Luke 9:62 – “But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” NKJV
The title and the text have some wiggle room to attain the message I desire to present in this short devotional. Truly, if one looks back at their past longingly and regrets or pines for the pleasures of sin that is an awful place and fits squarely in the word of our Lord in the above passage. That is something I would want everyone to hold in the forefront of their consciousness but not specifically what I desire to present today.
I have said and heard others say, “If only I could be eighteen again knowing what I know now.” There is both good and bad in that statement but at its foundation, there is a wrong frame of mind. The past is the past and time once lived cannot be recovered. It is gone! Paul, told the Philippians that he knew he had not achieved spiritual perfection but was continuously reaching for the prize. He emphasized that in pressing forward he refused to look back. Lessons are learned in our experiences but they should never become a point of focus that we keep before us. Learn the lesson, implement the learned and move forward.
Eighteen is so far in my rearview mirror that I can barely remember it and although I made many mistakes at that stage of my life and have often wondered how different my life would have been and be had those mistakes not been made. I dwell there only momentarily for almost immediately the Holy Spirit reminds me that my path led me to Christ and eternal redemption. I made several choices after high school to try and avoid Vietnam and with each choice something changed that kept my path headed to Southeast Asia where I spent the year of 1967. I wanted to be a pilot but that didn’t happen although I had opportunity to cross branches and learn to fly helicopters. Had I been assured of flight school in the Air Force or crossed branches and trained as a helicopter pilot my life could have and probably would have been dramatically different if I had survived. Experiences in childhood, high school, military and afterward conditioned my heart to hear the tugging of the Holy Spirit and the wonder of salvation. I would not change that for anything so I do not want to be eighteen again.
Some want to be eighteen again or any age younger than their present years because they fear the eventuality of death. Death is a horror if you do not know the LORD in salvation and forgiveness but holds not sting or threat if we do. We know that it is simply a promotion, sleep and/or transition from the physical reality to spiritual and eternal reality. If it were possible to turn back the clock, travel back in time and be eighteen again where is the guarantee one would make the right choices and still arrive at the desired destination. The desire is somewhat rooted in vanity but even more concerning is it expresses a lack of peace. It expresses a lack of contentment with where our lives are now. It expresses a desire to be god and in control rather than walking in faith and obedience to the Father.
We are on an eternal journey and reaching the finish line is not an undesirable thing. Rather than wishing, we could return to the days of youth let’s focus on making the remaining days of our lives productive and full. I desire to LIVE not ENDURE. I desire to savor every moment of the remaining days and my prayer is that the LORD enable me to fulfill my purpose in this generation. I want to be a vessel the Master can and does use to touch lives for God and good.
Never focus on the past but keep your eyes on the prize that is before! The end of the race is better than the beginning! May God bless you, guard and guide you as you walk through this day in Him! Blessings!