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Rid Yourself of Past Attachments

Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.


Some people are not succeeding now because they are holding on to what they were attached to in their past. The biblical prophet Elisha is a great example of how to rid yourself of past attachments.

About Elisha

According to the Bible, Elisha was a disciple and protégé of Elijah. Before he was taken up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah gave Elisha a double portion of his power.

At the time, Elisha was a wealthy land owner with at least 24 oxen and many workers.

The Call of Elisha

The call of Elisha is found in 1 Kings 19:19-21. He did not call himself. He was not called by his mentor. God commanded Elijah to anoint him as his successor to become a prophet. Elijah, who had been hiding out from Jezebel in the cave on Mount Horeb, set out to find Elisha to fulfill God's command.

Elisha was carrying out his daily activities unaware that his life was about to change. Elisha and his workers were plowing with twelve yoke of oxen. A yoke means "a pair." That means there were 24 oxen in the field. Even though he was the boss, Elisha was plowing with a pair of oxen himself.

As soon as Elijah found Elisha, the prophet went up to the farmer and threw his cloak around him. Elisha didn't question Elijah or wonder what was going on. Elisha knew his life was about to change.

Therefore, Elisha immediately did the following things showing he was getting rid of attachments to his past.

  • Elisha slaughtered his oxen.
  • Elisha burned the wooden plows.
  • The new prophet fed the people oxen meat.

Elisha 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. (1 Kings 19:21)

Explanation of What Elisha Did

Elisha slaughtered his oxen. The prophet slaughter not some of his oxen. He slaughtered all 24 of them. That meant he would not go back to plowing another field. In other words, he gave up his farming business.

Elisha burned the wooden plows. Elisha burned his wooden plowing equipment to cook the meat from his oxen.

The new prophet fed meat to his workers. Meat was eaten only on special occasions. This was a special occasion to celebrate. Instead of sending the now unemployed workers home, Elisha prepared a feast to share with them.

All the above activities were signs that Elisha was making a transition in his life. These things were done before the workers' own eyes to let them know Elisha was serious about his new identity and would not be returning to his former life.


If you want to be successful in your calling, you must get rid of things that represent your past life. What you do might not be as dramatic as what Elisha did, but you should do something to indicate a break from your past. Don't hold onto anything that keeps you attached to what you used to do.

Don't hold on to things just in case you have to return to your former life. Elisha made sure he didn't have the equipment to continue doing what he had been doing for many years. In order to do effective ministry the way God wants you to do it, you should get rid of any articles, items, objects, and memorabilia that keep you attached to former things before God called you to do kingdom work. It is better not to take old things into your new calling because they might hinder the work God has planned for you to do. In other words, get rid of all things that will tempt you to return to your former life.

Notice that Elisha burned his plowing equipment to make sure he would never plow again. You should do something similar. If you give away the paraphernalia from your past, you will know where it is, and you could ask for it back later. If you put those things in the back of your closet, in the basement, or in the attic, they will still be accessible to you.

Don't hold on to anything as a keepsake of the former you. Get rid of them right now. You will not be able to do effective ministry until you make a clean break from what you used to do.


Go ahead and do the following things metaphorically.

  • Slaughter all your oxen. Yes, all of them!
  • Burn your wooden plowing equipment.
  • Celebrate your new identity and transition with others so they will keep you accountable.
  • Get busy with new tools for your new assignment.

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