Burn the Plow. Roast the Ox.

fire-1568645So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”

“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”

So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.
1 Kings 19:19-21

When we repent and accept Christ as our leader and director then we leave our old life behind. In fact we don’t just turn our back on it, but we are spiritually born, no longer dead in our transgressions, but alive in Christ. From that day forward when we wake up every morning the Holy Spirit within us cries out for Christ, for righteousness. A sign of a true believer is someone who denies the desire of his flesh nature, this is called dying to oneself.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul? Matthew 16:24

You see Christ was made sin on the cross, even though He had not Himself sinned, as a payment for the debt we’ve racked up with our sin before God. However, the transaction is not complete until we offer up that sin in repentance. Burning it like Elisha burned his plow. When we repent and die to ourselves. Then and only then will Christ’s righteousness is imputed upon us to protect us from the wrath of God. We are purchased by the blood of Christ, protected by His righteousness.

The Christian life is one of continual repentance and dying to oneself, not because we lose our salvation every time we go to sleep, but because we have set our hearts and minds to accept Christ as our Rescuer which can only happen when we submit to Him as Lord. Submission means dying to self.

When Elisha was called to serve God he burned His plow, killed His oxen and ate them for a farewell dinner. He got rid of them for good, no turning back. We must burn our plows, our old life must die under the transforming fire of the Holy Spirit. While it is painful to die to ourselves it will not be as painful as it will be to come under the eternal fire of God’s judgement.

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8

Just like Isaiah cried out in terror when He saw a vision of God’s throne and His mouth was purified with a coal from God’s holy fire, so must our tongues be purified with the fire of the Holy Spirit. If not, our tongues will be scorched and parched for water where there is none.

And in Hades (the realm of the dead), being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far away, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried out and said, Father Abraham, have pity and mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.

But Abraham said, Child, remember that you in your lifetime fully received [what is due you in] comforts and delights, and Lazarus in like manner the discomforts and distresses; but now he is comforted here and you are in anguish. And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who want to pass from this to you may not be able, and no one may pass from there to us. Luke 16:23-26

God’s purifying fire consumes all unrighteousness. Will it only be your works consumed on judgement day (1 Cor. 3:10-15) or your whole body?

“The List”

https://vimeo.com/127118312Did you know that God is intently watching every single one of us?

From His dwelling place He looks [intently] upon all the inhabitants of the earth—He Who fashions the hearts of them all, Who considers all their doings. Psalm 33:14-15 AMP

What makes this far more amazing than simply the fact that He considers the ways of all people at once, is that God is so big and so powerful beyond our comprehension that the Bible also tells that in order to regard even the heavens He actually has to humble himself. When we we view something new in the heavens it makes the news and we highly praise the ability of man to get a snapshot of one small piece of creation, but for God, the creator He is so far beyond His amazing creation in His glory, power, and wonder that it is an act of humility to pay us any attention!

The Lord is high above all nations,
His glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God,
Who dwells on high,
Who humbles Himself to behold
The things that are in the heavens and in the earth?
Psalm 113:4-6

This really helps me to get in perspective because really if God is in a humble state to regard us, then shouldn’t I also be walking in a continual posture of humility before Him in His awesome dominion and power? Also, there should be NO ONE that I am not willing to humble myself to talk to, to care for with dignity because God Himself regards them and myself, although we both at our best are like abhorrent, filthy rags before Him…

Furthermore, we learn that not only is God humbling Himself to watch us, and considering all of our ways, but he is also keeping track. He’s making “a list”, He forgets not one of our words or deeds:

“But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment.“For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37

“The conclusion, when all has been heard, is: fear God and keep His commandments, because this applies to every person. For God will bring every act to judgment, everything which is hidden, whether it is good or evil. Ecclesiastes 12:14

For those that reject the payment of Christ and refuse Him as Lord on earth, it will only be them, their list of sins, and an all-seeing, all-knowing God on the day of judgement. The scriptures make it clear that when we live like this we are storing up wrath for that day.

But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: Romans 2:5-6

But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars–they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death. Revelation 21:8

Andy Adams, Nathaniel Hall, and Curtis Randle recently wrote and performed a puppet skit that illustrates how Christ gave His very life for us, so if we are truly sorry for our sins and repent we can have our “list” forgiven and be protected on the dreaded day of judgement:

For those that  are protected by Christ righteousness, who had a repentant heart and turned to Christ, their offenses are dismissed because the payment of their sin was made when they submitted their thoughts, words, and deeds under the leadership of Christ. However, even they will still face God for a judgement, the judgement of what they built in this life upon their new foundation of Christ:

According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each man must be careful how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15

We are each accountable before God, which list will you approach the throne of God’s judgement with?

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8