But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
Those of you who are Bible scholars probably know this reference immediately. It's Lot's wife, looking back on the burning cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as she, her husband and two daughters escape. They got out of the city, but the city didn't get out of her. She couldn't leave the past behind.
I can't imagine the pain that Lot may have experienced at that moment...well, come to think of it...maybe I can. Maybe you can too. If you've ever lost someone to something you couldn't control, that pain may be similar. Maybe it was an illness that took their life. Maybe it was a lifestyle that has consumed their very soul and left a person you don't recognize or understand. It might be a marriage that dissolved into two strangers where there once was a couple, deeply in love. Life can bring circumstances that are gut wrenching.
And sometimes, those gut wrenching experiences result from our own actions. (Ouch. That hurts.)
The regret, anger, the pain, can walk us right into a state of depression so deep and so consuming that it feels like there's no way out. We spend every ounce of energy remembering, and stewing on what happened. It becomes real and new everyday.
There's a time for looking back, no doubt. It's important to remember an experience and learn, but it is also important to let it go.
When Jesus called Lazarus forward from his grave, Christ's first instructions to the people around this newly recovered man were 'Loose him and let him go.' How would Lazarus have functioned wrapped in his burial clothes? He wouldn't have been able to eat, move, speak. It would have been foolish for him to come back from the dead, but remained wrapped in the garments of death. Yet, we do this.
We can survive a traumatic experience or loss, but it can still keep a devastating grip on our lives. It binds everything we do, coloring our mood, how we deal with those around us, our jobs, our family.
Loose (our name's here) and let (our name's here) go.
I think the picture Jesus left us was beautiful. It was His power that raised Lazarus, but Jesus looked to the family around to do the 'loosing' part. Jesus could have reached out or even spoken and freed Lazarus. But Our Savior seems to show here that it's important for us as a body to touch and participate in freeing people...just as it's important for those of us who may be bound to know that there are people with real hands and real hearts ready to help.
Perhaps today you find yourself looking back on something, someone, some time in your life that still has you bound. Maybe you feel like you've gone too far and you just can't get back to Christ. Maybe its a promise broken. Or there's just too much anger and you're afraid to let it go. Maybe you just don't know how to get back.
The Christ you knew from Sunday School as a child - that Christ of 'Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so' - is the same Christ today. He is just as ready for us now as He was for Lazarus then. Do not be consumed by the past like Lot's wife. We don't have to look back. Just up.
And, like those people around the tomb, we at Fellowship are ready, willing and able to help loose you...and let you go.
38Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.
39Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
40Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
41Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
43And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
Freedom is just on the other side of 'I yield, Jesus.'
Lifeline is produced from the Evangelistic Ministry of in Jonesboro, GA. You are encouraged to share this message. The Fellowship Church website (www.fcchosengeneration.com) includes a link to the Lifeline Blog (www.lifelineatfellowship.blogspot.com) where you can find previous messages. Evangelist Robinson also posts her entries on Facebook and Twitter. To subscribe to the mailing, or for questions and comments, tweet (@evangeliststeff) or send email firstname.lastname@example.org. Fellowship Church can be reached at email@example.com.
Fellowship ChurchWhere Passions Become RealityBecause You Are a Chosen Generation
770-573-9339Alton Watkins, Pastor