PRAISE & PRAYER PROMPT ••• In a past blog, I’ve shared about the time I got my first car stuck on top of a tree stump, all four tires completely off the ground. That was a moment. But it wasn’t the only “fun” experience I had with that car. For a year, I drove it without access to my instrument panel. Literally. Couldn’t tell you how fast I was going or how much gas I had. It was a guessing game every time I got in the car. And to add insult to injury, the rearview mirror fell off the windshield.
Any driver will agree that the rearview mirror is an important asset to the car, but from personal experience, I can tell you that access to a rearview mirror is highly underrated.
With all that said though, looking in the rearview mirror is the only looking back we should do. After all, as the saying goes, “There’s a reason the windshield is so much bigger than the rearview mirror. Where you’re going is so much better than where you’ve been.”
We all have a tendency to look in the rearview mirrors of our life. We look at our past and ponder all the what-ifs. But if Paul had been given access to my old Buick, I imagine he may have thrown the rearview mirror out the side of the car as opposed to leaving it in the backseat as I did. He wrote in Philippians 3:13-14 CSB, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”
If anyone could have made an argument for being fixated on his past sins and mistakes, it was Paul. In his judgmental, self-righteous past, he was one of the most zealous and outspoken leaders in the persecution of the early church. He was even present at the stoning of Stephen, the first Christian martyr (Acts 7:54-60).
Yet, Paul didn’t spend time berating himself for his mistakes. He had his Damascus moment, repented, and turned his life to Christ—and from that point on, Paul looked forward. He pursued the prize of eternity with Jesus. And while he waited, he ministered, preached, mentored, and wrote.
In fact, Paul was the most prolific writer in the New Testament with 13, possibly 14, to his credit out of 27 (Hebrews is a maybe—the authorship is up for debate among theologians).
But the temptation to look back is so great. Yet it does no good. God has been commanding us to look forward for centuries. But it’s so much easier said than done. Lot’s wife would agree—after all, she was turned to salt for succumbing to the temptation to look back (Genesis 19:26).
Why doesn’t God want us to look back? Because we can’t help move His kingdom forward if we keep looking back. We are called to repent and move on. The only reason our past should be present is to use it to tell others how God has redeemed us! Our redemption from our past mistakes become examples of His greatness, love, mercy, and grace!
Today, as you pray, praise God for being a God who isn’t focused on our pasts but offers us a future. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you focus forward so that you won’t wallow in the past.