Steve Lyston | The danger of looking back
Isaiah 43: 18-19 says: "Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
One cannot move ahead while looking back. No vehicle can go backward and forward at the same time. The Bible outlines that losers and failures are those who look back and dwell in the past; and when we dwell in the past fear, bitterness and un-forgiveness persist! We must only use our past as a tool for learning and gaining wisdom. When we make mistakes, we are not to dwell on it and beat up on ourselves. Once we have truly repented, He never uses our past actions to judge us. Only evil people, the media and politicians tend to use people's past to judge them. Our past does not determine our future, therefore it should not be used to hold you at ransom!
There are many times persons see themselves in dreams/visions reversing a vehicle; or that they are looking in their rear view mirror. That is a signal that God is trying to tell us that we are looking back in the past. When a person continually looks back to the past, they are poised to backslide and as such, are making their past their future. The failure of the Israelites was their continual looking back to and yearning for the things from which God had already delivered them.
Looking back to the past keeps you from focusing on the positive and from the blessings ahead where the prosperity and even greater things await. Even nations are unable to move forward because they keep looking back. The past must only be used for the sake of history and archiving.
Philippians 3: 13-15 encourages us to forget those things which are behind and reach forward to those things which are ahead. What is ahead is always greater than what is behind.
The goal which is set for us, the prize, promotion, blessings and benefits are always ahead. Every mature person must renew his/her mind and press forward toward the goals and objectives set or us. Reach forward. The image is that of a runner on a course straining every muscle as he runs toward the goal - his hands stretched out to grasp the baton. Just think of someone running a 4 x 100m relay - USA vs. Jamaica. The runner cannot run forward by or while looking behind. He or she can't think about how badly they did yesterday or the medal they lost yesterday. A true champion has to get up and press ahead toward the mark. A boxer, wouldn't stay down on the canvas; he or she has to get up and press forward. Too often we dwell on past disappointments/delays.
Luke 9: 62 reminds us: "But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
As Christians, the moment God starts carrying us through the different tests of our faith - loss of finance, friends, betrayal, persecution, isolation, barrenness, time tests and wilderness experiences, many look back and eventually fall away. Looking back disqualifies us and eliminates one from God's maximum use and robs you of the purpose and plan God has in store for us.
THINGS OF THE PAST
Genesis 19: 26 (read the entire Scripture) speaks to us about Lot and his wife. Even as God is delivering us from different issues of life and danger, many look back/go back to the things of the past. We must be careful where our affection lies, because that is where our heart lies also. When we look backward, judgement will engulf us. When God offered Lot security and safety by instructing him to go to the mountain, he wanted more security than he felt the mountain offered. In many respects, he modelled the grip of this present age. The fulfilling and seeking of safety in temporal things is seen in Lot's rapid departure. Many times, God gives us a way of escape - the best way - but many still look back and hold on to the things of the past. They refuse to see the new life that awaits ahead. They would prefer to disobey God, refuse His instructions (like Lot did) and end up in a cave. Disobedience opens the door for many wrong choices and pain. God demanded of them, a total abandonment of the condemned city, in heart and will; and their refusal to do so led to Lot's wife's demise.
So it is time for us to declare the good things ahead and move past 'the good ol' days.