Left Behind

Updated: Aug 24

The poverty of man's unwillingness to relinquish...


"The Lord said to Abram, 'Go from your country and your kindred and your father's house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing'".

Genesis 12:1-2


In order to go you must leave things behind. This is the nature of leaving. No one understood this better than Abram. God's command to Abram was to go "to the land that I will show you. And I will make you a great nation and bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing." If we were to take a survey, I bet most of us would be thrilled to hear these words from the God of the universe. The promise of a great land, people, name, and blessing, let's get packing. But if we aren't cautious, we can forget what Abram had to leave behind to go and inherit those promises from God.


The Lord said, "Go from your country, and your kindred, and your father's house." The fact is that following God always costs. And Abram, the forefather of Christian faith, paved the way as he exemplified true faith by leaving homeland, relationships, and his dad's house, which was his source of provision. This should change things regarding our view of receiving God's promises? The road is narrow, difficult, and most of the time, very bumpy. We learn most of our lessons and draw closer to God through the taking away and leaving process.


This account of Abraham is a stern reminder to all of us Christians, or followers of Jesus, to examine our own hearts and stop practicing selective hearing. Many of us want the "going" without the "leaving". The "promises" without the "sacrifice". The "glory" without the "cost". This simply doesn't work. And unfortunately, many have been deceived to think that God is more like Santa Claus or a Genie than He is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe. We are inclined to follow God as long as He is serving us and our interests.


What was God really asking Abram when He said that two letter word, "Go"? He was saying, "Abram, I know that all of you will not want to leave, but I'm asking you to trust and follow me." This is the essence of God and the essence of man. Man's difficulty with leaving or lack of control and God's necessity for it.


No doubt it is most difficult to suffer loss. But our greatest loss for God's names sake always, and I mean always, results in our greatest joy. You might ask how I can say that? I'd respond in pointing us back to Jesus, the Son of God and image of God. The suffering that Jesus experienced, expressed, and exampled to mankind on the cross will remain throughout eternity as the crowning moment of God's love and grace. He showed us that an instrument of execution can be good. His sacrifice and willingness to give up His life and lose Himself for your sake and mine shows that joy is not found in what we can get, but what we can lose. This is such a backwards way of thinking when it comes to the world. But it is the Kingdom of God. Have you lost your life yet? And moreover, are you experiencing the joy that is found in going, like Abram did?


The famous missionary CT Studd, who gave up his inheritance and became a missionary to Africa wrote this poem that personifies the spirit of leaving and finding satisfaction and joy in Jesus:


"Two little lines I heard one day, Traveling along life’s busy way; Bringing conviction to my heart, And from my mind would not depart; Only one life, twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Soon will its fleeting hours be done; Then, in ‘that day’ my Lord to meet, And stand before His Judgement seat; Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, the still small voice, Gently pleads for a better choice Bidding me selfish aims to leave, And to God’s holy will to cleave; Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, a few brief years, Each with its burdens, hopes, and fears; Each with its clays I must fulfill, living for self or in His will; Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

When this bright world would tempt me sore, When Satan would a victory score; When self would seek to have its way, Then help me Lord with joy to say; Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Give me Father, a purpose deep, In joy or sorrow Thy word to keep; Faithful and true what e’er the strife, Pleasing Thee in my daily life; Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Oh let my love with fervor burn, And from the world now let me turn; Living for Thee, and Thee alone, Bringing Thee pleasure on Thy throne; Only one life, “twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last.

Only one life, yes only one, Now let me say,”Thy will be done”; And when at last I’ll hear the call, I know I’ll say “twas worth it all”; Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last. ”

Only one life, ’twill soon be past,

Only what’s done for Christ will last. And when I am dying, how happy I’ll be, If the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee." .

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