Don’t look back

By PASTOR STEVE PRIOLA, First Baptist Church 

“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing … I will make a way in the wilderness...(Isaiah 43:18,19).

So much time is wasted by looking back. In the world around us, there are voices calling us to dig up our past so we can be better in the future. But God’s word through Isaiah is clear: “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.” Apart from the lessons we’ve learned, there’s nothing to gain by staring in the rear-view mirror.

“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” God wants us on his newness program. This shouldn’t come as a surprise; the creator of the universe is constantly in creation mode. And his resurrection power can change every circumstance he touches.

Can you perceive the new thing that he’s doing in your life? Are you discerning the opportunities and open doors that “spring forth” from His hand? Sadly, not everyone has eyes to see his newness. If you’re busy looking over your shoulder in regret or fixating on if only, you’ll be blindsided by a new thing—or miss it altogether.

We have all made choices we’d like to change. But no amount of remorse can rewind the clock. It’s far better to repent where we haven’t and lay hold of God’s new things. The apostle Paul got this, look how he handled his past: “One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal” (Philippians 3:13,14a). Paul knew that if he was going to lay hold of the purpose for which Christ laid hold of him, he was going to have to forget some things.

Perhaps there is a pattern of sin in your life or an addiction you’re battling. Maybe you’re trapped in a fearful anxiety or a relational heartbreak that can’t seem to get to a better place. Stare too long and you may feel it’s hopeless. Here’s the good news, your situation is no surprise to the One who made you. God is patient with you. He’s not keeping tabs on how many times you mess up a relationship or fall into a particular sin. He knows everything about you and is acutely aware of how you are stuck.

Check this: “I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” God is basically saying, No wilderness is a match for me—I make rivers in the most impossible places. I will lift you out of the mire and pour new life into your parched spirit. Trust me.” God will make a way where there is no way. He can transform a lifeless desert into a life-giving opportunity. We are being overseen by a living Savior and everything he touches is new. In fact Paul, once again, stated it like this, “if any one is in Christ, old things pass away, behold all things will be come new.” The same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead can work his newness in your circumstances. Bring that dry, difficult, despair-inducing place to the Lord. Invite him to make a way in your wilderness with his loving newness—and don’t look back.