September 25, 2019
Trying to relive the past is not only impossible, it can be a dangerous mental exercise. As we grow older, it is easy to fall into a routine of saying, “We used to” or, “When I was in charge” or maybe, “In the good old days.” I have never understood what that means, because each segment of our life has good days and not-so-good ones. I hope that the sum of our life experience has more good times than not.
Experience is a wonderful teacher. It is important to learn from the past, which is different than trying to relive it. When we remember good choices, it can help us continue the pattern. Recalling poor choices should help us avoid repeating mistakes. The goal is to look back over our life experience and feel joy.
When King David walked on the palace roof and struggled with lust, he needed to consider how he would feel about his potential actions later on if he acted on his desires. A realistic view of the damage he would do to his family, his followers and his reputation might have kept him from the actions he pursued.
Joseph, when offered an illicit relationship, ran from it. He viewed the option as a sin against God as well as humans. For a time, while in prison, he might have wondered if God remembered Him, but we know the rest of the story. He looked back with joy as he was honored for his decision.
Evaluating immediate fulfillment alongside long-term consequences is a challenge for all humans in our life journey. Consider Adam and Eve in the Garden. We need to discipline ourselves to ask, “Will I be happy with this decision when I look back on it?” The Bible is filled with helpful examples. We can also find someone to talk to who will have relevant counsel.
God wants us to have joy today and to have a future that looks back with joy as much as possible. I am grateful for His patience and faithfulness all the time.
Pastor Bill Ehmann