“The first step Elisha made toward God was not to follow after Elijah, which represented God’s purpose for his life, but to burn his plows so he had nothing to go back to.”
This quote is one of many that I’ve taken from a series of sermons called Greater. For those of you who know me well, you’ve probably heard me talk at lengths about how much I enjoy listening to sermons by Steven Furtick based out of Elevation Church. I carefully pick out my favorites (there are many) and take notes. Those notes inspire me to dig deeper into my studies. They encourage me when I’m feeling less than encouraged. But they also give me a basis for writing my thoughts.
It just so happens that our life group is beginning to study this series so I decided it would be a good time to review those notes.
Although there are many, the quote listed at the top of this page has really been convicting my heart. It’s in regard to the call of Elisha, and Elijah’s job to go and anoint him to take his place.
After I read it over, I couldn’t help but stare off into space for an uncomfortably long length of time. Finally, I was able to ask myself this question: Jennifer, what have you forgotten to burn?
Now let me be the first to say that I’m not suggesting you toss your friends and loved ones into the fire. How morbid.
But I am suggesting that we need to torch the things that will draw us back into the darkness where the enemy wants to keep us. If those things happen to be people then it might mean taking a step back for awhile in order to develop and strengthen our faith.
To follow through with Elisha’s case, however, he was so confident in what God had called him to do that he didn’t hesitate to trust. He trusted so much that he was willing to make certain he couldn’t change his mind after the journey began. So he burned. He burned the temptation that would surely call him back when the going got tough.
So many of us run toward the altar, eager to be saved but once we’ve made it past that first step we cautiously stick our pinky toe into the new waters. We test it out to make sure that the temperature is right with our senses. If it isn’t, we have only to retract our foot and continue stepping down a once familiar path that sounds something like “I got this…”
It’s the temperature of the water that gets us every time. Too cold, and we yearn for our lost comforts. Too hot and we fear getting ahead of ourselves and failing.
But what if the blessing isn’t a possibility until we’ve proven to God that we’re ready to destroy the temptations left behind us?
Insecurities prove to be at the top of our earthly struggles. To rid ourselves of something that makes us feel secure (a job, a hobby, a relationship, a place of residence) in order to take up the unknown requires great confidence. But without confidence in God we will be running a never-ending race to find confidence in ourselves.
Sometimes it’s those plows that aren’t causing us any harm that prove to be the hardest to burn. After all, Elisha’s profession wasn’t a bad one. He was an honest farmer working to make a living.
When we grow as Christians, it’s those things that we want to separate ourselves from that are easiest to burn. But what about the good stuff? The seemingly innocent parts of our life that really aren’t counter productive to the Spirit but, regardless, assume the position of a roadblock in our calling for God?
I now know that security can be an idol for me. I enjoy comfort and don’t necessarily feel inclined to burn something that isn’t hurting me. When I think of myself as Elisha, the purely logical thing to do would be to loan out my plowing equipment for a bit to make sure that this whole “prophet” thing was gonna work for me.
But is that what God wants? Or does He want total trust in what He has planned for me?
I’m pretty sure I know the answer to this.
I need to remind myself that when all I think I want is a bowl of ice cream…that perhaps God has something more like Baked Alaska in mind.
To read the full text: The Call of Elisha