The Process of Transition – Reforming The Heart For Growth
By Tavares D. Robinson
Detachment is not just a modern-day move that God recently started to initiate. It has been a stage that many, even in Scripture, had to undergo. God has detached people from their culture, from situations they have created, and even from their perceptions.
DETACHING US FROM WHAT WE HAVE KNOWN
God started the detachment process for Peter and his brother Andrew in Matthew 4:19–20, where he commands them to “‘Come, follow me … and I will make you fishers of men.’ At once they left their nets and followed him.” Jesus approaches Jewish men who have responsibilities and tells them in so many words to drop all they have known and follow behind him. In the Greek, the word for “drop” or “left” is aphiēmi. It means to divorce, to abandon, to go away and leave something behind. Jesus was telling these disciples to disconnect and disengage themselves when loyalty was all they knew. They had to be sure that Christ was the Messiah to forsake family in order to follow him. When God initiates transition, he is going to call us out of something that would bring us pain. He is closing a door that we thought would remain open. He will cut people loose who we thought would be riding with us forever. And all of that will require us to surrender our will and trust him.
Peter and Andrew weren’t the only two who were detached from what they were so accustomed to. John and his brother James also had to experience the daunting task of detachment in Mark 1:19–20. The call to follow Christ demanded that they forsake their father and the fishing business, which was their source of income. Detachment shook the children of Israel, as well. This crowd could never fully transition with God because they struggled to let go of their past in Egypt. The Bible accounts describe how the children of Israel always wanted to go back to slavery whenever circumstances transpired that they weren’t expecting (Exod. 16:3; 17:3; Num. 14:3). Detachment moved them to a place of having to trust God, something they didn’t have to do in a controlled environment in Egypt. Yes, they were being beaten, and even treated unjustly, but the familiarity is all they knew and thus, the harsh treatment was easier to handle versus trusting God for what they could not see (Exod. 1:1–22; 5:1–23). They failed to realize that when someone is a slave to anything other than God’s will, that person will be disqualified for the promise.
We see this truth in the life of Moses, the one called to deliver the children of Israel from Egypt. Forty years prior, Moses attempted to be Israel’s deliverer in his own timing, through his own pride and ambitions, and failed (Exod. 2:11– 15; Acts 7:17–36). Forty years later, God sent him back to the Israelites broken and humbled. Because of God’s covenant with Israel, God did not allow the “son of Pharaoh” to deliver his people. Later, a shepherd—and a servant of God—would be their deliverer, but not without paying a great price.