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Don’t Look Back

Don’t look back! That’s the command God gives Lot and his family. Yet not looking back is really difficult. Lot’s wife can’t resist the temptation and becomes a pillar of salt. The problem with obeying God’s rescue plan is we often want to look out (or look back) for a safety net or a plan B. Jesus issued equally stark warnings when he said “no one who puts his hand to the plough and keeps looking back is worthy to be my disciple. If a farmer was trying to plough a field and not looking where they are going the furrows would not be in a straight line and the harvest would suffer. Looking back at Sodom was not a good thing for Lot and his family to do, because for them God was moving them on from there, they had been rescued and they don’t belong there any more, it was a door God had shut. Are our minds living where our body is dwelling or are we somewhere else in our head and heart? A bit like trying to drive a car forward and whilst in reverse, it can’t be done! It is very difficult to move forward in the right direction when our eyes are set behind us. I remember seeing some friends on a bus who I was trying to attract their attention as I walked into lamp post because I wasn’t looking where I was going! Are we looking where we are going properly in our walk with Jesus? How can we follow Jesus if we are not attentive to wear he is leading us? If our eyes aren’t on him can we see where he leading us, might we miss the turning or even our destination? Yet the past behind us can he ‘sticky’ we get imprisoned by it, whether its captured in the nostalgic and ‘rose tinted’ view of an I blissful era in your life that can never be bettered. Yet God does not call us to freeze framed moments but rather an ongoing relationship in step with him through every season of life. Churches get stuck in glorious past hay days that paralyses them from believing that with God their best days are ahead of them. Nostalgia can rob us of the gift God has for us in the present. Following Jesus means going with him where he is going rather than worshipping where he has been. Loving what the spirit has done rather than what he is doing. A spirituality with a museum mentality, religion of relics, yesterday’s mouldy manna, rather than the flesh fruit of today. Yet pain can trap us too, and cause us to live looking backwards at our regrets and disappointments. These things behind us captivate our eyes -like the burning Sodam and Gomorrah- pain pulls us from the present to look back at the past. To be like Lot and not look back takes a lot of faith and self discipline. To fight that battle of mind and will is a challenging struggle. Many of us need to ask God to free us from our pasts and help us move forward into the present. Later the author of the letter to the Hebrews urges us as Christians to “run the race ahead of us” and to “fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of our faith”. So, let’s keep moving forward, in step with the spirit, following Jesus and not turning back or having our head turned over our shoulder.

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