(Summary of the sermon from 28 Feb 2016)
A few days ago, my younger son Jhunu stated, ‘Ma, I have decided!’ Curious, I asked what he had decided. He said that he had decided to stay in U.K.G. He was not going to 1st grade. The reason was that he loved his teacher and friends and had enjoyed a great school year. He didn’t want to leave any of that and move ahead.
As endearing as it is, many of us are like little Jhunu. We are happy and content in our comfort zones. We don’t want to venture out to the great places that God is calling us to. Maybe some of us are stuck in depravities, sinful addictions, laziness and stubborn lifestyles but God wants us to move out and walk ahead.
Genesis 1:2 says, ‘And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters’. Our God hovers and moves constantly. He is waiting for us to step out in obedience to Him and move ahead.
Today, let us look at three aspects of moving ahead from the Bible.
- OVERCOME THE LINGERING MENTALITY
And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife’s hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the Lord being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.
Lot was Abraham’s nephew. The Bible calls him a righteous man. But he didn’t always live seeking God’s will. As a result, his steps took him to terrible conditions that destroyed his family. At one point, God had to send his angels to get him and his family out of Sodom. But even while fleeing the sinful city of Sodom, Lot hesitated. He lingered on.
Many people know the difference between good and evil. They know God and claim to hate the devil. But their lifestyles show that the doors are open to the devil. They linger in places where they have no business to be in.
Let me share a story in this regard. Once, a man climbed up to the highest peak of a mountain. On his way down, he saw a snake that was almost lifeless. As he was about to pass by, the snake raised its head and begged him to carry it with him. Initially, he refused saying that it would bite him. But the snake promised that it wouldn’t. So the man agreed, put the snake in the pocket of his jacket and continued on his way down. Slowly, the heat of the man’s body revived the snake. When they reached the base of the mountain, the man reached his hand inside his jacket to take the snake out. But the snake stuck its head out and bit him. The man cried out and said – ‘You promised that you wouldn’t bite!’ The snake replied, ‘Well, you know it’s in my nature to bite’.
That is the case with sin too. No matter how lifeless it looks today it will devour us if we play with it. The Bible says that we can’t carry fire in our bosom and say that it will not burn us.
We need to introspect and see what lifeless things we are carrying in our lives. There might be places that we mustn’t be lingering in. It doesn’t matter how badly we are stuck; God has opened his doors of grace for us to move ahead.
- BREAKING THE CAMP AND MOVING AHEAD
The Lord our God spoke to us in Horeb, saying: ‘You have dwelt long enough at this mountain. Turn and take your journey, and go to the mountains of the Amorites, to all the neighboring places in the plain, in the mountains and in the lowland, in the South and on the seacoast, to the land of the Canaanites and to Lebanon, as far as the great river, the River Euphrates. See, I have set the land before you; go in and possess the land which the Lord swore to your fathers—to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—to give to them and their descendants after them.’
The Israelites stayed on Mount Horeb for a couple of years. The Lord fed them daily, provided them clothing and footwear. They weren’t afraid of the Egyptians anymore because God was protecting them. They were having a good time. Then one day God asked them to break up camp and head out. This was not their destination. They had to reach the Promised Land. In order to do that, they had to come down from the comforts of the mountain and walk in the valleys, trusting in God.
Here’s another story to explain this better. Two eagle couples built their nests high up on the cliff top. As time went by, both the families had babies. The parents looked after them for a while. After a while, one set of the parents started to slowly destroy the nests. The baby eaglets cried out in protest. But the parents kept pecking away at the nest. One day, these parents pushed their baby eaglets from the top of the cliff. When they left the comfort of their nests, they learned to spread their wings, soar up high in the sky and fly. Meanwhile the other set of parents didn’t push the baby eaglets out. The little eagles grew fat and outgrew the nest. One day they fell out of the nest and died. They had never learned to fly. By staying put in the comfort of their nest, they did not fulfill the purpose for which God had created them.
As a church, for many years we dreamt of having a place of our own. Now that we have got it we cannot rest comfortably. This is the launch pad for us to reach out to the places and nations around us. God wants us to break camp and move ahead.
- AGGRESSIVELY MOVE AHEAD
Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem.
Another version says that Jesus set His face like a flint and He moved to Jerusalem.
A ‘flint’ is a ‘hard stone’. Jesus set His face like a hard stone. It denotes determination and aggression. Jerusalem awaited Him with the Cross. It was not a simple thing for Him to face. But not moving ahead or turning back and escaping was not an option for Jesus. He knew that He had to fulfill His purpose. As His followers, we need to set our face too and move ahead.
On His way into Jerusalem, people shouted, “Hosanna!” Everybody said – “what honor!” But in the spiritual realm Jesus was carrying His cross, denying Himself, and walking towards death. As a church, the call for us is to carry our cross and walk to the destiny that God has for us. It may be hard or difficult. But turning back is not an option for us.
God is calling us to spread our wings and soar high in the sky. Let’s not linger back. Instead, let us be willing to break free from our comfort zones and determinedly move ahead into our destiny and calling in life.
Please feel free to share your thoughts on this message in the comments section below.