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
How many of us give our lives to Christ and yet continue to look backwards?
When I first gave my life to Christ, my heart was entangled with so many things.
I was afraid to surrender. I was afraid to let go.
But Jesus met me in that moment.
It was just a few years after I accepted Christ that I learned what it meant to truly follow Him
I learned what it meant to commit, to surrender and to give all I had and all I longed for to the Lord.
And yet this is an everyday process. It isn’t easy.
I must make the decision to truly follow Christ every single day.
Every day I am tempted to look back and to get caught up in my old ways and my old desires.
Do you ever feel this way?
Maybe you had to leave behind the acceptance of a family member or friend. Maybe you had to walk away from a lifestyle or addiction. Or maybe it was surrendering that broken part of your past that you cling to.
I’ve been there, and many times, I still am.
So how do we know when it’s time to stop looking backwards?
I’m going to give you three areas that you can prayerfully examine in your own life.
As I walk forward in my faith, I have to constantly stop and examine these parts of my heart.
And each time, Christ teaches me something new and brings me to a new level of healing and a deeper faith.
1.Where is your heart set?
What things bring you joy? This is an important question to consider as we look at our faith lives.
I have often found my joy and fulfillment in my family, friends, and even my own life.
But Jesus goes so far as to say that we are to surrender those we love most to Him.
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters - yes, even his own life - he cannot be my disciple.” -Luke 14:26
When we set our hearts on the people in our lives, the money we’ve stored up or the possessions we have, we fail to offer our whole hearts to the Lord.
As we follow Christ, we must surrender the very things we hold close. This simply means that we must release our hold on these things. Everything we have is a blessing, a gift from God.
[bctt tweet="As we follow Christ, we must surrender the very things we hold close." username="NicoleAKauffman"]
I spend just a few minutes each morning in prayer, surrendering my heart to the Lord.
When we surrender the things we hold close to God, it opens us up to the freedom we need to serve His kingdom and to truly follow Christ wherever He calls.
2.What do you long for in suffering?
When we struggle, our hearts are put to the test. When I have a rocky patch in my marriage, when I struggle with a painful part of my past, when my physical body suffers or when finances seem tight, I find myself asking God to take away the pain.
In one of my darkest times, I have gone so far as to convince myself that God must not love me if He is allowing this much pain.
But it was in that time that I learned that my longing should be for Christ’s glory and not my own ease.
When you face trials and pain, I want to encourage you to begin asking for God’s glory to be shown.
This takes great humility and a willingness to suffer for Christ.
[bctt tweet="This takes great humility and a willingness to suffer for Christ." username="NicoleAKauffman"]
Paul teaches us so much about this heart and mindset.
For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. -Philippians 1:21
As we walk through our trials, we can look to Christ’s example. As he was tempted and mistreated, he never once took His eyes off the Lord.
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all -2 Corinthians 4:17
When you suffer, keep your eyes on the Lord. No matter what you are going through, when you seek God’s glory above all, you are following Christ and bringing glory to the kingdom of God.
3.Where do you find your strength?
This is a question I must face everyday.
It is important to take an honest look at this question because when we begin to see the things that we find our strength in apart from God, we can begin to shift our mindset.
I can easily begin to find my strength in my family, in my husband, in my friends, in my job, in my savings account, in my house, etc. etc.
The things that we find our strength in apart from God become idols in our lives.
[bctt tweet="The things that we find our strength in apart from God become idols in our lives." username="NicoleAKauffman"]
And as we look to these idols, our hearts fall away from truly following Christ.
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” -Matthew 6:19-20
What treasures are you storing up? When you find yourself storing up treasures on earth, write them down and pray about them. Offer them up to God.
I am so grateful that we have a patient and merciful Lord. He sees our struggles and He is with us when we fall short.
Do not become discouraged, but rather be encouraged that as you face the parts of your life that need surrendering, the Lord will bring you healing and strength.
I examine my own heart often because in a world so full of temptation and brokenness, my heart can so easily get pulled backwards.
Let’s stand together against the temptation to look back and encourage one another to truly follow Christ.