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Turning Your Back - Encouragement Café - April 16

Turning Your Back
 By Joan Walker Hahn

“But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God.”  Ruth 1:16 NIV

The story of Ruth and Naomi has always been one of my favorite stories from the Bible.  The message of Boaz being Ruth’s kinsman redeemer is a direct portrayal of Christ being our Redeemer.  It’s a beautiful love story. 

But the only way Boaz was able to be Ruth’s kinsman redeemer was because Ruth had turned her back on her homeland, her family and all that was familiar to her.  She had chosen to stay with her mother-in-law and move to a foreign country.  She had chosen to follow the God of Naomi.

I never had to make the choice to leave my family in order to follow Christ.  But some have.  Whether we’ve been blessed to have always lived in a Godly home or not, we still have to make decisions every day as to whether or not to follow Christ.

Before dismissing the idea and thinking to yourself, “Yeah, yeah, I’ve done that,” stop and really think about it.

Ruth completely separated herself from her home country.  More than likely she never saw her family and friends again.  Have we separated ourselves from the world?  Do we live according to the lifestyle revealed to us in God’s Word, or do we still live according to the ways of the world? 

Are there people in our life that we need to stay away from in order to live the Christian life?  Is our life with God really different than the lives of those who do not profess Christ as their Lord?

Ruth chose to worship the God of Naomi, putting aside the idols and gods that were part of her life before.

What idols are we holding on to? Do we pursue pleasure and spend time doing what we want to do more than we spend time with God?

Ruth received the love of the one who could redeem her.  Have we received the love that God is offering us?  Again, before we answer the question lightly and think, “Of course I have,” stop and think.  When we receive the love God offers us, it should be just like the bride that receives the love of her groom and commits herself to him and him only.  We are to cleave to God with all our hearts. 

Have we given our love to something else more than to the Lord?  It may be easy to put God in front of the things we consider worldly.  But what about the things that God calls good? Like our family and friends? God is to be above all others and all things.

I’m burdened that we, as believers in Christ, take our commitment too lightly.  I know I have many times.  We have so much at our fingertips and so many things to grab our attention.

Yes, we have commitments to work, to care for our families and homes.  But we should put as much effort into worshipping the One who gave us all we have, as we spend time enjoying those things.

No, we can’t spend every moment on our knees in prayer and praise.  But think about the love story.  Ruth was aware of Boaz’s presence even while she gleaned in the field.  He made sure that she was watched over as she worked.  We can be aware of God’s presence each moment of the day.  We can be attentive to His voice even as we go about our daily routines. 

Living a life with the Lord is the most beautiful love story ever!  We need to stop and really think about the relationship we have with Christ.  We ought to be willing to turn our backs away from everything in order to follow Him.  Are we living that kind of love story?

Heavenly Father, Thank You for sending Your Son to be my Redeemer!  Help me to really examine my heart to make sure I am putting Christ first in everything.  If there are things I need to turn my back on, please reveal it to me.  I want to be completely committed to living this life of love with You!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

“Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word.”  Psalm 119:37 NIV

© 2019 by Joan Walker Hahn.  All rights reserved.

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Originally published Tuesday, 16 April 2024.