“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God”. – Luke 9:62
It isn’t only in the Olympics or any other athletics competition that it is an error or big mistake for one to look back while running. In Luke 9:62, Jesus pointed out that looking back is not an attitude fit for those who want to follow and serve Christ. Looking back is an error in Christian service. If there was anything the Apostle Paul worked hard at, it was avoiding the danger of looking back and living in the past. He stated in Philippians 3:13-14 “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”. Paul was simply saying since I haven’t yet arrived, since I haven’t yet gotten to the level God is taking me to, I do myself a world of good by not dwelling on past mistakes, accomplishments or achievements. Paul understood that what had happened in the past, as good and as glorious as it is, can’t compare to what God wants to do today. Paul also understood that if a person is completely yielded and sold out to God, whatever happened in the person’s past, no matter how dirty or ugly, it can’t prevent God from manifesting His glory in the person’s life.
In Isaiah 43:18-19, God declares He is doing a new thing. But to see and experience this new thing, you have to forget the former things, you have to stop dwelling on the past. How does dwelling on the past prevent one from experiencing a new beginning? For one, it gives you a false sense of identity. Holding on to past positions, titles and accomplishments, can hinder us from receiving the new thing God wants to do in his life. We should praise and thank God for past accomplishments but we shouldn’t cling and remain with them. We should earnestly desire fresh accomplishments and testimonies.
Looking back can also fill your heart with painful memories that hinder you from receiving the blessings God wants to give you today. Many people today can’t embrace the new thing God wants to do in their lives because they are still dwelling on past hurts.
Looking back also blocks your vision. If you keep looking at what is behind, you can’t see what is in front. There’s always something better ahead. Before God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, it was a very lovely place. The Bible describes it as a well-watered place, like the garden of the Lord (Genesis 13:10). I’m sure one of the reasons Lot’s wife looked back was because she was busy thinking to herself could there be any place as lovely as Sodom and Gomorrah, this place is too beautiful to leave and the next thing that happened, she had become a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26). Don’t settle for where you are. The best is yet to come. Don’t ever think you have seen it all or seen the very best. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” (I Corinthians 2:9).
If there’s anything we need to do for ourselves, it is to break free from the past. Don’t let your past keep you from experiencing the new. Break free from the sins and shame of the past, break free from past wounds and pains, break free from past glories and get ready to receive fresh testimonies of God’s goodness.
Father, set me completely free from my past today and give me a new beginning.