January 22, 2013

“Remember Lot’s wife.  Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.” Luke 17:32-33

Shin Dong-hyuk grew up in a North Korean prison camp.  He was not serving a term in that camp due to crimes that he had committed.  He was born there.  He was serving a term called “three generations of punishment”.  This is a punishment for political prisoners in which parent, children, and grandchildren, serve life prison terms in these forced labor camps.

The only existence that Shin knew was that of the bleakness of Camp 14.

Shin told how he did not know there was a world outside the prison wires.  He did not know that the world was flat, round or square.  He did not know there was a United States of America or other countries.  All he knew was his existence of perpetual work in forced-labor factories, fields, or mines.  The only life he had ever known was one of constant hunger and exposure. A life where fellow prisoners were executed for “offences” such as hoarding a few kernels of corn and where inmates were starved to make them “repent”. It was a place where he was tortured at the age of 13 for his mother and brother being accused of trying to escape.

That was his life.  He said: “I just thought that those people who carry guns were born to carry guns and prisoners like me were born as prisoners.”

However, Shin’s existence changed in January 2005.  He and another inmate were gathering wood in a remote part of the camp that was near the electrified fence.  Shin’s partner made it to the fence first but was electrocuted as he pulled it down to escape.  Shin escaped that camp by crawling over the back of his dead partner.

When Shin got to the other side of the fence, he did not linger.  There were no nostalgic memories for him to reminisce over at the edge of that camp perimeter.  He ran.  He fled with all of his heart to escape the certain death that awaited him if he were caught.

Consider if Shin’s existence had not be so bleak.  What if Camp 14 had not been the residence of misery but a city of luxury?  What if the prison guards carried candy rather than guns?  What if those things that the prison had given to Shin were good, the food was cuisine, what he did was comfortable?  What if there was no torture?  What if all that he had ever known was a prison that fed his desires?  Would he have fled such a place?  Would he have crawled over a dead body to get away from such a place?

I don’t think that he would have been pressed to flee a city of luxury, particularly if that is all he had ever known.

The desire to linger at the edge of such a city would tempt us all.  There would be only one onus to leave, self-preservation.  The only reason any of us would flee a city of luxury would be if that place was certain death.  That would make you flee.  The imminence of that destruction would cause us to run and not look back.  Lot and his family were told to flee Sodom because its destruction was imminent.  Sodom was a city of craven luxuries.  That city was full of things that they loved and it was soon going to be destroyed.

Jonathan Edwards in his sermon, “The Folly of Looking Back in Fleeing Out of Sodom”, points out that “the chief reason also why Lot was directed to make such haste, and not to look behind; because his fleeing out of Sodom was designed on purpose to be a type of fleeing from that state of sin and misery which we naturally are.”

This world that we reside in is destined for a more terrible destruction than Sodom.  That is the initial reason for anyone to turn their back on this world we live in and flee from it to Christ.  They don’t know anything better than this world.  The tendency to linger at the perimeter is enticing.  However, lingering at the perimeter of this world is very risky.  No one knows the number of their days.  No one knows the time of the Lord’s return.  Those who linger and long for this world are in danger of being suddenly overtaken and seized with destruction.

Therefore, we should all make haste to get far away from the attachments of that former life.  We should flee those entanglements like our lives depend upon it because it does.

The reality is that the further away from the perimeter of this world’s entanglement that you get the more you will realize that there is a much better world in Christ Jesus.  You will realize that you have given up nothing.  The further away you get the more you will see this world for what it really is, a prison.  Those escaping this world are giving up bondage of a prison of sin for the un-estimable treasure of Christ.  It is like Shin escaping his prison.  He has now experienced a world that far surpasses Camp 14.

However, no one will ever be able to see or appreciate the treasures of Christ until they flee.  Those who linger on the perimeter will continue to be blinded by that prison of luxury.  They will not appreciate the sacrifice that Christ has given – the laying of his own life across the prison wires of this world to allow us to crawl across his back to eternal life.

Jonathan Edwards:

“Therefore it is foolish for any who are fleeing out of Sodom to hanker any more after them; for when they are burnt up, what good can they do? And is it worth the while for us to return back for the sake of a moment’s enjoyment of them, before they are burnt, and so expose ourselves to be burnt up with them?”

I have heard some speak of their former lives of sins with what appear to be fond memories.  I have seen people struggle with their affections for a life prior to their profession.  I can understand their affinity for this world but it is like Lot’s wife lingering outside of Sodom.

We need to understand the dangers of lingering over those reminiscing thoughts.  What are you trying to preserve?  We will never know the greater treasures that await us in Christ until we flee.  It is when we lose our lives that we will actually keep it.  It is when we flee for fear of our own destruction that a miraculous new life in Christ begins.  It is in that new life that we will see the reality of this world as a prison camp full of misery and death that it really is.

That is what we are giving up; we are giving up only that which will be destroyed and lost.  It you try to preserve that, then you will surely lose it.

Therefore, remember Lot’s wife and flee; linger no more.

PRAYER: Lord, thank you saving me from certain destruction.  Thank you for sending your Son to condemn sin in the flesh.  Thank you for the cross and freeing me from bondage.  Lord, forgive me for lingering at the edge of this world.  Forgive me for preserving little morsels of this world.  Father, please continue to give me the urgency of flight from this world.  Give me a heart that desires you more than anything else that the world may entice me with.  Open my eyes to see this world for what it really is.  Give me a heart that appreciates what you have done.  Amen


  1. I have always loved this text, but especially since reading E Stanley Jones comments on it. If you have never read the writings of this great missionary to India, you should try it. It is rich in devotional thought. Let me know what you think.

    • Thank you for the heads up. I have not read about him. Do you have a book that you would recommend?

  2. […] LINGER NO MORE – Jan. 22 (boyslumber.wordpress.com) […]

    • thanks for the link.

  3. What an incredible message of the Truth. Thank you so much. We need to read this often and remind ourselves of the urgency of not falling into wordly traps which glitter with enticing gold. Jesus is the only Way of escape. Thank you also for your encouraging “like” on my blog.

    • Amen! It is so important to live in an intentional manner. There are so many things that can get s distracted.
      I really like your poetry; I hope that you have a new one soon.
      God Bless!

  4. […] LINGER NO MORE – Jan. 22 (boyslumber.wordpress.com) […]

  5. JD, thanks for dropping by my site. I couldnt be more thankful discovering the wealth of wisdom that God has placed in you through your posts. This one’s very real to our family – there were a lot of decisions that my husband has made over the years that brought us out of our comfort zones. I especially love this story (Lot and wife)as I always tell myself as a wife that i certainly don’t want to become pillar of salt! Wives, all the more , should be prayerful for every decision that their husband makes.

    • Amen! Us husbands are in a woeful place without the prayer and support of our wives.
      God Bless!

  6. Wow…what a story…I have thought about reading Escape from Camp 14, now I really want to read it. What a story…and what a point it makes about not lingering you used as a illustration of Christian truth.

    • I would really like to read more about it also. Is that the title of a book about it?

      • Yes that is the title of the book I believe

  7. I think Lot’s wife just had her kitchen remodeled … sorry… my mind wanders much …yep… I think a brand new kitchen would have done me in… come to think of it … there many things that try to draw me back to my old life … it takes a renewed mind and the Holy Spirit to resist … sometimes the voices of the past still try to get a hold of me… I am tempted to follow them into condemning pits… they try to paralyze me and render me ineffective … How gracious of our God to be so patient and who continually draws us with an everlasting loving-kindness … away … out of our pits of despair and condemnation … away from His wrath toward Christ … thanks for the great reminder!

    • Amen!

  8. I am so thankful that God helped me to see the way out of the prison of this world. I was there lingering for years. Now I hate it, and do not want to look back. My scars are enough and the LOVE of God has become my focus and my passion. But I can see how so many would , at times, remember what they think of as “fond memories”, for satan would want that thought to draw us back again to that city of “luxury” that is only a city of deception and destruction.

    I have a prodigal who has been drawn back and I pray that he does not burn up with them when it is destroyed. My heart breaks for him. I pray for God to enlighten him, through HIS mercy, so that he will RUN, FLEE and no longer know any fond memories of that world.

    Thank you for posting this. I find it Spiritually strengthening to me.

    My God continue to use it in many lives.

    • I have been praying for your prodigal. My heart breaks with yours. We have an incredible God who can soften the hardest of hearts. May He work mightily to draw him to His Son. It makes me very gratiful in God showing us incredible mercy in giving us more time for the lost to come to salvation.
      God Bless!

  9. JD, this is an awesome message. This past weekend I have had an opportunity to reach out to a self professed atheist.

    I hope to have an opportunity to share this article with him. I pray God can open our eyes to see the wretchedness of sin and the glory of His Son.

    Praise God for your words.


    • Kevin – I just prayed for you and your friend. May the Lord richly bless you as you are sharing the good news of His Son. I pray that the Lord with prepare and draw the heart of the person you are sharing with, that he will be softened to receive the greatest treasure ever. God bless you for your faithfulness. Keep proclaiming the Truth.

      • Amen, brother…

  10. […] Read the rest of the message HERE […]

    • Thanks for the reblogged. It is very much appreciated.

  11. I’m sorry I tried to reblog this to Words of Life and it went to a different blog. I’ll have to do it manually… I’ll get the hang of this someday.

  12. Reblogged this on Rosemary, Lavender and Thyme.

  13. Excellent post…Thanks for sharing this.I hope many will get to read it.

    • Thank you for the kind words. I am glad that you were encouraged.
      God Bless!

  14. A much needed message for today! Too many of us are Laodiceans….lukewarm, carnal…and blind. How i regret the times in my own Christian walk, when i was backslidden. Thank the Lord, He allowed me to be miserable in that state until i ran back into His arms and His presence. ! Paul warns Timothy to “flee from youthful lusts, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2Tim.2:22)

    By the indwelling Spirit, we CAN be “in” the world, but not “of” the world.

    • Amen! We really need an awakening in the Church. I guess I should add that to my prayer list…it will always start with God. We are told that we have not because we ask not. This would be a good thing to be asking for on a regular basis.
      God Bless!

  15. WOW! JD…Very powerful message, a very good read for today.

    • Thank you for your comments. I am so glad the Lord could use it to encourage you.
      God Bless!

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