Don’t Look Back
There are several common themes that run throughout the Bible. The most important is God’s redemptive work through Jesus Christ. All other themes are tied closely to that central them of redemption. One of the themes that seems very important to me is the theme of not going back. We see it most clearly in the stories of the Hebrew nation found in Genesis and Exodus. God calls Abraham (then known as Abram) and Sara (Sarai) his wife out of the land of Ur to go to a land that God would show them – the promised land. Abraham gathered all of his family and started toward the promised land. It was a long journey. It was about a 1100-mile journey. That’s a big trip. It’s about the distance of traveling from Dayton to Austin, Texas. But Abraham trusted God, he didn’t look back, he followed the path laid out by God. Later, when it was time for his son Isaac to take a wife, Abraham sent his servant to go back to his people to get a wife for Isaac. The servant is concerned about failing and Abraham told him, “Make sure that you do not take my son back there.” When Lot and his family are fleeing Sodom, they are instructed to not look back – his wife does and it cost her life. When Moses leads the people out of Egypt, the people are so happy. They had been in captivity for so long and life was so hard. But it wasn’t long until they started looking back and longing for captivity in Egypt. That didn’t turn out well for them, they couldn’t enjoy the hope of the future and the anticipation of the promised land. Their longing for what they left, drove them to rebellion and sin and they lost their lives. I think you get the point, looking back, worse yet, trying to get back or even succeeding and going back leads to death.
We are at the beginning of a new year and many of us make new year’s resolutions around this time of the year. There seems to be a running joke about how long we hold out before forsaking the resolutions and returning to our old ways. But living with our God is not a matter of jokes and new year’s resolutions. Living with God is not simply about spending less, learning something new, losing weight, sleeping more, picking up a new hobby, or whatever else we might make as a New Year’s resolution. Living with God is about life and death and the instruction that God gave the ancients is still an instruction for us today. Don’t look back. When we accept the redemptive work of Christ, that means when we accept the grace and forgiveness of Christ on the cross and become a Christ follower we are given a new life. The apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:17; “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
Don’t look back – it’s as simple and as hard as that. Don’t look back. The life you left might be more familiar. You might even think that you were in control of your life. You may have even been experiencing the successes of this world, but the successes of this world are not the things that are found in eternity. Christ has set you free from a life that leads to death. Christ has healed the relationship between you and God. Christ has given you a new life and a new direction that is headed toward the promised land. So don’t look back. There is nothing in your life before Christ that is worth returning to. If Christ has set you free, be free, free to experience the abundance of life that is found in Christ. For this is the perfect will God for each of us, in this New Year, and every year!!