First Posted: 3/26/2009
In Luke 9:62, we find that Jesus tells us if a man takes hold of the plough and looks back, instead of forward, he is not fit for the kingdom of God. This reminded me of the times that I attended the high school cross country meets. I would hear the coaches tell their runners: do not look backward but keep looking forward for the finish line. The reason is, when you start looking back it slows down or hinder your forward speed or progress. I believe this is what Christ is trying to teach us through this scripture. When we start to look backward instead of looking ahead we hinder our progress as a Christian. Lets look today at some things that often get our attention to look back and shows it is just Satans attempt to slow or stop our spiritual progress.
First, do not look back at sins that have already been forgiven. So often we use this as an excuse for not serving the Lord. We say, I cant serve because I used to be such a sinner. What we need to remember is the fact that once God has forgiven our sin he is able to forget it and use us to accomplish His purpose in our lives. We see that is King David, who committed adultery and murder and much more and yet when God forgave him then God was able to use him in a mighty way. So today dont look back at sins that have already been forgiven.
Secondly, do not look back at defeats that can get you down. We all have faced defeats in our lives. When we do let us learn from them and move ahead. There will be times when we are trying to serve the Lord and everything we do seems to be defeated or beaten down. The problem with most of us is that we measure success or defeat from the wrong perspective. True defeat is being out of the will of God while success is doing what God wants us to do even when man does not understand. Look at Jesus, when he was placed on the cross and died. According to man, He was defeated but really He was a success because He was right in the will of God the Father. I am glad that we serve the God who is able to take a bad situation and work it out for His honor and glory. So when it seems defeats come into your life just give them to the Lord and dont look back. God will overcome them and receive the glory.
Thirdly, do not look back at the past and see it better than it was. So many people are not living in the present or looking for the future because they are so stuck on the past. We want to glory on our past victories instead of looking ahead to the battles that are coming up with a chance for victory. We talk so often about all the things that we use to do and how wonderful they were. That may be true but never forget that we are not finished until the Lord calls us home. Always look forward to greater days ahead. Israel, in the wilderness talked about all the great things and food they used to have in Egypt. Greater days were ahead as God rained down manna or bread from heaven right in their midst. So dont look back at the past and see it better than it was.
Fourthly, do not look back at old conflicts that make you bitter. One of the biggest things that seem to render a person useless for the Lord is when we have something happen in our lives and we become bitter. This bitterness stays with us and we keep looking back instead of moving ahead in our life. It then causes the death or at least the defeat of our spiritual witness. Paul and Barnabas had a serious conflict that could have caused bitterness but instead they moved ahead in their ministries and both were highly effective. So when conflicts come dont look back and stay bitter but build a bridge and get over it, then God can use you.
If we are to win our race and please the Lord instead of looking back we need to look ahead. I challenge you with at least three ways to look ahead. First, look unto Jesus who gave us the gift of salvation so we can live the abundant life here on earth and one day in His presence in heaven. Secondly, look on the fields that are white unto harvest. Many people need to know Jesus Christ as their personal Savior and it is up to us to tell them just how much Jesus loves them and died for them. It is a free gift but a gift must be accepted. Thirdly, look up for Jesus soon return according to scripture it could be any time but you must be ready. So I encourage you to look forward instead of backward because the best is yet to come.
The Rev. Tim Burton is the pastor of Flippin Memorial Baptist Church, McBride Road, Mount Airy.