Don’t Look Back

The word CHRIST written in vintage letterpress lead type

The Pharisees were considered the upper echelon of Jewish society in biblical times. They were well respected, but they also saw Jesus Christ as an extreme threat to their way of living. He is the truth and they were not ready to embrace it. Trying to trick him so they could accuse him of breaking Jewish law, the Pharisees often asked Jesus questions they presumed would baffle his intellect and give them the ammunition they sought. They asked in Luke 17:32(NLT), “When will the Kingdom of God come?” Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs.” He told them the world would be like it was in the days that Lot lived. Lot was Abraham’s nephew, and he lived almost 2000 years before Jesus was born. God rescued Lot from the terrible end that happened in Sodom and Gomorrah. Jesus explained that the people who lived in that area were sinning like crazy, living it up with parties and such, then BAMMM! The unexpected happened and they were caught in a most unfortunate state of being unprepared.

The Pharisees were oblivious. They couldn’t wrap their heads or hearts around the dynamic reality of Jesus Christ and what he came to do. They thought that God was going to set them high on a pedestal so the world would look at them with adoration and respect, but God had something infinitely greater in mind. Heavenly Father was interested in bringing as many people as possible into His family. An incredible price had to be paid in order for this to happen, and our Blessed Savior, Jesus Christ, paid it.

In Luke 17:30, Jesus Christ explained to the disciples that it was going to be business as usual right up to the day he comes back. We won’t have signs that will allow people to pinpoint with exact specificity when he’s coming back. Our Master’s warning to us is that we must get ready and always stay prepared for his coming. This means we can’t be half committed believers, with one foot in and one foot out. Jesus reminded us of this in Luke 17:32, when he talked about Lot’s wife. God’s word doesn’t mention her name, but her fate is notorious.

The people of Sodom and Gomorrah were so sinful that there were not even 10 righteous people within those cities. Judgement was upon them and they were destroyed by fire and burning sulfur that rained from the sky. God sent angels to aid the rescue of Lot and his family, and the angels gave them specific instructions. Genesis 19:17(NLT) tells us that when Lot and his family were safely out of the city, one of the angels ordered, “Run for your lives! And don’t look back or stop anywhere in the valley! Escape to the mountains, or you will be swept away!” Lot’s wife did not obey. She looked back, and when she did, she turned into a pillar of salt.

In Luke 17:32(NLT), the poignant piece of warning and wisdom that Jesus gives is “Remember what happened to Lot’s wife.” He then goes on to tell us in verse 33, that “If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it.” He is not advocating self-harm. He doesn’t want us to physically die. He wants the way we used to live and operate in life to be obliterated; it has to go. That life where we do whatever we feel like doing, whenever we feel like doing it…the life where we tell ourselves, “I’m grown! I do what I want…” that’s not going to cut it when it comes to Kingdom life.

Life in the Spirit is the highest way of life. It is a life where we live through the Lord Jesus Christ. We are committed to live by his example, to share as he shared, give as he gave, and love as he loved. We can’t do this on our own. That would be impossible. In order to live a successful Christian life, we must do as Galatians 5:25 commands; we must live by the Spirit. This means that we involve the Lord in every decision we make. Jesus has told us that we must give God our whole lives, not just a little piece. To do this, something has to change on the inside of us. Our hearts have to change, because the heart is what God is after. He knows that if our hearts are committed to Him, the rest of us will follow.

When Lot’s wife turned around, her action signaled exactly what she was clinging to. If you were to let yourself travel back to that moment, you can probably imagine that turning around to look back was an instinctual decision on her part. She did it because her heart belonged to Sodom and Gomorrah, and Jesus said in Matthew 6:21 that wherever your treasure is, that’s where the desires of your heart are as well. If we value a relationship with a person over our relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, we’re in trouble. This is a sure indication that we don’t love God with all our hearts, minds, souls, and strength as Jesus Christ commanded in Matthew 22:37 and Luke 10:27.

Heavenly Father has somewhere for us to be, and the bottom line is that you and I don’t have the ability to go where only God can take us. We have a destiny to fulfill. We’re running a race and the path forward is in front of us, not behind us. We can’t reach our destination and grab all the blessings God has for us by looking back at the past. It’s gone, never to return. We can’t relive it no matter how much we think about it. As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we have to let the past go. There are new levels of spiritual strength and blessings waiting for us, and we must continue reaching forward to acquire them, so we’re spiritually prepared for whatever God has in store. ■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

“Don’t Look Back”, written by JMack,© 2019. All rights reserved. All praise and honor to God through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

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