas and that you pause during this special time of year to break free from your treadmill territory. Take a moment to look at the Set Free to Live Again CD series detailed below. With it, I believe you’ll gain fresh insight and receive the encouragement you need to let go of the past and confidently step into your tomorrows!
We are not part of a dying generation beset with unsolvable problems, but members of an inheriting generation full of promise and power! That is why the Lord tells us to "Be strong and of good courage, do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." In this special CD collection, Pastor Jack reveals how to welcome tomorrow, break free of fear, and see your dreams and destiny from an eternal perspective. As you listen to each message, you’ll better understand why it is essential for believers to leave the past behind and move into the promises and tomorrows the Lord has for each of us.
The 5-CD set includes: Gaining a Viewpoint on Tomorrow - Laying Hold of Tomorrow Submitting to Tomorrow - Stepping into Tomorrow - Today Hear His VoiceClick here to download this series for a gift of $35 or more Click here to receive this 5-CD set for a gift of $35 or more