Thursday, February 17, 2011
Sometimes I pass these cars along the highway with orange stickers stuck to the window warning the owner that the car is to be towed away and impounded. ABANDONED.
Each time I hear the word abandoned, I flinch...I mean this word has such a negative connotation in our society.
ABANDONED -: given up : forsaken is the second definition of abandoned. SYnonyms include - derelict, deserted, desolate, disused,forgotten, forsaken, rejected, vacant, vacated, void.
With a word like this, it is a tough word to find much good in, and nigh impossible to find comfort in.
But think about the call of Christ to crucify ourselves daily, to no longer conform to the pattern of the world (Romans12:2), to no longer desire or even be friends with the world (1 John 2:15; James 4:4)... This is living with abandone.
To abandon the things of the world could also be called repentance. To leave the things that our flesh desires and follow after the SPIRIT of GOD.
Abandoned also has another definition. wholly free from restraint.
This resonates within my heart as the charge from Paul to the Galatians; "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery." (5:1)
I also think about the words of CHRIST in John 10:6-10 "Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. "I'll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn't listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of."
The heart of the enemy (Satan) is to blind us, lead us into sin, and kill us. That is the one purpose of the one who scripture calls the Father of Lies. And people are lining up to get inside.
I remember when I was using drugs. I had a coupe of scriptures that I would lean on to justify my behavior. One of them was Colossians 2:16-17. The idea that I had a freedom to do whatever I wanted was empowering and intoxicating. To think, that I had carte blanche to pursue whatever I wanted without judgment from men was beautiful, and I thought it was freedom.
However, if I were to continue to read Paul's thoughts on the matter, and he does continue; in chapter 3 Paul says we are to "set our minds on things above, and to put to death whatever belongs to our earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of GOD is coming." (vv.5-6). Paul is also the one who warns that even if something is permissible, it may not be beneficial, or he would not be mastered by it (1 Cor 6:12; and 10:23).
So, back to the word ABANDONED. WHat would it look like in my life if I abandoned all but CHRIST? What would the risks be, what would have to change?
For me, I have to set aside my pride, my comforts of overindulgence in food, and my fear that someone may not like me.
What about you? WHat is it that you need to leave on the side of the road and let be towed away?
Romans 12:2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.
1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 4:4 You adulterous people, don't you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.