Looking backward often results in backward thinking.
This past week, I’ve faced a great deal of temptation to look backward, and it was hard for me not to travel down the “what if” path. I failed to resist the thoughts pressed against me, reminding me of all the things I was missing. The mind and the heart are good at playing tricks on you, especially when you’ve allowed yourself to be vulnerable to the temptation.
God has also been faithful to me, and reminded me that there is no temptation that will overwhelm me when I stay by my side. He has helped me to stay in the Word, realize when I am being attacked and cling to him, and provided messages online and even on Twitter that I needed to be encouraged by Godly people.
God drew my attention to a few different examples in Scripture of people who were drawn backward though God was moving forward. In particular, I thought about Lot’s wife. In a few brief moments, their family had to literally run out of town, spurred on by angels, because God’s wrath was about to rain down on the city. She knew she was being saved, and God was specifically moving them forward for their safety and survival, but she could not resist looking behind. She became a Pillar of Salt as she glanced back at what was her home.
I also considered the people of Israel being fantastically extracted from Egypt on a wave of incredible plagues God sent to proclaim His majesty and complete authority. God delivered the people on a dry path straight through the Red Sea and guided them with a Pillar of Cloud by day and Pillar of Fire by night. Yet, the moment they were thirsty, they cried out for the “good old days” in Egypt, never mind that they were slaves under harsh persecution.
In both of these circumstances, looking back caused backward thinking that ended in despair and judgment. Our past is never better than being by God’s side right now, and the future we have with Him in heaven.
Are you struggling to claim today for Jesus because you are still living in the past? Are you unable to enjoy the good gifts God’s given you now because you are longing for things that have been sacrificed to get here? Are you ineffective in and unaware of what God intends for you to be doing now because you are still fighting battles God has already won?
Be encouraged! You are not alone. Hold fast to Jesus and admit your struggles to Him. Ask Jesus to free you from looking backward and fix your eyes on Him alone. Dig your heels in, because God’s Word promises that if you resist the Devil, he WILL flee from you (James 4:7).
Pray through this Scripture passage today from Psalm 119:33-40:
Teach me your decrees, O Lord;
I will keep them to the end.
Give me understanding and I will obey your instructions;
I will put them into practice with all my heart.
Make me walk along the path of your commands,
for that is where my happiness is found.
Give me an eagerness for your laws
rather than a love for money!
Turn my eyes from worthless things,
and give me life through your word.
Reassure me of your promise,
made to those who fear you.
Help me abandon my shameful ways;
for your regulations are good.
I long to obey your commandments!
Renew my life with your goodness.