Have you ever told yourself, “I’m done with that sin and I’m never going back to it!”? I have – about a bazillion times! I get so disgusted with myself and my sin. I decide I can’t live with it anymore and that I’m done but that usually lasts only a couple of days before I begin to miss my comfortable sin and wish I had it back.
Why do we go back? Because the past always seems to be better, because we don’t like the present, because we’re afraid of the future, because we can’t let go, because our sin feels so much more comfortable than the unknown, because, because . . .
And then devil has us right where he wants us – STUCK! We can’t move forward when we’re turning back. We settle for ineffectiveness, unproductiveness and fruitlessness.
The story is told a man named Herman Cortes who burned his ships to keep his men from turning away from the mission that he had for them.
In 1 Kings 19, Elijah (a prophet in Israel) chooses Elisha to replace him by throwing his cloak over Elisha as he is plowing his field. Elisha chases after him and asks him if he can tell his parents goodbye. “Elijah replied, ‘Go on back, but think about what I have done to you.’” (1 Kings 19:20b NLV)
The next picture we see is found in verse 21 of 1 Kings 19, “So Elisha returned to his oxen and slaughtered them. He used the wood from the plow to build a fire to roast their flesh. He passed around the meat to the townspeople, and they all ate. Then he went with Elijah as his assistant.”
Do you see what Elijah did? He used the wood from the plow to make a fire and then cooked up the oxen and shared it with the town. Why did he do that?
Elisha, like Herman Cortes, burned his ship.
For Elisha, there was no going back. He chose the mission that Elijah called him to which ultimately was GOD’S MISSION for him. He was clearly showing Elijah that he had surrendered everything; his home, his family, his livelihood and he wasn’t looking back!
Let me ask you, has God put a call on your life and you continue to turn back to your old ways? Has He said to you, “Come follow me,” but you’ve been resisting, thinking that what lies in your past is so much better than what He might have for you? What’s holding you back from wholeheartedly following the Lover of Your Soul?
Following God won’t be easy. It wasn’t for Elisha. But think about it, Elisha traded in a lifetime of plowing oxen for service to his KING and through God’s power, he raised a child from the dead, caused an axe head to float, healed a man of leprosy and on and on the list goes. I doubt that Elisha ever looked back and wished that he had kept plowing that field.
What do you need to “burn” today? What is keeping you from fully surrendering and following God? Whatever it is I challenge you, like Elisha and Herman Cortes, to “burn your ship” and not look back!