We longingly made our way down the slopes, carefully watching out for the slippery muddy spots along the narrow footpaths all along trying to take in the picturesque view that was surrounding us. The sun was bright and the environment was at a comfortable temperature. However, the green waters of the river seemed as if though it wanted to be unique. Our first foot into it surprised us – it was cold! We were shivering.
Once the feet begun to adjust to the coolness, I took a step further into the river. I couldn’t help think of the lyrics, “step by step we’re moving forward, little by little we’re taking ground”. That’s exactly the strategy I used to be able to get past the shivering and the trembling, to the point of being immersed in the river and enjoying the coolness. The splashing of the water was simply refreshing.
We human beings generally just don’t like to try new things… Change is something we don’t easily welcome in our lives. “If it works, why change?” mindset even makes us overlook issues and thus we sweep things under the carpet. Our lives are considered smooth and even perhaps good when things are the way we like them to be, the way we are accustomed to. However, we don’t realise how much we may be missing out on as a result of it. If I had retreated out of the waters given how cold I felt at the first step, I would have missed out on the simple pleasures of enjoying God’s creation, the rejuvenating of my soul and perhaps the cleansing of my skin by the natural products, namely the minerals that mud has to offer.
God led Abraham out of his comfort zone, “Leave your country, your people and your father’s household and go to the land I will show you” (Genesis 12:1). God also told Abraham what would take place as a result:
“I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing.
I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” (Genesis 12:2,3)
Look at the things that God asked Abraham to LEAVE – his country, his people and his father’s household. Abraham had to step out of his comfort zone to embrace not only what God had for him but also for others through him!
Joseph was sent away from his family. About seventeen years later he was put in charge of Egypt. The family was in turn blessed. In fact Joseph told his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:19,20).
David, the youngest in the family was anointed to be king (1 Samuel 16:11-13). He was taken to Saul and remained in his service (vs.21-22). Yet again David was led away from his family years before he stepped into his calling. Imagine if this young shepherd boy hadn’t agreed to leave his own territory!
Jesus called the disciples while they were in the midst of their occupations – fishing or at the tax collectors booth etc. James and John were in a boat with their father. This was in a culture where sons joined in the family trade. Sons would listen to their fathers’ instructions without questioning. Yet, when Jesus called them, they left the boat and their father and followed Him (Matthew 4:21-22).
We often cling on tightly to what we have and wonder why God is being silent.
Our hands are not able to open up and receive what He has in store for us, let alone for us to be a blessing to others.
- What is your comfort zone? What is it that you are clinging onto today?
- How would you feel if God asked YOU to leave your family and your country? How would you respond?
- How would you feel if you were to discover that God was unable to use you to bless your family, to save their lives because you were holding on tight to them?
Often our families are our idols. We forget that our father is now our Heavenly Father and thus as Jesus said, our families are those who hear God’s Word and put it into practice. Rather than seeking God for direction, we often seek advice from family and listen to them.
Mark 10:29-30 talks about leaving for Jesus and the gospel. Matthew 10:37 cautions on loving parents above Jesus and instructs us to take our own cross. By no means does this imply disrespect of parents let alone disobedience of non-adult children to their parents in the Lord (Ephesians 6:1). However, it should serve as a caution of when families do become idols or even when one obeys parents at the cost of what God is saying.
- Imagine Jesus taking up His cross. What does taking up your cross mean to you?
- What is God laying on your heart today?
- Is there any area that you know that God has been asking you to let go and move forward, but you have been holding back?
- What are your next steps?