When it comes to looking back I think of the Old Testament Book of Deuteronomy. This fifth book of the Pentateuch (i.e. five books, Genesis — Deuteronomy) is known as the book of remembrance. As the Children of Israel were camped on the plains of Moab east of the Jordan River, God called to their attention His faithfulness during their forty-years of wandering in the wilderness. Before launching into the conquest of Canaan, God commanded the people, “You shall remember…” (Deut. 8:2).
It’s good to look back and remember God’s faithfulness. It’s helpful to think about the lessons learned. It’s important that we recall the blessings of God. David encouraged this practice in Psalm 103:2, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits.” Determine today that you will pause periodically to look back, remember, and give thanks.
At the same time, looking back does not mean we live in the past. I have watched people fritter away precious time and golden opportunities that can never be recovered as they try to recapture the past. Frankly, that is not a healthy or godly way to live. You cannot brood over the past and still have a vision for the future.
The Bible teaches us to redeem (make the most of) our time. Paul told us how to do that in Phil. 3:13-14, “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.”
The Bible calls us to forward living. Stop longing for experiences that are behind you. Take hold of the new experiences God has placed before you. Remember what needs to be remembered. Forget what needs to be forgotten. Then get on with the business of serving God.
This is a New Year’s resolution worth making and keeping!
Pastor Todd Weston