I have heard people talking about things that have happened to them when they would add, “I went on and never looked back.” An example is when a quarterback throws an interception. I am convinced that they were attempting to stress that they did not let past events deter or limit the future for them. But I want to deal with this attitude to remind everyone that it is important to look back.
Oh, I know what Jesus said about looking back. Luke 9:62 “And Jesus said unto him, “No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” The words of Jesus are always correct. Once a person has accepted Jesus Christ they should focus on Him and not turn back to the wrongs of the past. Having been forgiven of one’s sins the person should live without the feeling of guilt.
One aspect of looking back is the practice of remembering what has happened in the past. Deuteronomy 32:7 “Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations: ask thy father, and he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.”
There is still the need of looking back while going forward. Surely you have heard the warning, “History repeats itself.” The deal is simply that we must learn from past errors or mistakes. The only way we can learn from the past is to review actions of yesterday to determine what steps could be taken to avoid the failure in the future.
Recalling the past can enhance one’s appreciation and thankfulness for what God has done for you. Moses stressed the need look back at how God delivered His people form Egypt. Exodus 13:3 “And Moses said unto the people, Remember this day, in which ye came out from Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out from this place: there shall no leavened bread be eaten.”
We need to remember the pleasant things of years gone by. Numbers 11:5, “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick.” It is good to recognize that all goods things come from God. We must realize that we cannot remain in the past nor even in today but must seek to continually be in God’s will knowing that how God provided for us in the past He will continue to take care of us.
As we rejoice in the blessings of God we must also consider that wrath of God is a reality and a certainty. Deuteronomy 9:7 “Remember, and forget not, how thou provokedst the LORD thy God to wrath in the wilderness: from the day that thou didst depart out of the land of Egypt, until ye came unto this place, ye have been rebellious against the LORD.” Our need is to keep the commandments of God and strive to become more like Christ.
Jesus made it very clear that His followers are to love God and love their neighbor. Matthew 22:37-39 “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Jesus called upon His followers to remember His crucifixion through the Lord’s Supper. Luke 22:19 “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.” We are to look back to see the price God paid to save us from our sin.
At the beginning of a new year is an appropriate time to look back and consider how we have been living. I am not talking about loosing focus of the task God has assigned you. I am stressing the obligation we have of remembering all that God has done for us. We must recognize the errors of our past and ponder on steps we can take to improve our lives.
Our objective for the new years should be to follow the example of Paul and be able to say with Paul. 2 Timothy 4:6-8 “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”
I pray that you may have a good new year in obedience to God’s will. Look back to see how God has blessed you. Look back to see the errors of your past. Take hold of the ploy and go forward to live a Christ filled life.