It is important to live life with a thankful heart and an awareness of its brevity. Every special moment should be tucked away for memory sake. In our golden years, we will want to recall our special celebrations, tender exchanges, and humorous adventures. Hopefully, we will look back to our younger days with a grateful heart and not one full of disappointment or regret.
There are good reasons to look back but there are bad reasons as well. The motive behind our response is key. If we look back to earlier days in an attempt to learn from past mistakes we are demonstrating wisdom. Recalling a special relationship from the past is also fine, so long as it doesn’t interfere with our present relationships including our marriage.
The past is a part of who we are and our experiences help develop our character. But God has us on a forward-moving track, one that ultimately leads to our eternal home. We should not be in a constant state of longing for former days. Understanding where you have been is key to understanding where you are headed.
When we look back and remain stuck in the past, we fail to see Jesus. We are taken from the present blessings and protection provided within every new day. Our independence causes us to miss the mercy of God. Jesus told us to remember Lot’s wife.
“Remember Lot’s wife.” Luke 17:32 (NKJV)
When the angels led Lot and his family away from Sodom they were warned not to look back. It was only after Lot, his wife, and two daughters had escaped reached the small city of Zoar that the Lord rained down brimstone and fire. Such a wonder would be hard to ignore.
Indeed, it was not the curious gaze of one witnessing some miraculous destruction that turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt. It was the longing and desire in her heart that caused her backward look. A coveting of what she had left behind in Sodom is what ended her life. She looked back because she wanted to go back. She left behind material wealth and comfort so life in Sodom must have looked a lot nicer than the one in front of her. She looked back to the world instead of forward to God’s plan for her life. The future can be a scary place.
“But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:26 (NKJV)
“’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’” Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV)
There is a good reason why we cannot see into our future. God wants us to walk by faith and depend upon His provisions. Additionally, if I were to have a picture of God’s plan for my future growth and development, it might scare me! Lot’s wife provides us with a good lesson. She reminds us to live in the moment, as we encounter the present.
If we look to our past with longing, resentment will probably build within our hearts. Bitterness is an ugly root difficult to extract. If your spiritual gaze were frozen this very moment, where would it be fixed? Each day is a gift and within this gift, there are many choices. Will you decide to live a forward moving life or one that wallows in sorrow over the sin-saturated existence that was once your past? You may call the past your glory days but the truth is you have yet to live them. Your glory days are waiting for you in your eternal home.
“ Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. “ 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV)
“Do not say, ‘Why were the old days better than these?’
For it is not wise to ask such questions.” Ecclesiastes 7:10 (NKJV)
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it. I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls,
because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.” Isaiah 43:18-21 (NKJV)
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 (NKJV)
“Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62 (NKJV)