Looking Back in Sin and Doubt
Our minds are wired in unique and wonderful ways. The Lord has given us the ability to remember back countless years to pull up information and situations in our lives that bring greater understanding to our current days. But this ability to think back also has its downfalls – that is when those thoughts and memories take us back to times when we were not faithful to the Lord. These remembrances before our salvation or of times when we slipped into a sinful pattern as a believer have ways of haunting our thoughts if we let them. But hear what Jesus has to say in reference to looking back to the things of this earth:
“But Jesus said to him, 'No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.'” Luke 9:62
We are called to be steadfast in our ways and keep our mind focused on the Lord if we desire to be in His kingdom some day. Even if we did not live this focused and righteous way all of our lives, and none of us have, we are told not to dwell on those deceitful ways of the past. Rather we are called to dwell on the truthful promises Jesus Christ gives us for the future.
To just say we are not going to think on these evil things or that we are over the ways we had been tempted and pulled away from the Lord in the past, is beyond our human will-power. Our enemy also has a way of drawing past remembrances up into our thoughts when we are least expecting them too. We can't just say we are not going to think on these things, we need to be ready to deal with them in the power of the Lord or we will fall victim to his tactics and once again find our thoughts where we do not want them to be.
To battle these thoughts in our minds we have to do what 2 Corinthians 4:2 says below, we must renounce these shameful things and commend ourselves in the sight of the Lord.
“But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” 2 Corinthians 4:2
As I was reading My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers this morning, his thoughts added to the multitude of scriptures the Lord had already put before me in my study this morning about this subject. Here is what he says:
“Is there a thought in your heart about anyone which you would not like to be dragged into the light? Renounce it has soon as it springs up; renounce the whole thing until there is no hidden thing of dishonestly or craftiness about you. Envy, jealousy, strife – these things arise not necessarily from the disposition of sin, but from the make-up of your body which was used for this kind of thing in days gone by...Maintain a continual watchfulness so that nothing of which you would be ashamed arises in your life.” Oswald Chambers
Also, here is a scripture verse that speaks of this very thing that Oswald Chambers was referring to:
“I speak in human terms because of the weakness of your flesh. For just as you presented your members as slaves of uncleanness, and of lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves of righteousness for holiness.” Romans 6:19
We are weak in our flesh. We have the gift of a memory for God's use in many good things, but yet at times our memories can be used against us. The verse in Romans above gives great imagery of how we can truly battle these memories that we find consuming our thoughts as we are attacked – we are to present these thoughts are “slaves of uncleanness” and the rest of who we are, the things within us that will be carried forward in Christ, as “slaves of righteousness”. Jesus alone has the ability to enslave these thoughts and memories of the past and therefore we must not entertain or try on our own to put them out of our minds. Instead we must rebuke them and than give them over to Him to put them away from us and for us.
We have victory in Christ and if we truly believe in that victory we need to live with our faces directed towards where that victory will lead us and not where we tried to find victory in the sinful ways of the world. Yes, there are times to bring up the places where God has saved us from in order to testify of His great power to save, but most of the sinful remembrances of our past have very little to do with our salvation and more to do with fulfilling the lusts of our sinful nature – on these we not to put our rest in. Resting in the will of God, what He holds out front to us as His promises and His future kingdom, these alone we are called to think upon as believers who call Jesus Lord and Savior.
“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, hat he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.” 1 Peter 4:1-2