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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Beware Attachments

I have been participating in a Bible study on the book of Jonah. As I was contemplating why Jonah acted the way he did, I was startled to see a very powerful enemy stronghold - attachments.

Jonah was a strong spiritual man. He could hear God clearly and discerned it was God speaking to him. He knew God well enough to know that God was compassionate and merciful. He knew God would relent of the judgment he had pronounced if Nineveh repented. But Jonah had an enemy stronghold working in his life that was so strong it caused him to leave the path of life and choose the path of death.

Jonah was an Israelite. He had a strong attachment with the other people of Israel. Nineveh was the capital city of Israel’s enemy. Warning Nineveh of judgment when he understood that God would withhold that judgment if Nineveh repented conflicted with the attachment Jonah had. Jonah held his attachment over his submission to God.

We have attachment issues today. Like Jonah, we have attachments to our tribe - our church, employer, co-workers, classmates, etc.. Those attachments can be as strong in our lives as they were in Jonah’s - causing us to leave the path of life rather than be in submission to God.

As I contemplated this I saw the possibility of hidden attachments. A young man or young woman will frequently envision what their wife or husband will be like - how they will look, how they will act, how they will love them. This can become a hidden attachment. The young man or young woman can become strongly attached to their idea of their mate. When they meet a young woman or young man, they measure them against their attachment: do they fit? How much do they need to change to fit? Conflicts occur around the differences between the prospective mate and the idea of what they would be like. This gets complicated further when we add our idea of how life submitted to God - doing his will - will be like.

Attachments are not always bad. Faith works in a way much like a hidden attachment: we form a vision of the answered prayer and attach to it.

We must discern our attachments and submit them to God. We must give up and break all corrupt attachments.

There are a few scripture verses that speak of attachments and their strength.

Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. (Mark 10:29-30)

Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. (Matthew 10:37, 39)
Houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, lands are the kind of things involved in strong attachments. Those who overcome the attachments and leave them receive eternal life.

The rich young ruler was attached to his great possessions. Even though Jesus told him that leaving them would result in eternal life, he could not leave them. He chose his attachments over eternal life. How strong is that?