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Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62 

There are certain stories in the Bible that require us to take a double take. When Abraham’s nephew Lot and his family were rescued by angels, they were told not to look back. When Lot’s wife stole a glance at the destruction going on in Sodom and Gomorrah she became a pillar of salt. God showed no mercy in this situation. We can’t really blame Lots wife from taking a look back. The fire that fell that day destroyed the lives of her family and friends. But God’s command was clear. Move on. No matter how much it hurts, it costs to follow me.

Thousands of years later, the Apostle Paul writes to the church in Philippi, “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14. In the preceding verses what is he talking about? Suffering and sacrificing of all things.

One day Jesus was walking along the road. People came and proclaimed their intention to follow Him, but each one had a pre-requisite. Each had an area of their lives they wanted to hold back from Him. Theirs was not a complete allegiance but a convenient arrangement for their own good.

Grace is NOT free. Grace costs and costs dearly. It is free for us to take hold of, but that is only because the payment has been made on the Cross and is finalized through the empty tomb. Following Jesus isn’t easy. If anyone tells you that if you turn your life over to Jesus all your troubles will disappear….RUN! Following Christ may be the start of struggle.

First, you may be misunderstood by others. When you say you are a Christ-follower people may automatically assume that means you are perfect. Christ followers are NOT perfect. We are however forgiven. We may suffer, but our suffering is never as great as the suffering Jesus did for us on the cross. His suffering was physical (death) and emotional (deserted by family and friends) and spiritual (forsaken by God “My God, My God, Why have you forsaken me?”).

 The second area of struggle may be the struggle of our own self-image. It’s human to base your self-worth on what you do for a living, the decisions you’ve made in the past, the opinions of others. It’s human, but not Christ-like. Our self-worth, our heritage and our future are not based on anything we can do in life. Who we are and what we are to become is based solely on who Jesus is and what we allow Him to accomplish during our short stay on this earth.

What do you need to walk away from today to sell out completely to Jesus? Is it a job? A Relationship? A habit? A church? Nothing on this earth is worth risking your walk with Jesus. Only through Him will you be able to break free.

The good news is that Jesus looks on the heart. He knows our faults. He knows our struggles. He knows our desires. He knows how hard it is to break free. That’s why He patiently, lovingly and graciously empowers us through His Holy Spirit to move towards freedom and complete dependence on Him. Paul finishes his Philippians statement by saying, “Forgetting the past…I press on.”

Press on today in your walk with Jesus. Ask Him to show you what needs to be released. Trust Him to give you the power to let go for Him.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, this verse is a hard one for me. I know there are areas in my life that I’m not ready to give up to You. Please forgive me for that and help me to wisely and in the power of your Spirit, move towards complete dependence on You. Keep me from looking back. Help me to always see you before anyone or anything else. Amen.

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