Where were you when God first called you? Can you remember the moment you gave your life to Him? My husband is one of those people who has an elaborate testimony of a specific moment that he knew his life had changed and he would follow God forever. He was like Elisha in this verse in a way. When God called Him, he had to completely separate himself from the life that he had been living and leave it behind.
So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”
“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”
So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.
1 Kings 19:19-21
This is not my story. I can't exactly say when I was saved or when I made that decision exactly. I can think of time periods when God pursued me and used people to plant the seeds. But for me it took a lot longer before those seeds bore fruit. It was a gradual process I guess. I knew there was a God, but I didn't know Him. I liked the way I felt when I was in His presence, but I didn't think the life of a Christian was for me. Or, For someone like me.
I grew up in what was once known as Maple falls, Washington. That was before it outgrew itself and rezoning took place and thus renamed it Kendall. We lived in a development which was called paradise, and was actually once a really nice place when all the Canadians lived there. But then the dollar value changed and they sold all their property and it became the ghetto of Whatcom County. An area ran by meth and crime.
It wasn't a place where there was a church on every corner. In fact, I can only think of two, the Kendall Chapel and the Holy Smoke. And the Holy Smoke was actually a bar which I was more familiar with than the other. I remember going to the Kendall Chapel a few times when I was little and learning songs like "Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so" But I didn't actual read the Bible to know that.
I must've been in 3rd or 4th grade when one of my neighbors in the cul-de-sac down the street started having mini vacation Bible school at their house. It was a week long and was taught by teenage girls who had come from out of town to stay at the retreat that was somewhere towards Mount Baker. All of the girls from our neighborhood went and I loved it. I couldn't wait to learn my new Bible verse and wanted to beat all the other kids by memorizing more than them. That summer was one of the few that I didn't go for the whole summer to my grandparents' house in Idaho. We built giant jumps with my dad's lumber supplies and would see who could be brave enough to jump our bikes the highest. We built forts, climbed trees, played hide and seek at night, and baseball on the weekends. We were kids in the 90's before the internet and cell phones. Though my childhood had a lot of stormy memories, this was a period when there was more good than bad. God knew it was the perfect time to start planting seeds.
Over the years, He continued to do so. But even with all the seeds planted, It was years before I would actually call myself a Christian. Even then I still lived life with one foot out and one foot in. I was nothing like Elisha. I was more worried about what I would have to give up than what I would gain as a Christian.
I remember hearing this quote by Bob Marley, but I didn't know then that he was quoting the verse from Matthew 16:26 when he said, "Don't gain the world and lose your soul, wisdom is better than silver and gold."
I spent too long living like that. Focusing on the things that the world said would make me happy and bring me joy. I knew nothing about the Joy of the Lord.
When my husband and I met, I called myself a Christian. But I was still doing most of the same things I was doing before I gave myself that title. There was little difference. Finally he said to me, "If I wanted to date a girl from the world, I'd go back to my old life." We are called to be set apart as followers of Christ (Rom 8:30) and he wanted to be married to someone who was seeking the Lord and living it as well.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves James 1:22
Are there things in your life that prevent you from fully submitting to God's word or calling on your life? What things has God told you are not for you that you continue to partake in or holding onto.
Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2
It's time to let it go. #LetgoandletGod
God can keep planting seeds in your life, but you have to water them and pluck out the weeds. If you've ever done any gardening, you know that the best time to pull weeds is after the storm and rain. It's the same in life. If last year seemed like a never ending storm, take a look back at what weeds were in your life that caused more damage and harm than good. Now is the time to pluck them out.
At the end of Luke 9 there is a conversation between Jesus and a man who claimed he desired to follow Jesus. But in the conversation he mentions his other priorities (which seemed pretty legit), but Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God" Luke 9:62.
Sometimes burning bridges is necessary. Maybe it's a man you keep running back to who is clearly no good for you. Maybe it's an addiction. Maybe it's some other bad habit that is hindering you. You know what it is and rather than making all kinds of new year's resolutions that you'll never stick to, focus on eliminating something that keeps you from God.