Burning Bridges

Bill Brinkworth

When growing up, I often heard the good advice, “Don’t burn the bridges behind you, in case you have to go back.” The advice meant that if you were quitting a job, leave under good circumstances, in case you had to work there again or if they had to give you a reference. If it was the end of the school year, it would be wise to leave in good standing with all the students in case you had to share classes with them next year. If you were moving out of the neighborhood, it would be good to leave a good impression with your neighbors rather than leaving them with a bad one of you. You never knew if you would bump into them again. I was taught to always try to keep the door open, so that you could always go back or be welcomed if you had to return.

It is good advice – in most cases. One exception is when it applies to living the Christian life. When a person solely trusts Christ for his salvation, he is born again into the family of God. He is a new creature. He is free from the bondage of sin. God does not want him to go back into the same mess he was saved from.

If God saved a person and helped him overcome the sin of lying, God certainly does not want him to go back into the same sin. If God delivered a person from the clutches of a terrible drinking habit, He does not want him back in the same situation. When he saves us and cleans our lives up, He wants us to stay clean from sin that will hurt us. He gives us a second chance.

The only way we can keep from going back into the same sin God delivered us from is to keep away from it. The safest way to protect yourself from going back into the lifestyle God rescued you from is to “burn the bridges” behind you. In this situation, it is good advice to make it so you cannot return to what you once were.

I learned this lesson in many ways when I first was saved. God dealt with me about my sin of not taking proper care of my body by smoking. He convicted my heart to keep from defiling my life with that sin (I Corinthians 3:16-17), but it was too hard for me to quit. I needed His help. God impressed on my heart that if I made it public to my friends and family that I was quitting smoking, it would be somewhat embarrassing to go back on my word. My telling everyone “burnt the bridges behind me”; making it difficult to return to that sin. I did just that, and it helped.

Later, God impressed on me that I needed to stay away from certain friends, as I would follow them into more sin. It was hard just to stop seeing them. God showed me from some Bible passages that my new responsibility as a Christian was to tell my friends how they could be saved. It was hard, but I found that some listened. Others decided that if I was going to live a godly life they would not have anything to do with me (ironic isn’t it; they would be your friend when you did wrong, but not when you did right). This “burnt the bridges” behind those relationships; so I could not go back into the same life of sin I had come from, and could only move forward spiritually.

God loves you so much that He sacrificed His only Son’s (Jesus) life, so that you could spend eternity in heaven. If you trust in Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection for you salvation (Roman 10:9), you are a child of God. He saved you from the punishment of sin. You cannot lose your salvation. It is a gift freely given to you, forever. With this gift comes a new life and a possibility of a new future. Do not go back into the same life you were saved from.
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate …” II Corinthians 6:17

The pull to go back into the same sinful life you were born into is too great for anyone to resist. King David could not resist the temptation of sin. King Solomon could not. Samson could not; nor could Lot’s wife, Moses, Peter, Saul, Delilah, or you. Make it inconvenient for yourself to go back into the same life and habits that you asked God to deliver you from. “Burn the bridges”, so you cannot return to a life of not pleasing or living for God.

“Your character is what you do when no one is watching.”


This article was featured in The Bible View #272.

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