Wasting Time in the Past
Eccl 7:10 “Do not say, "Why is it that the former days were better than these?" For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this.”
Have you ever considered the past…lingering too long on things better left in the past? Everyone reflects on the past, some reflect on it entirely too much and for all of the wrong reasons. There are some good reasons to look back, and there are reasons to not do so.
Luke 17:32 "Remember Lot's wife.”
This one simple phrase is loaded isn’t it? It was Lots wife who rather than rushing from the impending doom coming upon Sodom and Gomorrah, lingered and then stopped and looked back. It was then she became a part of the landscape as statuary. Rather than a focus on the salvation of God, her focus was on the corruption she longed for, the sinful world she enjoyed more than fellowship with God. This is always dangerous because we rarely remember the troubles and pain of our former sinful lives when we are looking back like this. In fact, Jesus warned about this.
Luke 9:62 “But Jesus said to him, "No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
But Paul helps us to put the past in a better perspective.
Phil 3:12-14 “Not that I have already obtained [it] or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of [it] yet; but one thing [I do:] forgetting what [lies] behind and reaching forward to what [lies] ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul was not one to speak about his life as someone who was no longer with sin, or like he was perfect as a believer and follower of Christ. He knew his past, all of the painful memories of other believers whose lives had been directly affected by his actions. Imprisonments, tortures, stoning, and death upon followers of Christ had been his legacy before coming to Christ. How do you get past the pain of such memories? He had. Not lightly by any means, but his focus had changed. Now he was focused upon Christ, upon the salvation Christ had brought him, and the upward call he had in Christ. Now the only reason for the past being considered was to speak of the former life and how God had delivered him from it all and how he now lived a new life in Christ. (2 Cor 5:17)
So where does your past fit into your life? Has it passed and do you keep it as part of the past? Or do you allow it to still haunt you and ruin the present and future? Paul said that he knew his own life was an example of the grace of God at work so that others would see the profound mercy of God and know that they too could receive mercy. (1 Tim 1:12-17) Be encouraged, be free from the past, and live in newness of life. This is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Activity: Pray for a better vision for your future in Christ and be deliberate in letting go of the past.