excerpted from Time To Lead (available on Amazon.com)
Break Off Old Relationships
Radical action causes us to look for new anchors.
II Kings 18:4: He (Hezekiah) removed the high places, and broke the images, and cut down the groves, and broke in pieces the brazen serpent that Moses had made (during a time of destruction as a focal point): for in those days the children of Israel burned incense to it (turned the one use object into a sort of a god): and he called it Nehushtan (piece of brass).
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
Base Living:Human nature leans toward base living. As much as we would like to complement our humanity, it simply will decay into animalistic expression left unchecked. Values and character are built over time and circumstance. Truth, honesty, courage, and compassion in a community do not come from standing on the corner and watching. They come from purposeful and determined action of many individuals over time.
Urgency: Hezekiah in his young heart knew action had to be taken. He sensed the urgency of the moment and moved off of the sidewalk of people watching. Hezekiah seized the day throughout his life. At this trend-setting juncture, he established a position of “no retreat” by tearing out the places to which people could retreat.
Disequilibrium: Creating disequilibrium for those caught in a vacuum of disillusionment and distortion of vision can be a necessity. When wanting to move forward into new territory, it is many times absolutely necessary to take away reminders of a destructive past. Radical action causes us to look for new anchors. Even a good thing in the brass serpent, which God meant for good when it was created, can become an evil reminder and a draw backwards instead of forward.
Hezekiah broke off old relationships that pointed the wrong direction in establishing and living in greatness before God with the people.
Ugandan Change Agent: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni stood against the curve. After discovering a third of his army officers were HIV positive, he determined to make a stand. The President started a hard and loud program focusing on faithfulness and sexual purity. It was against the cultural curve. The nation had a culture of free sexual activity with multiple partners. He called for cultural change as an answer. The results were astounding. HIV percentages dropped 15% over a decade.
There have been many detractors to his actions. But he took them. He stood against the curve and called for a break with old relationships at a national and individual level.
Respond with Action: What symbols of antiquity cause your vision to look backwards? What about the people with whom you partner? What ideas are anchored in the past but not the future? What keeps character tied to a post?
Pray with Faith: These are challenging words, Lord of Life. You have plans for me to succeed and prosper in all I do. You have focus on my future. There are many around me waiting on my action. Deliver me from the death of apathy. Deliver me from the shroud of inaction. Cause me to come to Your fresh and living waters. Cause me to see those obstacles that bind me and those around me to the past. Birth this greatness in me, Father. I commit to see life in a new light. Help me to purge the distractions that draw me backwards.