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25 August - You Can Leave Your Past Behind

One of the things that I have learned over the years is the importance of not looking back. It seems to hold people back, both from where they are meant to be going now and in their future.

We can recall the times that God has done awesome things in our past, but we need to be aware of not living there. As I say, “nothing is ever wasted if we learn from it”, but I have discovered that not a lot of good comes from continually looking or going back.

Lot’s wife is a dramatic example of the inherent dangers of looking back. She was turned into a pillar of salt after she looked back at the city of Sodom, where she lived, which was being destroyed because of its wickedness. She disobeyed the command given by the angels not to look back as they fled.

The question is why she looked back and, as a result, was turned into a pillar of salt. In the original Hebrew language, the words “looked back” indicates that she took a longing look upon the city, a look that indicated she wanted what she left, and not what God was saving her from or the new life He was going to give them. (Genesis 19:26 NIV)

God did not want Lot and his family to trust in His direction and future for their lives. When we “look back longingly” as Lot’s wife did, we are saying in our hearts that we miss where we have come from, resent having to leave, and are unsure and don’t trust where God is leading us.

Jesus gave a very simple directive that relates to our ability to walk away from our old life and our past.

Some people came to Jesus and said we want to follow you. “Then another said, “I’m ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home.” Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.” (Luke 9:61-62 Message)

Far too often, we don’t seize the day because we get stuck in the past. We can let the guilt of our past, failures, disappointments or even the desire for things from our old way of life keep us from reaping the rewards of a new life and future in Jesus.

The Bible is full of people who had past mistakes and failures, yet God moved mightily and redirected their lives. If they had looked back, they would never have been able to fulfil their God-given purpose. They would have remained stuck in their past as they constantly looked back.

1. Moses murdered an Egyptian (Exodus 2:11-15 NIV)

2. David committed both adultery and murder (2 Samuel 11 NIV)

3. Solomon indulged in everything worldly (Ecclesiastes 2:1-11 NIV)

4. Peter denied knowing Jesus three times (Luke 22:54-62 NIV)

5. Paul murdered and persecuted Christians before coming to know Jesus. (Acts 22:4 NIV)

Today don’t get caught in the trap of looking and going back. Instead, set your course ahead, make a plan to move forward, give your past to Jesus and, “forget what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead, press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should have this attitude.” (Philippians 3:12-14 AMP)

Prayer: Lord, please help me to keep looking ahead and not behind so that I may reach toward all that you have for my future. Thank you that you make everything beautiful in its time and that you work everything out for my good. In Jesus name Amen.

He made everything appropriate in its time. He also placed eternity within them—yet, no person can fully comprehend what God is doing from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 – International standard version)

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28)

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