Wednesday, October 2, 2013

"The Familiar"

When the Lord is trying to do a "new thing" in our lives-- take us to a new place, a new level of glory, a greater level of faith, transition us from one place spiritually (or physically)-- if we aren't careful we will turn around during the process and try to go back to the "familiar". This is the greatest temptation that we face when transitioning from where we have been to where we are going. 
The Israelites faced this temptation. They were delivered out of Egypt and on their way to the Promised Land. During the transition and journey from captivity to freedom, from living in a foreign land to living in their own land, from serving under Pharaoh to being led by God, they began to be tempted to go back to the familiar-- back to the slavery and bondage of Egypt. Peter did the same thing. After the crucifixion, resurrection, and Jesus' appearance to His disciples we hear the words of Peter-- "I go a fishing". He was tempted to go back to the familiar-- the life of a fisherman. 
When we are in transition, when the Lord is taking us from one place to another (whether physically or spiritually), when we are getting closer to fulfilling His plan for our lives, if we aren't careful we will be tempted to go back to the familiar. The familiar is that place of old habits, old attitudes, old mindsets, old patterns. It is the temptation to handle situations the way we once did. For example-- if you use to handle a situation by getting angry, when you find yourself in that same situation, or one similar, you will be tempted to handle it in the same old way. If you used to run to a certain habit- whether that habit was going to a drug of choice, having a pity party, running from the conflict, holding a grudge, picking up an offense, etc.- you will find yourself trying to do the same thing now. There will be a temptation to revert back to doing what you used to do and handling it the way you used to handle it-- that is the place of the familiar. 
The familiar place is a comfortable place. It is a place of security. It is a place where we are in "control". That is why this is such a strong temptation and one many give in to. It is also one of the least recognizable temptations-- it is so easy to do it because we are used to doing it-- therefore, it "feels" so right. 
We all are tempted to go back to the familiar. None of us are exempt. Even pastors/ministers are tempted to go back to the familiar. When the Spirit is moving in church trying to take the service in a different direction, pastors/ministers will often quench the Spirit by doing things in the same familiar (ritualistic) manner as they always do. All Christians are tempted to go back to the familiar from time to time. I wonder how many times Joseph longed for the familiarity of home during his transition into God's plan?
Have a great day. When in transition, we must guard against the temptation to return to the familiar.
For further reading:
Exodus 14:1-12
John 21:1-3
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Coffee Break is a morning devotional written by Lorraine Ezell
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