Friday, November 12, 2010

Burn the Ships

There was a time when I was very interested in "the end times." It was around when the "Left Behind" series first came out. I remember getting caught up in these books. It was very exciting to think about...the final cosmic battle of Good versus evil. But I also read other interpretations and ideas about what many Christians refer to as the Rapture or the Return of Christ, and I realized that perhaps the Bible isn't quite as explicit as some scholars have come to think about what will (or will not) happen as the world winds down. For me, I walked away from my own investigation deciding not to become too preoccupied with the when and what of Jesus' return. After all, Jesus Himself said no one would know the time (see: Matthew 24:36)...and it seems as though each generation of believers always thinks it is the last...even Paul seemed to think so (see: 1 Corinthians 7:29-31). I decided that if I was living my life the way I best I could...following God...trying to be like His Son...then that was all I needed to do. And then...I read today's Scripture readings.

In today's Gospel, Jesus once again challenges all that I think I know...or all that I know how to think...about something...and He offers a radical alternative. He says,
...and likewise one in the field must not return to what was left behind." Luke 17:31b
After I read this...and recognized this passage was leaping off the page at me...I saw another perspective. Christ comes to us everyday. Since everyday could be "the day," that makes every day "the day." Christ is right in front of us...always present before us...asking...waiting for us to stop fighting...and simply believe with everything we give Him our all...our everything. And when we do...there is no turning holding on to whatever sin...and lifestyle...and pattern we left behind. Just like Peter...when we take our eyes off of Christ before us...we sink (Matthew 14:28-31). I can't ignore the Revelations and the wisdom to be gained from the "end times." I must keep it Christ is ever-present. It should be a continual reminder...a guide...maybe even a stay vigilant and to run the good race.
Anyway, all of this reminded me of a song by Steven Curtis Chapman, Burn the Ships. From the first time I heard it...this song spoke to me. It embodies how I want to live my faith. It talks about not giving yourself a way to go back to your "old life." When you arrive in the new world...your new...or in burn the ships...your only way back. You commit to it 100%. It's all or nothing...because Jesus asks for our all. My faith can't be half way...or lukewarm...or in between. I have to give Him everything...without regret...without hesitation. When I fail to do that, I am denying Him and calling Him a liar...because I don't believe Him and don't trust His promises to love and prosper me.
So what does this have to do with the end times? Well...maybe nothing. Perhaps these are all just my ramblings. But for me...I guess I look at all the time and energy spent trying to figure out when Christ is coming back...when and what the Rapture will be...and it seems to me that all that time and energy should be spent living for God this moment. It's not like if we knew when Christ was coming that we would have any less formidable a live a life of Christ is holy. But when that moment comes...we should be free to look ahead...with no struggle or strain to look back. We should have already committed ourselves so completely...that no matter what happens...our "fate" was sealed long ago. Christ purchased us with His blood...and so we should sell ourselves out completely to God. We burned our ships...maybe one at a time...maybe one a day...and maybe we are still burning them...but regardless...there can be no turning back. My prayer is that when that day comes...either Christ's return...or my going Home...I pray that I am able to step out and walk to Christ on the water of Eternity. How else could I get to Him...after all...all my ships are burned.

Peace in Him.

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