Why You Should Get Rid of Stuff from Your Past

Updated on June 21, 2019
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Rev. Margaret Minnicks is an ordained Bible teacher. She writes many articles that are Bible lessons.

Memories | Source

Some people say they want to follow Jesus, yet they keep unnecessary baggage from their past. They hold onto memories of their former selves instead of going to Jesus with a clean slate. Once you commit your life to Jesus, it is best to leave behind all that extra baggage you have.

It is much easier to work in the kingdom of God without being bogged down with baggage on your back. Once you commit your life to do the work of God, you do not need to keep that scrapbook of pictures of old lovers who are now other people's spouses. You no longer need to keep every movie stub, theater program, bulletin, and brochure you accumulated when you were dating many years ago. You don't need to keep the gifts ex-lovers gave you. Those things are pieces of your past. Holding onto them is also holding you back.

Get Rid of Stuff from Your Past

When Jesus comes into your life, there are some things you MUST throw away, destroy, burn, eradicate, and eliminate. That is NOT optional.

Begin to clean out ALL those things that keep you tied to the world and remind you of your past before you were saved. Eliminate those reminders of what existed BEFORE you made Jesus the center of your life and the lover of your soul. You will soon see that once you make a clean sweep of those memories, you will be free to follow Jesus more passionately.

Don't take my word for it. Let's see what the Bible says about getting rid of reminders from your past so you will not be bound to the world.

Yoke of oxen
Yoke of oxen | Source

Elisha Made a Break from His Past

What Elisha did after he was anointed to follow in Elijah's footstep is an excellent example to prove why we should get rid of things from our past before we were called to follow Jesus. Keep in mind however that what you get rid of isn't all bad things at all. They might have been good for you in your former life. In order to move freely to serve God, you must make the conscious decision to get rid of even good things from your past.

According to 1 Kings 19:19-21, Elisha had at least twelve yoke of oxen because that's what the scriptures say he was plowing with. He could have had others that he was not plowing with on the day he was called to follow Elijah. That means he was wealthy with at least 24 oxen because a yoke is a pair.

When Elijah appeared, Elisha left the oxen he was plowing with and said he wanted to kiss his father and his mother and follow Elijah. Elisha took the yoke of oxen and sacrificed them and boiled their flesh. He gave the cooked oxen to his workers to eat. He followed Elijah without having any regrets for what he had done.

There are very good reasons Elisha took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. There are reasons he burned the plowing equipment. There are reasons he cooked the meat and gave it to the people to eat. Let's explore each of those reasons.

[After Elijah anointed Elisha to follow him] 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. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant. (1 Kings 19:21)

In the above scripture, Elisha was in the field plowing with his yoke of oxen along with his workers. This proves that God can call you at any place and any time. You do not have to be in church praying along with a group of other people. Elijah was at work minding his own business when God sent Elijah to anoint him to be a prophet.

Some people say they ran from God when they were called. However, Elisha did not hesitate. He immediately put things in order to follow Elijah. Elisha killed all 24 oxen and burned his plowing equipment. By doing so, he made a break from his past. No longer would he plow with his oxen and equipment again. Without them, he could not return to his life as a wealthy farmer.

When he cooked the meal for the people to eat, it was his way of allowing them to celebrate his joy with him.

Life Application

What does the story about what Elisha did with his oxen and plowing equipment have to do with us today in modern times? While we might not have 24 oxen to sacrifice along with plowing equipment, but the principle remains the same.

The life application is that you must make a break from your past if you want to follow Jesus. You must get rid of something you are holding onto that will hinder you from freely serving God.

Jesus and rich young ruler; painting by Heinrich Hofmann
Jesus and rich young ruler; painting by Heinrich Hofmann | Source

There is a story in the New Testament with a very different ending. It is about a rich young ruler. His story is found in all the synoptic gospels. Matthew 19:16–30, Mark 10:17–31 and Luke 18:18–30 record that the rich young ruler went to Jesus with a request to follow Him.

The young ruler was rejected because unlike Elisha he was hesitant to give up his riches. Jesus told him to sell everything he had and give to the poor, and then follow Him. The young man walked away very sad after hearing the stipulations because he was very wealthy.

How About You?

Are you like Elisha who is willing to give up all you have to follow Jesus? Or are you like the rich young ruler who would rather hold onto what you have instead of giving them up?

Which one are you like?

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