In my recent article, entitled, ‘God’s Best,’ I asked you if you were reaching backwards, or reaching forwards, in your walk with Christ, who is your Savior and Lord. I quoted Philippians 4:13b-14, which states, ‘Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.’
The idea behind that verse is that there are some things in life you should not, and must not, ever look back on and ponder. For example, if your husband or wife has died, and you are prone to ‘looking back’ as though you really wished they were alive today — and you feel a sense of regret over their having died — well then, you need to deal with that regret, and ‘move forward’ as the above verse indicates. There are better things ahead. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
Faith is necessary in order to do this, so you must start by believing that God is able, and willing, to bring even better things into your life in the future, than he has already done in the past — this is one of the keys that you must latch onto if you are ever to experience this true victory that you are longing for. Dwelling on things in a regretful manner, however, will by no means lead to the bringing about of that blessing, but will only serve to hinder it.
Well, having said all that, I also want to say that one of the great successes of your future may, indeed, be linked to the necessity of having to ‘look back’. Remember, we are not talking about the ‘Lot’s wife’ type of looking back, when we say this. No! But rather, we are dealing with a different type of ‘looking back’ altogether — one that produces blessings and not curses (as you will see).
Now when I say this, I realize, too, that there are at least two types of looking back which are good — and one of them I have dealt with in my series, ‘Healing Memories,’ in which I state that it is good to ponder over the good and noble events of the past, and to give thanks for them, and to let God minister to us through them (for he desires to do that very thing).
There is a second type of ‘valid’ looking back, which relates, not so much to the good memories of the distant past, but, rather, with the lack of peace you or I may have experienced in the recent — yes, even very recent — past. An example might be that you were just at the store, and felt such wonderful peace there (it was like you were in a dream state, almost) that you wish you would never ‘wake up,’ as it were, from that state (do you know what I mean by this? I hope so, for it is glorious).
If you ever find yourself in a ‘dream’ state like this, experiencing beautiful peace, and even ripples of it, then, don’t be quick to rush out of it — no matter what the boss says, no matter what the time says, no matter what anyone or anything or any circumstance at all says! (Often I have, but, in time, you learn from these things.) As an example, I might be driving in my car, and the Holy Spirit has ‘come upon me’ suddenly as I pass by this store, so that I am all-of-a-sudden truly ‘enveloped’, and wholly ‘basked’, in the presence of God’s supernatural Holy Spirit — a Spirit of love and gentleness and peace and assurance — and then, as I continue to drive in my car, and then pass by that store — and the further I get away from that store — well, then, the peace all of a sudden leaves me, and I feel a depression in my spirit!
Well, then, this is what I am talking about. I am talking about seeking guidance through God’s supernatural, and perfectly abiding, peace (the world has no idea what it’s all about, but it is the most amazing thing in this world!). In the above instance — since this happens to me now on a regular basis, and I am getting used to it — well, then, I simply made a U turn at the following intersection and headed back to that store, and, immediately — as soon as I had made that U turn — the peace began to return to me in full force! The outcome of that encounter was that the Lord led me to one of many stores in a shopping mall, where I met with a fellow Christian, to whom I was able to impart a blessing, and receive one in return, by way of our mutual conversation of encouragement.
This, then, is what I mean by ‘reaching backwards’ in this context. It is — when the peace seems to leave you — to return (physically, if necessary) to that very spot where you ‘last had the peace.’ In my own case, it was to return to that particular intersection ‘right there down the road’ where I felt such tremendous blessing come upon me suddenly, where my mind was all clear, where it seemed as if the heavens were truly opened. And, yes, the heavens WERE truly opened, for when I went back to that very spot where it ‘all happened’ just ‘moments before’, it all came back to me.
Before leaving this article, may I simply share with you that this type of guidance is to be considered ‘dynamic’, ‘real time’ guidance — it’s not something to base decisions from the past on, for that is not what it is intended for. If you are following the Holy Spirit, then God will give it to you. If your single and only and entirely devoted purpose in life is to live by God’s rules (found in the Bible) and to do things God’s way (as found in the Bible), then, yes, God will be glad to give it to you. You will ‘never be the same.’ But it is not for the selfish, or for the misguided, or for the rebellious, or for unbelievers, for they all do not desire to glorify God: they will not get it. Desire, then, to do things God’s way. Seek to live by his standards. Make it your aim to be pleasing to him in every way. And yes, I am certain that God will also be leading you in this way, and, ever increasingly, as the days go by.
‘For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.’ (Romans 8:14)