“Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.'” Luke 9:62
Three weeks ago I heard a sermon on the above verse, and I’ll be honest that I felt convicted. How many times have I tried to lose weight “putting my hand to the plow” and then gone back to my old habits? Enough times that I thought about giving up completely, particularly if God didn’t see me as ‘fit’ for service.
But, today in particular I felt that there was more to this verse that God wanted me to see if I would get over my feelings of condemnation. After all, I am – and will only ever be – a sinner saved by grace through the blood of Jesus Christ. I have no reason to boast except for in the Lord’s faithfulness anyway.
I felt the Lord gently speak to me today and ask “Where are your eyes?”
When my eyes are fixed on Him, the battle to live a holy life doesn’t seem as difficult. Honestly, I’m not even as hungry when I’m truly delving into His Word and living for Him. But, when I take my eyes off “the prize” and put them anywhere else, I feel like I sink quickly into my old habits. There are times that my shift in gaze has been to look at my own body and weight loss. I bought a new pair of jeans and all but patted myself on the back, I looked at the scale and thought “YES!” but neither of those is truly my goal. My goal is to live for His glory – have I been truly a reflection of Him to all those around me?
In Matthew 14:22-36, Jesus was walking on water and beckoned Peter to come to him. When Peter saw the wind (telling me that he took his eyes off his master), he began to sink. Jesus asked why he doubted.
Have you doubted that God can save you in your situation? Have you doubted your ability to lose weight AND keep it off? I would venture to say that it’s only when our eyes turn from our Lord that we will struggle. If we can fix our eyes on Him, I think HE will win the victory for us.
My readings from this morning included 2 Samuel 23:8-39 about David’s Mighty Men. The beginning of this passage was about three specific men who were basically the best of the best. About one, the Bible specifically noted that “[he] stood his ground…The Lord brought about a great victory that day” (2 Samuel 23:10) and about another of the three, it said [he] “took his stand…and the Lord brought about a great victory” (2 Samuel 23:12). These verses stuck out to me. What does God want us to do? TAKE A STAND – even when others around us don’t. Then God will win the victory on our behalf. Ephesians 6:13 tells us: “Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.” Stand firm! Let God win the battle!
How do we stand? In practical terms, when we feel like we can’t give up the food we have used for comfort, when we don’t feel like there’s an ounce of energy in our body to work out, when we feel like this battle is simply hopeless and we’ve tried over and over again just to fail yet again…how do we stand firm and not give up? We start with our eyes: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2a).
If we put our hand to the plow, let’s not look back, look around or look at ourselves. Let’s look at Jesus who gave us the perfect example. Let’s look at God’s Word and His glory. Let’s think about the things that are pure and holy and let’s let GOD win the victory as we stand, gazing at Him.
If you’ve felt yourself sinking, then simply look up and as Peter did, cry out “Lord, save me!” He is a faithful and merciful God!
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word. God, we confess that we have been guilty of putting our hand to the plow and then looking back. Help us keep our eyes right where they should be. Help our gaze be fixed on You. May we not look at our own shortcomings or even our own bodies but rather at You and Your glory. May we stand firm so that You can win this victory for us. May our boast not be in ourselves but rather in the work You’ve done for us on the cross. We are simply sinners in need of Your mercy and grace. Lord, we’ve taken our gaze where it shouldn’t be and seen the “wind” and storms of life and think that there’s no hope. But, as You’ve spoken to us through Your Word, we realize that like Peter, we need You to save us. You’re the only One who can fix us! You’re the only One who deserves praise and glory for doing Your work in our lives. Keep our eyes on You, dress us in Your armor, and help us to stand firm to the very end. And may You win the victory for us! Glory to You alone! In Jesus’ powerful and precious Name, AMEN!