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Fall Back And Punt?
“Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV)
If you have been a reader of Freedom Fighter’s for any length of time it should be of no surprise to you that I am a fan of football and that my team of choice (since birth) is the Philadelphia Eagles. There was a Green Bay Packer Era but that was because of Reggie White (THE Minister of Defense) becoming a free agent and signing with the Packers. In any case I am a fan of football and there is a moment in the game where it becomes necessary for team to fall back and punt. A first down cannot be established and in order to change where the ball is on the field “kicking it away” becomes a strategy of advancement, meaning you hope your defense gets the ball back at a better spot on the field.
So with that said I wonder how many of us think that we can “fall back and punt” in our Christian walk? It’s not that the idea isn’t new especially when the world has pressed against you in such a way that falling back into what once was seems easier than striving ahead to see what could be. Take the Israelites leaving Egypt for instance. Yahweh has brought them right to the edge of the Red Sea and with a little faith through Moses’ leading (mustard seed?) these people could be in THE Promised Land BUT….
“When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt? Is not this what we said to you in Egypt: ‘Leave us alone that we may serve the Egyptians’? For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness.” (Exodus 14:10-12)
This can just as well be us in that moment of crisis where we have been following His leading but a test of faith happens and we just wanna go back to where we came from. And this isn’t the only kind of moment where we wanna fall back to change position. Take this from Luke’s Gospel account…“Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:61-62) Now go take a look at 1Kings 19:1-22 and let’s see how Jesus “flips the script”.
For Elijah, he just had his moment where he had been taken to the edge and Yahweh brought him victory but Jezebel instilled fear into him and it took a small still voice to bring him out of it. He was told to fall back and his successor was chosen, Elisha. Now Elisha gets that kinda “Follow Me” from Elijah but Elisha is permitted to say his goodbyes…but he stops plowing the field and then two oxen are offered up as sacrifice. Not bad for old school thinking but Jesus changes that thinking to say, “There is no turning back” none the matter what your affairs were. Can’t go in a straight line if you are going to constantly look back to see if you are going straight line, RIGHT?
The Apostle Paul understood this principle as well. For him it was all forward, no farewells, no getting his affairs in order. He didn’t even get the chance to go back to whatever Sanhedrin he was part of and tell them he made a decision…nope. Just take your blind self and go to this guy’s house, stop persecuting Me and preach the Good News to the Gentiles, go to this place, go to that place and when I am done with you, offer yourself up as a drink offering and enter into My rest. For Paul, falling back and punting was never in the plan. So should it be for those of us who are not only hearers but doers and not so much doers but as followers of Jesus Christ. I pray this is you in the coming New Year. Amen? Chris Hughes is a weekly Freedom Fighter blogger and a graduate of the Colony of Mercy. You can write to him at Cphughes56@verizon.net
Think About This: “Leave the broken, irreversible past in His hands, and step out into the invincible future with Him.”—Oswald Chambers
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9