2012-01-04 - Looking Back
Originally Published - New Year's Eve 1998
Gen 19:24-26 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven, 25 and He overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. 26 But his wife, from behind him, looked back; and she became a pillar of salt. (NAS)
This is a time of year when people do a lot of looking back at the year that is about to pass into history. There are successes and failures, growth and struggles that are measured against metrics both concrete and subjective. Ten more pushups per workout, or a much closer relationship with a friend, we are creatures that need to be affirmed. Are we improving, and how?
Lot's wife was focused on her home in Sodom. She had put down roots, made friends and made a home there. Her heart was there. She didn't want to leave, even knowing what God had told her through the angelic messengers. Her desire was to be in Sodom. They had left everything in great haste. I can imagine the angels had literally taken the family by the wrists and ran out of town to get them to leave.
Looking back in retrospect, to evaluate progress is not a bad thing at all. It helps us to see where we are growing and where we need to work on trusting God a little more. The goal is to reach a point of reckless abandonment to Jesus Christ - total trust. This means giving up a little more of our own wills and allowing the Lord to have control of our hearts, lives and desires. That can be a very scary thing, until you come to know that He is completely trustworthy.
2 Tim 2:11-13 It is a trustworthy statement: for if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him; 12 If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us; 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful; for He cannot deny himself. (NAS)
Marking progress in your walk as a Christian can be a two-edged sword. The more we grow, the more of our hearts the Lord allows us to see. The more we see, the more we know our own depravity and need. The more we know, the closer we want to be to Jesus. Because we are learning to trust Him, that is where our heart is. And since that is where are hearts are, that is where our lives and desires will turn toward.
Of all the things that we have as possessions, our friendships with other believers are some of the few things that we will take with us from this world. To look back over your life and know that it has been lived in service and friendship to others will have its own reward. These will be treasures beyond measure.
Matt 6:19-21 "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 "But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (NAS)
If our hearts are toward Jesus, then Heaven is our home. That is where we should be placing the things we value. Our houses and cars will never get there. Diamond rings and heirlooms will be passed along to our children and grandchildren. But, if we are willing to share the love and peace we have with Jesus with our family and friends, they can be considered safely stored away in Heaven. When we look back one last time from Heaven's gates and know there is nothing left behind that we value, turning and walking in will be the thing we desire the most.
Lord Jesus - Thank You for this past year. For all the victories and failures alike, know that You have orchestrated then all and can use them to teach us the things You have for us. Help us to abandon ourselves to You more each day. Give us courage to walk through this life not hiding the light we have within us. Fill us to overflowing so that we can not help but reach out to others. Amen.