Abandoning the Old Life
Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” John 6:10
When my wife and I got married, it was necessary to leave behind my old life. I couldn’t enter into a normal marriage relationship while still living with my medical school roommate in our dumpy basement apartment. To start a new life together, I had to abandon my old way of living.
This was easy with marriage. It’s not always so simple though to leave behind the old life, and often, we cling to it, despite wanting the new one. Many of us have tried to out-exercise a bad diet. We add the good – exercise – but we continue the old – eating junk – and find that we can easily out-eat our exercise regimen.
I’ve seen addicts attend recovery meetings while high, trying in vain to share some important recovery message. They’ve not quit using, but they hope they can do enough good to perhaps outweigh the bad.
We cannot, however, enjoy the new life without abandoning the old one.
Today’s passage – the feeding of the 5,000 – illustrates this. In the story, a large crowd followed Jesus into the middle of nowhere. When it came time to eat, the crowd was hungry, but the disciples had only some bread and a couple fish. Jesus told them all to sit though, as if to prepare to eat. I imagine that someone may have wandered off at this point. There’s obviously no food here. If I want to eat, I must go feed myself. Anyone who left, of course, missed out on Jesus’ miracle. To see God work, the crowd had to first obey Christ, even though it probably seemed absurd at the time.
This is our daily challenge. If we want the new life, we must abandon the old way of doing things. Unfortunately, this is rarely easy. Many of us have tried to simply let go of something, only to find that thing has its claws sunk deeply into us. Gluttony, pride, anger, lust, greed, addiction, and selfishness are not simply walked away from when we’ve spent a lifetime indulging in those things.
Daily, it’s our challenge to do whatever it takes to abandon the old way life if we want to live in the new one. Like the crowd in today’s passage, if we want to see God work, we must stop running and we must sit down, waiting on him.