I wish I had a time machine. Then I could go back into time and fix some of the things that I have done and said. Many of us I believe have felt this way before. You look back at something that happened, a decision you made, or at something you said and did, and wish you could take it back. You wish you could have a “do-over”. Unfortunately, at some point we realize that there are no “do-over’s” in life. What is done is done, what is said is said, what has happened has happened.
Yesterday, I found myself bringing up the past again. I found myself going over what I should have done instead of what I actually did. I started to regress into my thoughts and began rehashing in my mind all the things that had happened. Then it hit me that there was no time machine, all that had happened was in the past and that is where it needed to stay. As I was praying this morning for the Lord to help me lay it all down again, and not to pick it back up, a passage of scripture came into my heart.
“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14
Paul says that he has not apprehended, which can mean many different things. But this morning, to me, the Lord showed me that even Paul struggled with his past. We all struggle with our past. We all struggle with the choices we have made, the things we have said and done, we all have a past and we all struggle with it. But Paul states that even though he may not have complete victory over his past, he does do one thing, he keeps the past buried and reaches forward to Christ. This led me to another verse in scripture.
“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
There are no “do-over’s” my sister. Those days that we wish we could have done differently, those words you wish you could take back, those dreams you wished you had followed, and those decisions you wished you would have made or not made- they are in the past. There are no “do-over’s” with Christ because we are always to be moving forward. Just like Paul states to us, reaching forward and pressing toward.
Back in the good old days, they would hook up their oxen or their horse to the plow and off they would go. If they looked back over their shoulder, the plow would begin to swerve and become crooked. The more one looked back, the less straight the row became. This applies to us today as well, as we look back over our lives and into our past, rehashing the should have‘s. When we look over our shoulder, we too begin to plow crooked paths; we swerve, fall down and trip over the rocks in the field. But Jesus tells us that we are to put our hands to the plow and keep plowing forward.
If you look up in your concordance in the back of your Bible you will not find the words, “I wished I had, or I wished I hadn’t.” There are no wishing words in the bible. It is always and only by faith. There is no wishing for things to be different, because, if we believe His word, then everything that happens has happened to His knowledge and for His glory. There is no wishing, there is only walking forward in the hope and knowledge of Jesus Christ. What’s done is done, it happened for a reason, for a purpose predetermined by God. If we keep looking back over our shoulder, we will miss blessing the Lord has waiting ahead for us.
Hebrews 12:2 tells us that Jesus went to the cross for the joy that was set before Him. It was not what was behind that brought Him joy, but what was ahead. He did not carry that cross and look behind Him; He kept His eyes forward and kept plowing ahead until He accomplished what God the Father set Him upon earth to do. We have the greatest example in Christ through this. We must keep walking, we must keep looking at what is ahead and not focus on what is behind. If we keep looking over our shoulder at the past then we will find ourselves off on a crooked path and eventually, flat on our face.
Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:18 that “we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” We are to not look at what is seen, our present and past circumstances. We are to look at that which is not seen, the faith and hope we have in Jesus Christ. The things which are seen, our past and present circumstances are temporal, they will fade away, but what we do not see, the hope and faith we have in Jesus Christ will bring us to the kingdom of God and His grace and His mercy, where, in His time, He will reveal to us that even in our mistakes and failures He was working on our behalf. (Romans 8:28)