"God didn't send me out to collect a following for myself, but to preach the Message of what He has done, collecting a following for Him" (1 Corinthians 1:17)

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Hand to the Plow

Featured Friday Guest Blogger: Heather Spiva

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

MY PRAYER: Lord, sometimes it is so difficult to keep my eyes on the path toward you. Though I’m in the world and not of it, there are moments when the things around me entice me and I can’t help but wonder what I’m missing. Then I realize that when I think that way, my eyes are off of you. My hands are momentarily off the plow and I find myself turning around, turning away to see what else is happening. This isn’t good. This is when I know I need you more; this is when I’ve turned my relationship with you into mere religion, and out of duty’s sake, forgotten what you and I have. We have a love that can never fail! I want to be fit for your kingdom, regardless of what goes on around me.

REMINDER FROM GOD: The good person brings good things out of the good stored up in their heart. For out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks. If you love me, you’ll do what I command you.

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. Keep your hand on the plow, and don’t look back!

{Luke 6:45; John 14:15, 16:33; Luke 9:62}

NOTE TO SELF: I have a lot of friends who don’t see Jesus as I do. What’s even more remarkable is that I used to see Jesus the same way they see him today. I used to be lost. And now – now that I am found – we have differing points of view; we no longer see eye to eye on a lot of the interests, likes and goals we once agreed on.

This is sort of how it is once we not only agree to follow Jesus, but to lay down our wants and follow him.

Being a follower of Christ means that I give up my will, my desires –even my selfish, sinful and prideful wants and ideals—for the desires and direction in which He wants me to travel. This means that we do what He calls us to do all the while fighting our sin nature; forging against our old ways of doing things.

He didn’t say this would be easy. It sure wasn’t easy for the disciples to give up their lives, lay down their nets and follow Him. They gave up everything for him, and according to Jesus’ words, they will be rewarded for it (Matthew 20: 29).

It also wasn’t easy for Lot’s wife. Though her town was destroyed, and the angel from the Lord told her to “not look back,” she couldn’t help but glance. All it took was just one more peek and she became a pillar of salt. She knew she needed to leave her “old” ways; she wanted out of the wicked community before destruction swept over the city. And yet, the familiarity and comfort, perhaps even the luring enticements that sin hooks us all with, tempted her for a moment to look back—reminding her of what she was giving up.

But there’s a reason to obey, a reason to look forward and keep our hand to the plow. God wants us successful! He wants us to reap a harvest with this plow. Lot’s wife didn’t just give up her old life, her friends and petty things, she gave up her life when she looked back.

While Jesus isn’t saying he’ll turn us into salt if we look back, he is saying that if we still yearn for the “old flesh” within our “new” bodies -- alive with Christ as saved beings -- then we were never true to our word or honest with ourselves and to God. We aren’t fit for service to God if we don’t give 100% of ourselves to Him, His work, His service, His love and His care.

When we do, the reward is blessings in all ways, deliverance from strongholds, love and acceptance, forgiveness … and even the lack of desire for our old nature. When we give up our old self, we are trusting that God is taking us to a better place; a place he intends us to live in, with our Hand in his, reaping the rewards of blessings here on earth as well as blessings in Heaven. When we remember that our relationship with God is number one, over anything else, then we can only go one direction. We can only go forward, plowing with God in front of us, and honor Him as our King.
051Heather Spiva is a freelance writer from Sacramento, CA. When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys spending time with her two young boys. She just published her first book, a middle-grade story called, The Puzzle Master. Please visit her website: http://www.heatherspiva.com/

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