Repent, return, dear Israel, to the One you so cruelly abandoned. On the day you return, you'll throw away—at every last one of you—the no-gods your sinful hands made from metal and wood. Isaiah 31:6-7 (MSG)
Growing up, there was an annual traveling carnival that came to town and set itself up in the parking lot of one of the shopping centers we passed on the weekly pilgrimage across town to grandma and grandpa's house. There were bright lights, thrill rides, tents with all sorts of games, and stands with cotton candy and snow cones. Driving to our destination, the carnival would always catch my eye and I would instantly beg my parents to pull off and take me to the carnival (which, they never did).
I reflect back on my journey and the many times I've abandoned the path and diverted from my destination to chase after bright lights, thrill rides, and to gamble on prizes which are worthless in the end.
Reading today's chapter, I'm reminded that following God requires repentance and repentance requires leaving behind that for which we diverted our journey. We don't get to pack up the carnival and bring it with us. "Hang on a minute, God. I want to load the tilt-a-whirl on a flatbed and bring it with us." We must throw away the worthless trinkets and abandon the cheap thrills which stirred the lust of our eyes and the lust of our flesh and led us away from the path.
Following Jesus is a journey of faith. Faith requires leaving things behind.