A reflection of the past can often stir a range of emotions. Venturing into this state can be positive or negative. In my personal experience I can testify of the struggle that occurs in my life and mind as a believer. The past plays a major part of how I’ve imagined the future, and ultimately has been a determining factor of how my future has played out. On a positive note, there can also be a positive resolve and hope for the future. Remembering the past, viewing the present, and seeing the future through the grace of Christ stirs the emotions of rejoice.
Over the past few weeks I’ve been reflecting on the tumult that came of a life that has long been dead to me, but still rears its ugly face from time to time to haunt or discourage me. I once heard an adage that said, “We get better, but the wreckage of our past will show up one day needing resolution.” In those times the most trying aspect of the experience becomes a battle with selfishness and lack of control over my future. These battles come as a result of my own heart’s desire to be the sovereign ruler of my life, and the ultimate judge of the direction it goes.
The proverbial phrase, “I wouldn’t trade that experience for all the money in the world” applies here. As I often cite this, I also often wonder if I could give the past back, would I? A resounding no often follows as I am grateful for the path I’ve had to tread in order to wind up at the foot of the cross. I trust my Lord would’ve brought me through any other circumstance and at His feet no matter the trial, but am glad that grace was the end result either way.
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does. The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.
As I’ve meditated on the thoughts provoked by this particular text, I’ve considered the freedom I enjoy now and see no point in sorrow over the disasters of the past that stir the brokenness of an old man and an old heart. Simply stated, no matter the former the latter is greater, for it is filled with the hope that is in Christ Jesus. The patience (Gal 5:22) provided from the Lord through His spirit has created the resolve that allows one to view the past with an optimistic lens and persevere forward with purpose, but only is that purpose realistic when its worked out through living and proclaiming the Gospel.