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"Burn Your Ox Cart"

"he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does."

James 1:8 (NIV)

James, the half brother of our Lord understood what has become to be known as, "The Law of Psychological Acceptance" which states, "When, in our minds, we habitually tolerate sin, our senses become dulled, thereby diminishing our ability to discern good from evil. Consequently, when faced with choices between the two, we may well choose evil over good, without the slightest awareness of sin or tinge of conscience." The point is simple, the further an individual or society moves away from the true worship of God the more likely that individual or group are to do exactly what the book of Isaiah said happened to the nation of Israel. When truth ceases to be your guide eventually you will begin to "call evil good and good evil." (Isaiah 5:20).

The million dollar question for today might just be, how do we prevent history from repeating itself, and how do we keep ourselves from becoming double minded? 1 Kings 19 gives us one of the best examples in all the Bible. Elijah, the prophet of God at the time is coming to the end of his ministry and has been instructed by the Lord to anoint Elisha who is to become the next prophet called of God to speak on His behalf.

When Elijah finds Elisha he throws his mantle or cloak on him without a word. Elisha would have understood the significance of this event as only the prophets wore these particular kind of mantle's or cloaks that served to make them identifiable to the people as they ministered. What Elisha did next provides a great lesson for us today as to how to avoid being double minded in our walk with God.

Read the interaction for yourself here in 1 Kings 19:19-21, "So he (Elijah) departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he was with the twelfth. Then Elijah passed by him and threw his mantle on him. And he left the oxen and ran after Elijah, and said, "Please let me kiss my father and my mother, and then I will follow you." And he said to him, "Go back again, for what have I done to you?" So Elisha turned back from him, and took a yoke of oxen and slaughtered them and boiled their flesh, using the oxen's equipment, and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he arose and followed Elijah, and became his servant."

I love Elisha's heart for the Lord reflected here. If Elisha would have ever been tempted to turn back and cease from following the call of God upon his life he would find it nearly impossible to do as he didn't just flee the temptation, he burned it. If Elisha ever toyed with the idea of what life would be like if he had just stayed home on the farm he'd never know as he slaughtered the yoke of oxen and he used his ox cart for firewood to cook the meat. In other words, there was no turning back as there was nothing to turn back too. You have to love this kind of devotion! 

Here we have in scripture is a life fully devoted to following God. Elisha did everything in his power to minimize his ability to be double minded in his devotion to the Lord by simply be eliminating the options. For Elisha there was no turning back because there was nothing there to turn back too. You and I do well to do the same, loved one. Eliminate the options, make turning back virtually impossible and for good reason. There is a peace that comes with not having options, as when there is only one way to go its much easier to focus all of our attention on it.

In Luke 9:62 we read Jesus own thoughts on double mindedness, "But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." God knows how easily we get stuck wavering between choices that are before us because He knows we tend to walk by sight and not by faith when we are tired, frustrated or having a lapse of faith. 

We cant back into our future and its hard to drive a car by trying to navigate only using the rear view mirror. To move forward in life in a way that honors the Lord we do well to take heed of the apostle Paul's words that we read in Philippians 3:12-14, "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."

If you desire to eliminate double mindedness keep your eye on the prize and severe your ties with your old way of life. Its much easier to flee the temptations in our lives if there is no temptation to return too. Determine today to follow the model of Elisha and cut off all access to the old life, slaughter the oxen as it were, and burn your ox cart and do what the writer of the book of Hebrews exhorts us to do…

"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

Hebrews 12:1-2


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