Now that my last two ITG articles have scolded everyone, I’ll talk about something that will hopefully help focus on spiritual growth and helping people get their armor on so they aren’t running around spiritually naked.
Although there are many reasons that the Church isn’t growing spiritually, there is one thing in particular that I see a tremendous number of people falling prey to. I’ll call it the ‘Looking Back Syndrome.’ One of the most important verses in God’s word that relates to this problem is Luke 9:62. Jesus replied ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’ What does that mean to most of us? It means a lot to anyone that has driven a tractor or cut a large expanse of grass that required them to cut or walk a straight path but it means little or nothing to the rest of us. It is the number one reason the Church isn’t growing spiritually. It’s why we’re ‘NOT FIT FOR SERVICE IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD.’
Farmers quickly teach their children to pick a tree, rock or some other landmark on the far side of the field that’s at the other end of the straight line they’re going to plow or mow. Once you have picked and acquired your ‘target’, you simply keep your eyes focussed on it, move ahead, and your brain and eye-hand coordination do the rest. When you finally reach the ‘target’ you can then turn around and see that you travelled a perfectly straight line from where you started. But if you don’t keep looking at the ‘target’, and instead look over your shoulder to see how you’re doing, you’ll end up with something less than you desired. So what Christ is saying in Luke 9:62 is don’t let your eyes wander from Him. He is the ‘target’ that we should be focussing on constantly as we make our way along the path of spiritual growth. The way many of us continue to look back over our shoulders and to the left and right, it’s little wonder that we’re making a zigzag path all over the place and crossing our own tracks now and then. Instead, we should be making a perfectly straight line to our spiritual goal.
This next statement may make some people angry but, based on personal first hand experiential knowledge, I’m going to share it with you. For some, looking back may be listening to the music from their younger years and staying immersed in the past. Well, whether you want to consider it or not, listening to the music from those years brings back all the associated memories including the ones you shouldn’t be thinking about.
Although the lyrics of the music itself may not quench the Spirit (you have to go back a lot of years for that to be true), sooner or later the memories will. Ask yourself if you’re conformed to the world. Our pasts shouldn’t be of any concern to us any more. When you’re wrapped up in your past, you have no future. We are all NEW CREATURES in Christ. Bringing back old memories, either good or bad, is one of Satan’s best weapons against believers. I’ve now grown to the point where I KNOW I shouldn’t be listening to the music from my past any more. Thinking about old relationships, good or bad, will always pull me off course so I’ve quit.
Think about where your focus is. If it’s not on your past, is it on another person, personal possessions, your career, your children? If it is, then you can’t possibly expect to walk a straight line to your goal. Jeremiah 2:13 sums this up very well. ‘My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and they have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.’ As I look at my own circle of family and friends, I see those that continue to focus on memories of the past and it’s music, their possessions or their careers. And, just as God’s word says, their Christian lives are like cisterns of dead, stagnant water. But the ones who have taken a deep breath and consecrated those things, and are keeping their eyes fastened on the prize, are like large waterfalls. They are like the living waters.
Become a waterfall of living waters by focussing on our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Whether you want to believe it or not, the worldly junk in your life is just a broken cistern that will leave you thirsty.