November 27, 2020
Leaving Your Old Life Behind
By Skip Heitzig
Abraham plays a major role in our Christian faith. He's called the father of those who believe, because he "believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness" (Romans 4:3; see also Hebrews 11:8-10).
But his story begins in his hometown, Ur of the Chaldees. His father was a pagan worshipper, and his wife was infertile at the time. Abram, as he was known then, was called to leave that place and go where God told him: "Now the LORD had said to Abram: 'Get out of your country, from your family and from your father's house, to a land that I will show you'" (Genesis 12:1). So he left. He went upriver to Haran until his father died, then he continued his journey to Canaan.
And God told him, "I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; and you shall be a blessing" (v. 2). I think this shows, at least in part, the irony or even sense of humor of God. Against all odds, God promised this man, who had no child and a wife who could bear no child, that He was going to make him a great nation.
God went on to say, "I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed" (v. 3). Everything else in God's program from here on out flows from this verse. This is the theme of the rest of the Bible—how God will bless the world through the offspring of Abraham, namely, Christ.
"So Abram departed as the LORD had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran" (v. 4). Now, God had big blessings in store for this guy. But before Abraham could see big blessings, he had to separate from old relationships. He had to cut certain things from the past out of his life before he could go forward.
God calls us to do the same. He calls all of us to make a clean break from our past—to repent—and start over. Jesus even said, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me" (Matthew 16:24). The extent to which we are willing to leave our old life will be the extent to which we enjoy the new life.
Abraham was called to leave and be blessed in a new place. Later on, he would be called the friend of God (see 2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; James 2:23). Isn't that a great nickname? But it all started with Abraham taking that first step of obedience, of making a break from his past. Have you taken that first step?