At some point in your life, you will have looked back at a situation you were in and second-guessed whether you handled it correctly or not. And while reflection and retrospect are good to help you see your errors, or reaffirm your decisions were justly made, it can be dangerous when you start reliving the past; thinking you could’ve done it better, said something differently, or completely altered the outcome. We don’t live in the past. We live in the present, looking forward to the future. Yes, our past helps form who we are, and will be, but it is what it is- in the past.
And at some point in your Christian walk, you will hit a point of trials and tribulations that will have you searching for answers, seeking clarification on a situation, and second-guessing whether it (Christianity) is worth it or not. We’ve all been there. We have this delusion that once we give our life to Christ, it’s smooth sailing from there on out (maybe we think that by making this decision, He owes us…) (that may be a separate message in itself). But the Bible clearly tells us that we will face trials. (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23, John 16:33) Christ was persecuted, and as Christians we need to expect and accept the probability of persecution as well. (Matthew 5:13, John 15:18, 2 Timothy 3:12, 1 Peter 3:17, 1 Peter 4:19, 1 John 3:13…)
While it’s human nature to second-guess words we spoke, or a decision we made, or how we handled a particular situation; we should not continuously return to our past. Yes, we’ve made mistakes. Yes, we will have to live with the repercussions of those mistakes. No, we don’t have to let those mistakes define us. Christ defines us, nothing less.
If we continue to look back at our past- the good, the bad and the ugly (and admit it, we’ve all got some ugly behind us), we’re losing sight on what the future holds for us. God tells us not to dwell on the past, (Isaiah 43:18-19, Ecclesiastes 7:10, 1 Corinthians 5:17) to look to the future (Proverbs 4:25Philippians 3:13-14, Hebrews 12:1) Remember Lot’s wife? (Genesis 19:26) When Lot’s family was leaving Sodom, the angels told them to run for their lives and not to look back. (Genesis 19:17) Except she did- and *poof* she turned to a pillar of salt. It sounds trite, but it was a simple disobedient act that destroyed her. Clinging to her past, she was unable to completely run towards God. (Matthew 6:24) (Luke 17:33) Clinging to our past, relishing the sin we don’t want to completely give up, reliving the moments that brought us earthly pleasure (but made our Father weep) is behaving like her- and will also destroy us.
We must continue to pursue our eternal destiny with our Father. Let go of the past, and look to the future. Again, the past is what it is: the past. We can’t change it, and we can’t erase it, and we can’t stay there. It’s the present and future where our lives begin; where we live. Perhaps we fear what is ahead of us, so we continue to look behind us. Perhaps it is the fear of the unknown that we rely on the previously known. Perhaps it is the lack of trust that Jesus is who He said He Is. Whatever our doubts, our second-guessing, we have to move forward. So from here on out- trust Jesus. No more looking back; look up. (Luke 21:28)