“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” Mark 8:34
“Thirty years ago, when I was going through a difficult time, I asked someone to pray for me. I had committed myself to the Lord, and then the girl I had dated for four years decided it was not going to work; she found someone else. The man praying, who did not know me, began with a declaration: “God can mend a broken heart.” With that, God got my attention. I have never forgotten the words that followed, a biblical phrase that was an admonition as well as direction and confirmation of God’s blessing in my current pain:’He who places his hand to the plow and looks back is not worthy of me.” I was to let go and move ahead with confidence. Thirty years later I still have my hand on the plow.”
From Unbound, A Practical Guide to Deliverance, by Neal Lozano
Has your past ever come back and reared its ugly head? Has it happened when you least expected it? Have you pondered its meaning and timing in your life? At some point or another, everyone faces their past- through people, places or spaces. A thinly veiled layer of thought would say meditate on it, chew on its meaning. But Christ comes today to tell us- Don’t Look Back!
I know this message will be freeing for so many of you. And this message I had to fight to hear. Instead of becoming introspective and making your own way down a rabbit hole (as Neal Lozano says in his book), try focusing on Jesus and believing. Take His scripture at face value. Wrestle with it if you have to.
Do not stop wrestling until you get your blessing
I started reading Unbound several months ago at the urging of a good friend. It wasn’t yet my time. But the Holy Spirit through that same friend (Thanks Jen) sent it back ’round yesterday and I immediately dove in. Although I have been through healing ministry before and credit those ministries through Christ for my ultimate healing from depression and pain, I was open to see what God had in store for me in this book. But I will warn you, if you take up this book, Be prepared and Stay Alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil.
He will be prowling around like a roaring lion, looking to devour you.
Expecting chaos and taking up my shield and sworn of faith, I kept reading. The concepts of deliverance and healing are simplistically stated and reinforced many of the concepts that I had already learned. Reading further became difficult as I “suddenly” had a bad migraine which came out of nowhere.
Weak! I thought to myself. This is all the enemy’s got for me today? I kept reading…
But certainly my enemy was not done with me yet. I left the office to get some air and grab a coffee and apparently confront my past.
Now this was unexpected, the enemy had thrown a wrench in the game as he often does. But God allowed it, as he did with Job. What will she do?
Test my servant Melissa…
So I pondered the meaning of the encounter, sat with it. I remembered the book’s leading not to get all “introspective.” I questioned God’s timing of it without going to far. I asked Him a lot of questions, then silenced myself. Then I spoke to my husband and that same good friend about it.
Hours later, as the thought weaved in and out of my mind, I called my sister. She is not a Christian. But she just may be the best Christian I have ever known…
“I am not a Catholic or a Christian,” she said, ” so I am just going to say what I know and how I feel. Listen to me for a second. Why are you dwelling on this? I do not know or believe what you believe but I am telling you, God is saying move on! And next time, stand up for yourself. You think Jesus would be ok with that?”
Through tears and great laughter I said, “Yes He most definitely would.”
I love my sister for being so authentically her. For being table flipping Jesus for me. She doesn’t know a thing about the bible or church, but she doesn’t have to. God created her and inhabits her and chose to speak through her, and loves her all the same.
And I heard Him loud and clear
Following Christ is about not looking back. It’s about forward movement. It’s about leaving behind those things, people and places that He has chosen to remove for a reason. It doesn’t make you love those people or pray for them any less, it just allows you the freedom to realize that you have no control over them or their unforgiveness. As my godmother always tells me, you are only responsible for cleaning up your side of the street.
As we move closer to Lent, and you ponder what you will do, this may be another area to consider- reconciling with your past so you can move on. God does not want you stuck, He wants you moving. He wants you to embrace all that He has planned for your life. Let your yes be yes and your no be no.
If you have said yes to Christ, it’s time to move on.
I have hurt from my past that is weighing me down and I want to confront it. I do not want to be stuck anymore. I want you to help me to heal and realize that I am not responsible for the actions of others, only for my own. I have forgiven Father but I am still hurt. Help me to heal so I can move on and into the things you have planned for me so long ago. And bless those people Father who cannot forgive and who do not know you. I pray for their salvation and for your blessing upon their life so they know what it’s like to forgive and love unconditionally.
In Jesus Name,
**I highly recommend getting the book Unbound for Lent if you are struggling in any of the areas that I mentioned above. And find your “Hayley,” the person that will tell you the truth that you don’t want to hear.**