Disclaimer: This post may not pertain to all. But I know there are some out there who experience certain things when they return to whatever their familiar place is. Some may not struggle with things they have been delivered from, but there are some who do. There could just be some who are experiencing rejection and opposition from those around them. Whatever category you fall in, I pray that this post encourages you to continue to be a light in whatever environment or situation you may be in or may find yourself in later.
“And it came to pass, that when Jesus had finished these parables, he departed thence. And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in the synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? “Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.”
—Matthew 13:53-58 KJV
This is such an interesting passage of Scripture. Jesus, the Son of God, wasn’t even honored in His hometown. Many saw Him just as the carpenter’s son, when in fact He was God in the flesh who came to save mankind. He had a message of salvation to present, yet so many rejected Him because they didn’t see Him for who He is—Savior of the world. Because the people didn’t see Him for who He really is, He wasn’t able to do as many miracles there. How unfortunate?
“The residents of Jesus’ hometown had known Jesus since He was a young child and were acquainted with His family; they could not bring themselves to believe in His message. They were too close to the situation. Jesus had come to them as a prophet, one who challenged them to respond to unpopular spiritual truth. They did not listen to His timeless message because they could not see beyond the man.”
(Taken from the Life Application Study Bible p. 1571 in reference to Matthew 13:55)
I went back home (Mississippi) for a week. Home for me is a place of comfort and oftentimes a place that I long to get away from. But this visit was different. My initial visit was set for four days instead of seven. Those extra days helped me prepare my heart and mind for what was hiding in the darkness. You know, those traps that the enemy was trying to set in order to get me to fall. It never fails, every time I return home, something comes up. Those spirits begin to work and it’s a fight to stay in the will of God. As I mentioned before, this is a place where I spent most of my time in sin. I guess you can say it is my Egypt.
During the visit, I spent most of my visit at my grandparents’ house. They live in the country and I love it. No busy streets, just peace and quiet and the beautiful songs of nature. I had time to read the Word, pray, and study. Normally when I go home, I’m always on the go and there is little time in the Word and in prayer. But the sweetness of waking up with a heart set on the Word was so satisfying. I was so eager to wake up and get in the Word.
The first couple of days, I had the house to myself while my grandparents went to work and the kids were with other family members. It was such a beautiful time. As I meditated on the Word of God, it gave me strength to go forward. I had such an overwhelming sense of peace and joy. It was amazing!
On the fourth of July, I went down to my dad’s. We had family coming in from out of town and my aunts were going to be there and I didn’t want to miss seeing them. Funny thing is, when I got there, I felt a little out of place. I went into the house and sat for a few minutes. I was a little uncomfortable. I went to my truck and sat in there for about forty-five minutes. I tried to wrap my mind around what was happening and I asked God for strength. When most of the guests had arrived, I went back in the house. The music was playing and it was songs that I used to rock to back in the day. Songs like Knuck if you Buck. I tried to drown the music out the best way I could. Now for those of you who don’t think there is anything wrong with listening to certain music, I will say this: our conviction might be different but I know what can happen when I listen to music that only gratifies the flesh. So, I steer away from it. And God was preparing me for that moment to continue to be a light and to not engage in anything that would cause those around me to question my walk.
Plots in Familiar Places: Diversion
When I returned to my grandparents’ house that night, I received an inbox from someone from my past that I disconnected from a year prior. We aren’t friends on Facebook, so it is obvious that he has been watching my page.
Don’t turn back to something God has delivered you from. Sweet hellos could result in you stepping outside the will of God. You never know what the enemy has planned against you and it is best to take precaution when someone from your past spontaneously pops up out of nowhere. Be not ignorant of the enemy’s devices. Remember what Proverbs 26:11 says: As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly. Stay focused. Cut off anything or anyone who could cause you to sin. You have no time to be outside the will of God. Stay focused.
Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. —Proverbs 4:25
Not only that, I searched Thumbtack to find someone to render a service that I need for my home. One of the contractors responded and my mouth dropped when I realized who it was. Another person from my past. You see that? Those devils were trying their best. I had spent most of my time focusing on God and intentionally refraining from anything that could affect my relationship with Him.
When you’re in a familiar place, don’t allow the plots of the enemy to steer you off course.
Fast forward: On the morning of July 5th as I sat on the bed after eating breakfast, the words “a light in familiar places” came to mind. I knew then that the Lord was trying to tell me something. I wrote the following paragraphs in my notebook:
My familiar place is HOME! When I’m here, I have to make sure I’m guarded. Why? This is the place where I found myself lost, deep in sin, and trying to fit in with the IN-crowd. So when I come back to this familiar place, I have to make sure I’m guarded so that I don’t dibble and dabble in things I know I shouldn’t get involved in. People are always watching, whether we realize it or not and we should be careful not to lose our witness.
In 2011, my eyes were opened to the Truth. I was no longer living in my hometown. I attended Bible study on a Thursday with a couple of friends of mine. On that night I accepted God’s invitation of salvation and began cultivating a relationship with Him. I had so much joy after receiving such a precious gift that I began sharing the Good News with others.
The thing is, sometimes returning home isn’t at all exciting. Sometimes people will look at you as if you are the same person, especially when it’s people that are close to you and who knew you when you were deep in sin.
Assignments in Familiar Places
In Exodus 1 we see the bondage and oppression of God’s people. God heard their cry and was ready to move on their behalf. In Exodus 2, we see the very person that God used to deliver the nation of Israel. We see that Moses is saved during a great genocide. His parents knew there was something “special” about him, so they hid him for 3 months and when they could hide him no longer, they secured a basket for him and sent him down the Nile. Even though he was found by Pharaoh’s daughter, he was still brought up in the home of his family, until he was weaned. He witnessed the hardship of his people and wanted to deliver them. But his method wasn’t the right one and his his deed landed him in the wilderness for forty years.
“I just want to help my people but they don’t see what I’m doing.” Can you picture Moses and Jesus speaking those words? Maybe this has been the cry of your heart but those that you want to see delivered, don’t identify with what is on the inside of you. What do you do? You continue to be a light regardless. You continue to pray for them. You continue to shine regardless of the rejection and opposition. Continue to plant seeds.
God could be preparing you to go back to deliver a message to them. Have a heart that wants to see them delivered and healed. Don’t react like Jonah, but go forth desiring to see God move in the hearts and lives of those who are lost, captive, and living in darkness.
Here is something to ponder! What is your familiar place? It could be a place where you once resided and later departed from. Or it could be an environment, just whatever you can relate to as “familiar”.
In those familiar places, people may identify you by your past sins and every time your name is mentioned, they may speak of the wrong you did. In a situation like this or one similar, you should continue to shine your light. Your new life should bear witness of your decision to follow Christ, even if others can’t identify with the NEW you! Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
I visited a good friend of mine that I have known for years. She is really experiencing opposition in her hometown. The enemy is really working against what God has called her to do. But even in the midst of the opposition, God is still God and He is good. He is still providing and proving Himself to be faithful.
The enemy will try to stop you from walking in purpose. He will bring confusion, opposition, and others things to discourage believers from the call that is on their lives. Take to heart what the Word of God says: Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:6). The enemy can’t stop what God is doing in your life. Only you can give him that power. Don’t be passive. Stay guarded and fight.
I couldn’t help but to recall the stories of Jesus and Moses and how they returned to familiar places to fulfill an assignment and the opposition they experienced. Yet, they went forward in what God called them to do. You, too, can do the same. You may find yourself in a situation like Jesus, where those around you don’t identify with what is on the inside of you. Or you may be in a situation like Moses, where the people prefer bondage over freedom and they bicker and murmur about going forward. Whatever the case, know your assignment. Have confident in God and what He has called you to do. Move forward in His strength regardless.
When you receive Jesus, you begin the process of becoming more and more like Him. You learn of Him by His Holy Spirit. You begin doing things that are in accordance with His character and Word. You no longer follow the dictates of your flesh but now you follow the Spirit. Just as Moses was saved from death, so were you. You were called for such a time as this. I believe that Moses’ eyes were opened as he looked out among his brethren. He saw the injustice they were experiencing and he wanted to do something about it. He responded in a way that wasn’t right and this caused him to flee to the desert. When our eyes are opened to the Truth around us, sometimes our response is to do something about it, and sometimes without even thinking before responding, just as Moses did. Moses killed an Egyptian and fled to the wilderness. It was there in the wilderness that God began to prepare him, even though he may not have realized it. So one day, Moses saw a bush engulfed in flames but it wasn’t burning up. God certainly had his attention. So he moved closer to get a look at the bush and he marveled that it wasn’t burned up by the fire. After getting his attention, God could now speak to him. This is when he was given the instructions of his assignment. Moses really thought he wasn’t qualified for the job, but God knew he was and knew he would be the one to deliver His people.
The goal is to live life in accordance to the Word of God so that others will desire to follow God and walk into the Promised Land—a land flowing with milk and honey.
Encouragement for those who are in familiar places:
The enemy will do whatever he can to get you off course so that others can mock you. He wants to taint your witness. God has given you everything you need to stand. You just have to access those tools and put on your armor every day. Remember, you weren’t called to fit in. If you are called to be a light, you want to shine in those familiar places that may be dark. You don’t want your light to be dimmed because you choose to blend in. Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Someone needs to see that you are living a righteous lifestyle and that you are living to please God and not follow the standards of the world. There could be someone out there who is struggling to stay on the straight and narrow and just by seeing you could bring that person hope and encourage them in their walk. This journey gets hard at times and you may have to walk alone, face rejection and opposition, but walk knowing that God has a reward for your willingness to follow Him at any cost. There is a reward for your faithfulness.
I’m rooting for you! Continue to be a light in those familiar and dark places!
God bless you!