I was out driving this week and passed one of those churches that always has one of those cute saying on its billboard. Usually they make me smile, or the nudge my conscience about my relationship with God. This week the sign said:
Now at first I thought, “huh. (picture my forefinger tapping my chin as if in deep contemplation) That’s a good thought.” But something in my spirit was unsettled by it, and not in a good way either. As my day went on I thought on it and one verse in particular kept coming to mind, Romans 15:4 NIV, which says, “For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.”
Our past is something we can learn from, it is God’s intent that we learn from it. It is one of the ways we can prep for battle. We can read in Scripture the history of battles that have been fought before us. We can remember Elisha who reminds us that we don’t fight alone but have angels on our side (2 Kings 6:17). We are reminded that God can use the most unlikely people in a big way if we let Him (have you read about Rahab? Check out Joshua 2 and Joshua 6:22-24). We learn how to overcome temptation by reading how Jesus responded to it in Matthew 4:1-11. We can look to our own past and see the battles we have fought, and by God’s grace won, in the past and use those experiences to arm ourselves for the battles we face today, and those we will face tomorrow. “Never look back”? I have to disagree with that.
At the same time, it is so easy to become consumed by the past, and God doesn’t want that for us either. (Read Philippians 3:13-14, Isaiah 43:18-19, and especially 2 Corinthians 5:17) God has a plan for us, one that is good, and perfect, and beyond anything we can imagine. If we are living in our past, consumed by our past life so much so that we aren’t living the life we have now, we are missing the gifts He wants to bestow on us. Hmmmm. (contemplative forefinger tapping again)
Perhaps there is a middle ground here, one that can help us to have less stress in our lives. Maybe we should:
So suit up and use all the tools that our Lord has given us to fight this battle! If you are currently in a battle we would love to pray with you and join in the spiritual fight. And if you have recently won a battle share it with us so that we can rejoice with you as well. Every comment is read and prayed over by a member of the Online Bible Study team.
Ginny Blankenship, P31 OBS Teaching Team & Prayer Warrior