Saturday, December 31, 2011

Newly Seasoned Life

   Here we are, once again, standing on the edge of the calendar, peering into the future, with child like anticipation. Most will celebrate in some way, whether with loved ones at home or with multitudes at parties and street celebrations. Either location may still spontaneously ring out with the old acquaintances being forgotten line of a new year's song, strange, but fitting. As usual, something completely unique comes to my mind. The one image that continues to impact me most is salt, a giant pillar of salt to be exact.
   We fool ourselves into thinking that moving forward into the new year somehow allows us to magically lose the chains that hold us to what ever may be behind. I keep remembering the unique story found in Genesis of Lot's wife. After God had patiently and graciously given many opportunities for repentance and promised Abraham to spare the city if He could find just 10 righteous people in Sodom, angels were sent to rescue Lot's family (Genesis 19). Abraham's love for his cousin spared their lives, but on the way out, Lot's wife couldn't bare to think of leaving the life she had built for herself, so against orders, she looked back. Salt.
   It's always easy to judge someone's actions when you truly haven't walked in their shoes, but don't we all have those things that “so easily beset us”? What was she looking at? Was it the prestige? Her husband Lot had become a statesman in the city. Was it the house? With the blessing of position in the community and Abraham's gifts of wealth, the Lot family home was probably a featured landmark in the city. Maybe it was the friends that were just as self indulgent as she may have been. We like to wrap ourselves in the comfort of like mindedness...It was all the “stuff” that had so entangled her, she had forgotten or choose to ignore the warning of instant death, just to get one more glimpse of her earthly glory.
   Surely, most of us haven't been instructed to leave certain destruction, but maybe there are things that keep you weighed down. Just as God was delivering Lot's wife from a kingdom of darkness, so too has he delivered us from spiritual darkness into the kingdom of light. Colossians 1:13-14 states: “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His dear Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
   Just as we read the account of Lot's wife and say, “don't look back”. Jesus stands with nail pierced hands and shows us why we need not to look back. Why even peer over and look at the darkness that may seem enticing? What relationship does darkness have with light? This is the scale I give my children, who are now teenagers. Is what you want to do, read, see, really associated with darkness or light? With the price Jesus paid to delivery me, why would I ever want to look back?
   Maybe what you look back on is a hurt, a guilt, a person, a loss, an addiction, a downfall, a life that was full of earthly rewards: money, prestige, power. Each of us has our “poison”. Many times they are seen, but I believe the majority are unseen. The invisible things that hold us down from moving forward. What ever it is that God has called you to or out of, don't look back at the destruction of your life, move forward to His grace, forgiveness, strength and peace. This new year will truly be a new beginning.

-Melissa Pyle
inspired by grace

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