Oh, my goodness. It seems, now that Christmas is over, all anyone wants to write about is reflecting on the last year! I get it, I really do. Years before I would do the same thing and then it hit me one Sunday. The only reason we should ever look back is to learn from our mistakes. But we are not to dwell and dwell and morbidize (if that is not a word – it should be). We should look to the future. We should look to the skies. We should grow.
We made our mistakes. Period. We made our mistakes. Did we learn from them? If not, then, yes, reflect and pray until you learn. But if you learned where you went wrong then take the giant leap and do something about it. Did you apologize? Did you correct what could be corrected? If not now is the time to do it.
But tomorrow is tomorrow. It is the day you do things fresh. It is the day you choose to become closer to your Lord. If there are past hurts troubling you then you need to release them. Give no authority to those past hurts. Be bold with your tomorrow.
Let us look at the verses I was guided to study:
Here we see our writer lamenting and weeping over his past. It is a verse that shows what looking back can do to some people. It also shows that we should become weary with our crying and self grief.
6) I am weary with my groaning; all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears.
7) Mine eye is consumed because of grief; it waxeth old because of all mine enemies.
10) Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.
11) Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.
12) For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it. …
16) Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself?…
20) For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not.
Did you note that, in verse 10, we are instructed to not ask if or why the past might have been better? Search your true reasons for asking this type of question. Are you asking so that you can be dissatisfied with your “now”? Is it to glory in your “today;” to say it is so much better? Just pondering the past can lead us to dissatisfaction with our present. It can also make us question every future decision we make, instead of being wise enough to leave it with the Lord. Also, consider that we might not remember each moment of the past as it truly happened. We look fondly on our past, mainly to make ourselves feel better about our youthful follies. Or we mire ourselves if we have emotional hurts as in the Psalms above. But if we are a newcomer to our tomorrows, were we not a stranger to our past as it was becoming that past?
As our past was happening, were we not a stranger to it, just as we are to our tomorrows?
After reading verse 11, I came away with the thought that verse was saying — wisdom is good, if it is given to you or if it is a part of your past; but only if you use it to profit your soul and if you have a tomorrow. Did you note verse 12? That wisdom is a defence and the best part about it is that it gives life to those whom have it? But by it being a defense it is there to protect us — not there for us to bully others or to be self-righteous with it.
Verse 16 suggests that we should not be overly worried over our religiousness nor to try and become the wisest person on earth. Why? Because we all have sinned, and we all are none better than the other. Then if we esteem to be the wisest in our Bible learning we tend to find meaning that may not be there. We may forget that we have the Spirit to whisper in our ear as a guide to our wisdom. Our wisdom may be of man and not of God. The warning is that those two things (religiousness and wisdom) can destroy our life with God.
60) Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
62) And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.
He, Jesus, was calling two men to follow him. He is expressing that the past is just that. Do not look back, for a row plowed with someone looking constantly back is either too worried about appearances or too worried about their past life. A straight and narrow furrow can never be plowed if a man keeps looking back, his ox will turn with him and you will have chaos.
12) Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.
13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Here our writer is telling us that what he does aspire to do is press forward to God’s calling. He is, in verse 12, telling us that he is following Christ to receive or to seize what Christ has promised. He lets us know that he does not look back to see if he reached his goal, because it is a goal (toward the mark) not a resolution. It is not something that we would say, “starting tomorrow I will do or get better at.” It is even not something that we say, “we will stop doing”. It is something we are doing right now with the end result if everlasting life with our Savior! That is what a goal encompasses, the pressing froward with action to a mark or endpoint.
11) Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.
12) I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.
13) I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.
13) Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain:
14) Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.
15) For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.
My final thought is that we should remember that a resolution is a “vow” to our self. It is important to realize that all vows (resolutions) are promises. Even if we promise ourselves something, then we are promising our Lord. How can I say such, — because our body is His Temple. Would it not be better to set ourselves goals instead of lying to ourselves and the Lord? A goal is something we strive toward; a resolution is a promise that most never keep. So please pray that the Lord guides us through our pondering the past and to help us set our goals so that they are keeping our eyes on Him. Let us pray our goals build our wisdom in His plan for us.
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;