Are You Willing To Walk Away?

I love movies. One of my favorites is the movie Heat, with Robert Deniro and Al Pacino. Likely my favorite scene in that movie is the coffee shop scene. During this scene, Deniro, a bank robber, is talking face to face with Pacino, a cop. During this conversation, Deniro shares advice he once received about being willing to walk away from anything.

walk away

Don’t let yourself get attached to anything you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you feel the heat around the corner.

While Deniro is referring to “heat” in the sense of law enforcement catching up to him and his crime-filled lifestyle, I think we can apply this same advice to our own lives and even our businesses.

Strangers In This World

See, we are strangers in this world (1 Peter 2:11). It is not our home (Philippians 3:20). We will only be here a short time (Job 8:9). Everything we have here will be destroyed by moth and rust (Matthew 6:19). It will burn one day (1 Corinthians 3:12-15).

At the same time, we are disciples of Jesus…not just for this life, but also for the life to come. We are God’s children, now and forever. The treasure we lay up for ourselves in heaven is also eternal. It will never be destroyed by moth or rust. It will never burn.

Can you see the contrast here? Our relationship with this world we live in is temporary. Our relationship with our Lord and Father is eternal. Therefore, our attachment to the things of this world should be temporary and our attachment to the things of God should be eternal.

How Does This Apply?

How does this look in our daily lives? How does it look in our businesses? How should it look in our relationships?

I think we are to take the mindset of Deniro and apply it here. We should not become so attached to anything here in this life that we are not willing to walk away from it. We should be be so consumed with our love for Jesus and the life we want to live for Him that we would not hesitate to walk away from anything if He asks.

Would You Walk Away?

What if He asks us to walk away from a highly profitable business deal because it would require us to be unequally yoked with an unbelieving partner? What if He asks us to walk away from our home town because He has another plan for us? What if He asks us to walk away from our dream home so we can have more resources to give? What if He asks us to walk away from some friendships we enjoy because they are damaging our commitment to Him?

Do you get the picture? Whether material things, business deals, or relationships, I believe the Bible is clear that we are to have a detached mindset and a willingness to walk away from them. Here is a quote from Watchman Nee in his book Love Not the World.

I am not suggesting by this that we must try to dispose of everything; that is not the point. The point is that as God’s children, you and I may not accumulate things for ourselves. If I keep something it is because God has spoken to my heart; if I part with it, it is for the same reason. I hold myself in the will of God and am not afraid to give if God asks me to give. I keep nothing because I love it, but I let it go without regret when the call comes to leave it behind. That is what it means to be detached.

God Honors The Decision

I went through this very process myself roughly eight years ago. I posted about it here (Why I Decided To Walk Away…). While I have not yet seen the end of this path, I can give you my word that I would not change my decision for anything in this world! God has honored that decision many times over since then. I have confidence He will continue to do so going forward.

I still struggle with this mindset in every area of my life. It is not easy to maintain a willingness to walk away. I fail at it as much as I win, but I will continue to fight. I am determined not to attach myself to a temporary world. I will trust Him instead.

What attachments do you have?

Have you seen God honor your decision to walk away from something?

Is He asking now?

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  • That’s an awesome movie analogy. And a great way to frame the question.
    I think I’m intellectually willing to walk away from anything, but I think it’s deciding in the moment that would be the challenge. We can talk the talk pretty easy.

    • Loren, my father always told me to make the decision ahead of time. Whether it was alcohol, drugs, or sex, he said you will rarely, if ever, make the right decision if you wait until the heat of the moment. Make the decision BEFORE you get there and you are more likely to stick with it.
      I think the same applies here in some ways. The problem here is that there is almost always something coming at us to distract us from our true focus. The only time we are even remotely “safe” is when we are in our prayer closet…even then our minds wander!

      I guess the bottom line is that we need to continue making the decision to remain detached from what this world offers. It is an ongoing struggle – we cannot let up.

  • Sue Miley

    I had a very similar experience when I finished my Masters in Counseling.  I had opportunities to go into several practices but to me if it wasn’t faith-based I would always be stepping over what I said. Many days I stay practical, but the majority of the time God’s view directs my thoughts and words.  I felt it would be unfair to clients if they didn’t know up front my perspective.  I will work with anyone, but I can’t promise my faith won’t spill out.

    I need it for me as well as for others.  Great post Chris.

    • Thanks Sue. I agree with your decision (and reasons)! I say let it spill out!

  • I’ve been going through a process over the last 2 years to reduce my attachments to material things. It’s been a rough process but also a very freeing one.

    About two years ago, I made the choice to walk away from a good job. I had a good reputation and was offered more money and more work. It just wasn’t what God wanted though. I didn’t know what he wanted at the time. Now I know that He wanted me to take the time to get healthy, and he also was leading me back to a writing career. I have never been happier!

    God is still asking for more, and I’m loving the process of being obedient. It’s painful at times, but it’s always a freeing experience, and it always leads me to more peace and joy. God is so good!

    • Kari, I think you have found a truth that few people find…being right where God wants you is the happiest place you can be.

      This is not based on circumstances, which you have recognized in the pain, but on the knowledge that you are in God’s will. I am so glad you understand this!

      I challenge you to try to lead others to the same place. It is not easy – it is actually very frustrating at times! However, it is worth it when someone gets it!

      Thanks for sharing!

  • Sarah

    When I read the book “Radical” it made me consider this question. Would I be willing to walk away from things that do not matter eternally? After months of battling with the question I could say “yes I am willing…and I am ready”

    Nothing that distracts us from our calling to share the Gospel is worth keeping around.

    • Sarah, it was a great book, wasn’t it?

      You are dead on with your final statement. I can guarantee one thing…we will look back on that day and wonder why in the world we dedicated so much of our time and resources to temporal things!

      I pray I can eliminate more and more of those fleeting time-wasters in my life every day.

  • Forsaking All I Trust Him… we should worry about more about His grip on us than our grip on what we think is important in our lives. I know Father knows best! It also may mean staying when you want to walk away too!

    • Good point, Coach. I have not looked at it from that perspective!