I am currently studying a five-day Devotional entitled, Don’t Look Back, day four to be exact. Last week I shared an earlier devotional on the same subject. You’ll recognize the red title if you look it up.
Today, the lesson is focusing on how looking back feeds the flesh. Looking back is a form of self-abuse in itself, but it also causes you to return to your past. The reason we look back is because we find comfort in our experiences. God instructed Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Once out, they no longer had the comfort of food or shelter. These creature comforts were important to them and somewhat balanced the harsh abuse they experienced as slaves.
When you look back do you look for the comforts often derived from a negative experience? Did your spouse, partner or parent mistreat you and then lavish you with gifts? Did people befriend you to gain what you have? Where you punished and then fed well to offset the punishment? Did your boss promise you the raise and then give it to someone else, and placate you? These are all past experiences that people choose to recall because, despite, the abuse – they were familiar, and oddly enough safe memories of experiences past.
The Israelites blamed Moses for the discomfort they were experiencing in the wilderness. In Exodus 17:3 NLT, they cried, “Why did you bring us out of Egypt? Are you trying to kill us, our children, and our livestock with thirst.”
They had little food during the wilderness period and complained about the good things they had in Egypt, such as good and shelter. They cried, “We remember the fish we used to eat for free in Egypt. And we had all the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions, and garlic we wanted. But now our appetites are gone. All we ever see is this manna!” (Numbers 11:5-6 NLT.)
The crux of this story is that their comfort was attached to the abuse they received as slaves. Your story may not be fraught with physical or emotional abuse, but looking back instead of forward is abuse in itself. As I shared in the earlier Post, you cannot look in the rearview mirror and focus on what is behind you, and expect to move forward and avoid potholes at the same time. There are many scriptures in The Bible where God instructs us to have faith and look ahead. One of the most notable is Lots’ wife’s experience. The angels instructed them to leave Sodom, and leave their belongings behind, and God would spare their lives. They were also instructed not to look back at the destruction cast down on the city. Lots’ wife defied God’s command, looked back anyway and was transformed into a pillar of salt.
When we experience life’s challenges we can do one of two things, operate in the natural or choose to follow the Lords instructions. It is safe to say that most of us have not learned from the experiences God has shared about looking back. We still seek the (dis)comfort of our past because we find relief in those experiences. God continues to impress that while the transition may be difficult, the unknown is not to be feared because He is with you. He provided the Israelites with daily manna and he will do the same for you. Consider the transition lessons in faith, dependence, and obedience. God cannot guide you if you will not look forward and follow His instructions. Times may be tough, but provisions are provided, just as the manna was provided daily. Faith in God is the key to transition. We often find ourselves in the midst of the storm because we do not focus on God and His ability to change the circumstances. Our career advancement stalls because we look at our past and what we have accomplished, or not, and not what God will provide. Our relationships fail because we look at past experiences that shackled us, for whatever reason, and not at the strength of our current relationship. We look at our neighborhood and want more, but feel we cannot attain it because nothing in our past demonstrates the ability to have more. We look back most often when we are not satisfied with our life.
Most importantly, we look back to when we were not saved, before we received Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour, a time when we relied on ourselves, when we managed on our own, made mistakes, failed and wallowed in misery, rather than looking to God for direction, depending upon Him, and being obedient to the Word.
Satan uses the deception of looking back as a control mechanism. He encourages us to back at the past, relive the experiences that are wrapped in abuse and find comfort in slavery. He wants us to remain enslaved where we will never experience the blessings God wants to bestow upon us. He wants us paralyzed, cemented in salt, forever frozen in time.
God has given us free-will, liberty to choose. We choose to look back or focus on the present and what lies ahead. We choose the known and the uncertain. It is safe to say, life is not static, we all experience change and challenges, the key is that the challenges are often the very lessons we need to prepare us for the next step in our walk with Christ. Looking back retards our growth as Christians. Rather than looking back, take Jesus’ hand and walk with Him. The unknown is less frightening when we grasp the hand of a loving parent.
Don’t look back for a sense of comfort. Look to the future, live in the present, and God will lead you into your blessings. God will never leave you or forsake you. The chorus to a Sunday hymn, In The Garden, sums up our relationship with our Lord, Saviour and Father:
And he walks with me
And He talks with me,
And He tells me I am his own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known.
Images – Google Images; Biblestudytools.com;Bibleverseimages.com
Scriptures – Biblegateway.com
Resource/References – YouVersion.bible.com;Lyrics, In the Garden,Google.com
Visit my Young Christian Warriors site. The earliest Posts were written to help parents guide and train their children to access the Word of God to direct their steps. Later Posts were written for everyone, though I believe the Posts to parents can serve as reminders for all ages.
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