God’s Word for Today: Abandon. Verb: give up completely (a course of action, a practice, or a way of thinking). “he had clearly abandoned all pretense of trying to succeed”. Synonyms: renounce, relinquish, dispense with, disclaim, forgo, disown, disavow, discard, wash one’s hands of. What a harsh and finalistic type word. Abandon is no good in one sense. In another, it is totally necessary. Let’s discuss.
Growing up way out in the sticks, (15 miles to the closest small town, 22 miles, via shortcut, to the closest town you could actually shop in) was a good definition of living in the middle of nowhere. Not really, because it was in a beautiful setting with rock bluffs overlooking our farm from two directions, a winding and mostly quiet creek, and wildlife abound. But, it was a long way from any organized civilization. This led to one phenomenon.
Every so often, a stray pet would show up at our house. It was obvious, this pet had been abandoned. For whatever reason, the owners decided said pet was no longer viable to their existence. Thus, it was time to remove the pet. The easiest way was simple abandonment. And, to guarantee no return, the abandon part took place at least 15 miles from town. I would like to think that the people who did this actually had a big heart. They were hoping for a better life for the pet. They did not choose death. They chose to give the pet a fighting chance by choosing a spot near to a farm. Or, maybe it was a good place to abandon a pet because it was far enough removed from any other house that there were no witnesses. Whatever the reason, we ended up with some pretty cool pets. I will never judge the people who did this as I believe at one time or another, I have been guilty of the same act. I still carry a part of that guilt with me.
Then, there is the abandonment of a bad habit. Day four into the New Year, and being a Monday, defines this day as the ultimate hurdle for determining success of any set goals for the New Year. We talked the other day about setting positive type goals. I cannot say for sure, but abandonment of a bad habit that is slowly destroying your body and possibly your life, has got to be a positive definition of abandon. Disown, disavow, and my favorite, discard, are a good way to look at bad habits. I hope and pray you are realizing success with yours.
Matthew 22:37-38. Jesus replied: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment.
Jesus was being backed in a corner by the “educated scholars of religious practice” of the day. They were trying to expose His faults by asking Him which is the greatest commandment. Who could ever argue with His answer? Jesus was a threat
to their high and mighty self-appointed status. They really wanted Jesus to give up and abandon His teachings. They were threatened with the Good News. They were afraid that if people started believing the message Jesus was delivering, then these people would abandon the leadership of their teachings. Basically, it was a one-way power struggle. The Pharisees and scholars of the time fought. Jesus simply taught. And, if you would discern the winners versus losers, you would realize to this very day, there are still those who follow the teachings of there being no Savior. Jesus might have existed, but He was nothing more than an overzealous prophet. You and I know better.
But, what happens every day when we choose our way instead of His? Each and every time we follow a desire or want on this world, are we not abandoning Jesus? It really depends on how you are making that choice. Jesus wants you to have good things. Jesus thinks you deserve some of the pleasures in life, as long as they are always recognized as things and not objects. When a shiny new car becomes more important than sharing Jesus’ love, then we have abandoned Him. But when that same shiny new car is acknowledged as a gift from Jesus because He blessed us with the ability to work hard and save our money, then things are good. If our pursuit in life is Jesus first, then other good things are OK.
And, if we want to do a little role reversal, let’s talk about how necessary it is to have Jesus in our lives so we can abandon those things harmful to us. Simple example. I enjoy a good cup of coffee in the morning. Some people have told me the intake of caffeine is sinful. Caffeine is a mind and body altering drug, and really needs to be abandoned. Well, what do you think? If I need that cup of coffee before I can even think about talking to God in the morning, or reading His word, then yes, there is a problem. But, if I thank God that He has blessed my life in a way that I have peace enough to appreciate a good cup of coffee, then maybe it is OK. Could I abandon coffee? Yes. Do I think my Christian walk would be better and stronger without coffee? Well, no. Maybe someday I will be led differently. Today, I am enjoying my coffee.
Today, on a Monday, first Monday of a new year, take a look at this word abandon. Define what abandon in your life is keeping you from stepping closer to God. Also decide might you might need to abandon to be able to walk closer to Him. Just a couple things to think about. Why didn’t we discuss the possibility that God might have abandoned you? Because that is not possible. God loves you more than you can ever possibly realize. It is time to love Him back……………….
Prayer: Dearest Lord who would never abandon me. Forgive me for those times I have turned my back and abandoned you. I am sorry God. I want to make the right choices. I know deep down in my soul that you love me Lord. Help me to abandon all that is not good in my life so I can begin to share all that is good. I love you Lord. Help me to do so with all my heart, soul, and mind. In Jesus’, who will never abandon me, name I pray. Amen.