Breakthrough: About that Collar Around Your Neck…

What is holding you back from progressing forward? From achieving your breakthrough and walking into God’s promise for Your life?

After the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., an elementary school teacher was faced with the daunting task of explaining his death to her students. It was not only his death that required explanation, but also the motivation behind this seemingly random act of violence: prejudice. How would you address such a topic to a classroom of third graders, full of questions and lacking in experience?

The next morning the teacher came to class and made an announcement. Brown eyed children are better than blue eyed children. The brown eyed children received preferential treatment {longer recess time, preferred seating in the front of the classroom, encouragement from the teacher}. Instead of special treatment, the blue eyed children were given a collar to wear around their necks {so they could be identified easily}.

The next day the teacher made another announcement, I have made a mistake, blue eyed children are actually better than brown eyed children. The blue eyed children happily delivered their collars to the brown eyed children, with a feeling of relief I’m sure.

The following is a recount by the authors of the book Made to Stick of the switch.

Even their performance on academic tasks changed. One of the reading exercises was a phonics card pack that the kids were supposed to go through as quickly as possible. The first day, when the blue eyed kids were on the bottom, it took them 5.5 minutes. On the second day, when they were on top, it took 2.5 minutes. “Why couldn’t you go this fast yesterday?” Elliott [the teacher] asked. One blue eyed girl said, “We had those collars on…” Another student chimed in, “We couldn’t stop thinking about those collars.”

I will ask again. What is stopping you from progressing forward?

How you see yourself is just as important as who you are and your purpose. If you have allowed circumstances (financial, educational, professional, marital, physical, etc.), thoughts, and/or feelings to define you, then you are just like the third grader with a collar around his/her neck. The third graders’ abilities never changed; the collar on their necks caused their perception of themselves to change.

And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. (1 Kings 19:1-3 NKJV)

Elijah had just experienced the fire of the Lord, which came down upon the alter he had repaired and consumed the offering he had presented. Prior to this, the prophets of Baal called upon their god, danced upon the altar, cut themselves, and prophesied without response. Afterwards, he ordered 450 prophets of Baal executed. (Read 1 Kings 18:20-46)

What in the world would cause Elijah, after such a display of the power and superiority of God, to run away from Jezebel?

The answer is simple: the collar around his neck. For him, that collar was fear; for you, it may be something different, but just as debilitating.

Remember who you are in God and that it is not defined by anything external. It is defined by God and your perception of yourself should match his perception of you.

Read more about breakthrough here.

Made to Stick is by Chip Heath & Dan Heath


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