Burning the Past

Christ Community Church

Connections Devotional

“Connecting the riches of Christ with the realities of life.”

1 Kings 19:21
So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.

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I am currently reading a book by Erwin McManus called “The Last Arrow.”

It’s a book about not leaving anything for the next life.  And that we should not underestimate how much God wants to do through our lives.  In other words, don’t settle for mediocrity when it comes to serving God.

One of the stories he mentions is one that I had not heard in a long time.  While it’s an Old Testament Story, it has New Testament application, especially when it comes to following Jesus as His disciple.  

The setting in 1 Kings 19 shortly after Elijah had fled into the desert to escape Jezebel, who wanted to kill him after Elijah had killed the prophets of Baal following a contest to see which God was greater.  The LORD won, obviously, but it stirred up trouble for Elijah and he fled into the desert where God called to him to go to Damascus.  A short time later he meets Elisha, who when called to succeed Elijah, immediately burns his plow and has a barbecue with his oxen which he promptly feeds to those around him. 

There was nothing wrong with being a farmer.  But when Elisha was called he understood it meant that he had to give up his present occupation and follow God’s call on his life. 

McManus writes a chapter in the book called “Set your past on fire.”  There are times when we need “to burn everything in our past that doesn’t belong in our future.”  This does not mean we become spiritual arsonists and simply burn everything.  “There are things and even people you will have to leave behind if you are going to keep moving forward.  What’s wonderful is that you never have to leave behind the people whom you love and are for you.  “Quite often the resources of the past provide the material to build the future, but you have to leave behind those things that you love and even people you care about who would keep you trapped in the past and would rob from you the future God has for you.”  

The caution here is that we not burn bridges.  Bridges are representative of people, and we may need those relationships in the future.

But there are things we are called to burn if we are to follow God.  The addict, and alcoholic will need to change their friends, maybe cut themselves off from unhealthy family situations, or even move someplace that is a better environment.  Great wisdom and care is needed when considering burning the things of the past that will interfere with our future.  

Elijah’s decisiveness is particularly striking.  He doesn’t pray about it, or seek counsel on what he should do.  He knows what he needs to do and he does it. 


I pray that when God calls you to serve him, no matter what it is, you will have the courage to burn the things of your past that will hinder you from obeying God’s call on your life.  

Luke 14:26-27 – 26“If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even their own life—such a person cannot be my disciple. 27And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. 

I hope your time in prayer and Scripture reading is blessing you!  Remember this is not a “check off” item.  Relax and enjoy!


The 5x5x5 is meant to help you intentionally connect with God.

Remember, I want to hear how God is blessing this time.  So as much as you feel comfortable please share what the Lord is doing in you and through you as you intentionally seek him.


Pastor Jeff


5 min a day in prayer
5 min a day in the Word
5 days a week



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