The Snare of Looking Back

“…and Lord, don’t let our country push You out of everything, bring prayer back into the schools, help us regain and restore the reverence for You which was lost…”, the brother prayed.

A sister continued, “Lord, keep our hearts from looking back, from lamenting over eras gone by…Lord, fix our eyes upon Your promised future, upon Your promised return….”

“Stop!” the brother snapped, “this prayer is over!”  Earnest prayer before the Lord erupted anger!

Aligning our prayer and walk with Jesus is essential so, we must ask, which way is He going?

Yes, we’re called to pray for our nation, our families, our neighbors – that they may come to repentance and be saved from the sure judgment to come.  However, prophetic certainties make futile any attempt to regain America’s ‘reverence to God’.  That train has left the station, it’s on route to a slow crash which no one can stop. 

Whether we’re lamenting our nation’s past or personal losses of life, health, prosperity, or passions, looking back can be a snare.

In fact, the Bible is forward marching, relentlessly into eternity – a new heaven, a new earth.  When we’re born again, we join in that march.  Not ‘happy-clappy’ or ‘easy believism’ but a hard discipline to reframe our thinking forward – heavenward – through God’s word.  

Only turning from the past and this temporal life can we find living hope and true freedom.  As Joseph M Stowell writes,

“Eternity is the only reality that can resolve life’s insolvable dilemmas.  Only an eternal perspective enables us to adequately cope with life’s disappointments….Followers (of Christ) view all of life – its good times as well as its bad – through the lens of eternity.” excerpt from Following Christ

Scripture holds ongoing admonishment to forward march – our Commanding Officer is ahead of us! From Lot’s wife looking back, to the Israelites’ lament over ‘life in Egypt’, the risk of ‘mental backsliding’  gives ground for Satan to move in. When God seems to strip our life, crush our expectations and obliterate our plans, we don’t want Him to do a ‘new thing’, we want the old back!

But our life in Christ hinges on that forward march, detaching ourselves from this temporal world and everything in it – even our very ‘self’.  Pain, loss, and suffering often pry loose that grip and lead us desperately into God’s word.   

Stowell further states in Following Christ,

“Followers can reduce all of life to the question, “What is it that my Father in heaven wants for my life in this moment?”

Looking back is often a snare that opens our soul to regret, remorse, guilt and futility –  a muddied road that can lead to depression.   God continually calls us to, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past”, “…to be transformed by the renewing of your mind”,  “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead”.

Thankfully, that praying brother and sister, almost immediately, reconciled in prayer.  The Lord humbled them through the upstir and brought clarity.  Prayer resumed!

Heal us Lord, from past things that haunt and grieve us, even draw us in.  And lead us Lord, as Your Body, in a forward march to follow and serve You.       

“We don’t know what to do but our eyes are on You.”

 

11 comments on “The Snare of Looking Back

  1. dettinger47 says:

    Tremendous post, Lisa Beth. If I wrote an “Amen” every time I agreed with something you wrote, I’d wear out the “A,” “M,” “E,” and “N” buttons! Also, I caught the reference you made to my favorite verse on this issue: “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Tom says:

    Good post, Lisa Beth! I believe that the notion that America was a “Christian nation” and that Americans collectively followed God of the Bible as if in some kind of covenantal relationship with Him like that of ancient Israel was a myth that sidetracked and continues to sidetrack Christians in America. With the overwhelming secularization going on around us, we can now focus on spreading the Gospel rather than defending Christian nationalism.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Mary Sweeney says:

    Lisa, Thanks so much for the reminder of the snare of looking back! It’s once of those deceptive ways the enemy uses to trick us.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Bill Sweeney says:

    AMEN! Great post, Lisa. “Forward marching,” eternal perspective” Yes! I have to remind myself of this every single day, it’s so tempting to look back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lisa Beth says:

      It’s so good to hear from you Bill! Thanks for your encouraging words. Of course, writing this post is easier than living it! May the Holy Spirit lift our heads and focus our sights. God bless you brother!

      Liked by 1 person

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