Bob Mayo, Stonepoint Member
I have been thinking a bit about some things that have been coming out from our recent messages and in re:generation. Before I go into what I want to talk about, allow me to cite a few passages. The italics are my additions to highlight what I am thinking about the verse.
Luke 9:62—But Jesus said to him, “no one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Philippians 3:12-14—Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it, yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 12:1-3 (I’ve used this before)—Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every encumbrance and sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right had of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you well grow weary and lose heart.
So what does all this have to do with traveling the narrow road? Well, I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Re:generation has been, and is a great experience for me. I shared last Monday about hearing something on a radio station that really bothered me. The DJ’s were talking about being broken people. Now I have no issue that we are broken and damaged people. We are both broken and damaged and need of a healing touch from our LORD. But, if we are truly “new in Christ,” should we be living in and letting our past rule us?
Maybe it’s only me, but when I find myself constantly living in my past, feeling sorry and guilty for past sins and mistakes, I find that I (my flesh) become the focal point of attention. Please don’t get me wrong, I have the greatest empathy for those of us who are going through difficulties and struggles, especially since being in re:gen. But I wonder if maybe it’s time to have a change our thinking and instead of dwelling on being broken under the weight of our sin and failures, maybe we should change our thinking and move forward with our journey rather than keep living in the past. This change can only come about by making a choice to follow the LORD and not give into the schemes of Satan. When we, by an act of our will, surrender ourselves to follow the LORD and go forward in our walk with Him, We allow God by His Spirit to work change in us. Thus, my title for this blog post: Traveling the Narrow Road.
I have been having some strange encounters lately and some strange thoughts. The other night, I was at someone’s house for dinner and a person came in that I had struggled with in the past, but had forgiven him for everything I believed he had ever done wrong to me (real or imagined). But when he came in the door, it all came flooding back. I had to pray throughout the evening and remind myself that everything is forgiven whether I feel good about or not. At the end of the evening, I had to ask him to move from in front of the closet so I could get my coat. When I got my coat, I put my arm around him and said, “I love you, brother.” Instant peace came back to my soul. I realized I had forgiven him for any real or perceived treatment of me and that my feelings really didn’t count. I had confessed my wrongdoing in the situation and forgiven this person for any part I thought he had. Not there we won’t more struggles, but by God’s grace, I won’t dwell on my past failures to forgive people, but I will move forward from here on out.
Another strange thing has been occurring. I have been having thoughts of past sins that I have committed in my live. I mean way past, when I was a little kid. I was wondering why these thoughts were coming up. Most of these were sins or at least wrongs that I hadn’t thought in years and most of them I had already dealt with in confession. I was now faced with a choice. I could start questioning if my confessions were real and go into discouragement or depression, or say “no, these have been taken care of by Christ’s death on the Cross.”
Allow me to wrap up with a few thoughts about what the above three passages have been speaking to me about lately:
- In regards to following Christ, looking back isn’t a good thing (see Luke 9:57-62). There are times to look back, such as how Jesus has guarded and protected us, pulled us up from the mire and forgiven our sins, etc. This pleases and gives glory to God. But when we look back on ourselves, we either see our sin and failures, or we look back to the comforts and our perceptions of things we miss from our past lives in the world. In either case, we lose and Satan wins and we take ourselves out of the race.
- Looking back over our sinful past also hinders us from pressing on in our growth with the Lord. I’ve heard many times that you can’t change or do anything about the past. If that’s true, why do we spend time looking back at past sins and failures? If we have confessed them, they are forgiven whether we believe it or not. It is not based on how we feel about it, but rather the truth of the Word and the trustworthiness of Christ Himself. Satan likes nothing better than to keep on dwelling about our failures. Again, he wins.
- My third point is this, In Hebrews 12 it talks about running the race with endurance and fixing our eyes on Jesus. Please don’t think of this as allegorical. We are in a real race. Not so that we can win a medal but so we win the prize of the upward call of God in our lives. You probably know that we need to look at this race as a marathon, not a 100 meter dash. That means we won’t always feel like we are gaining. There will be setbacks and even falls. But, brothers and sisters, we need to get up and keep running. Some of you have probably seen videos on the internet of races where a person falls and after getting up, finds themselves in last place. Then by the time the race is over, they have won! I watched one of those on Facebook just the other night. That is the kind of thing I am thinking about here. The runner who fell had a choice. He or she (in the video I saw it was a woman runner) could have just rolled over in disgust and complained about their rotten life or their bad luck. Or they could get up and go forward from that point. This runner chose the latter and won the race!! As we learn to make right choices we will do the same in our walk with the LORD. If we take these “falls,” and make the choice to bring them to the LORD and go forward, He will work in and through us to stay on the right path.
Pastor Brandon keeps reminding us in our current series of Joshua 24:15—“If it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers serve d which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.” For me to serve the LORD, it means to make a choice to start living in the present and not the past like I have a great tendency to do. For you, it may be something else. But know this. It’s time to start a new journey! It’s time pick ourselves up, not let our past or whatever our problem is define us any longer, and travel on with the LORD, down that narrow road. It all starts with a choice to surrender to God’s will and follow Him. May God open our eyes and enlighten our hearts to do this for His Kingdom! Blessings!