Look Ahead

Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.

Proverbs 4:25 NIV

Many cannot see God’s plan for their lives because they are always looking backwards, thinking about the past. The past deals with what has been done, right or wrong. It lies in the unchangeable realm of memories.

Looking AheadYou can’t make progress in God’s plan if you are memory-centered, whether those memories are positive or negative.

Becoming memory-centered can be triggered by some event in your life, something that reminds you of an unfortunate incident or some mistake you’ve made in the past. “I wouldn’t be in this situation today if I had only finished college when I was young… if only my spouse hadn’t divorced me… if only I had stopped drinking sooner…”

Progress towards fulfilling God’s plan for your life slows to a halt when you take your eyes off what lies ahead and you stop to relive painful memories. Unforgiveness can stunt your growth. Hurts and resentments can keep you focused on yesterday, building and reinforcing the prison they hold you in.

Even fond memories may keep us from moving forward in God’s plan for our lives. When we focus on the good old days, or the way things used to be, we have still taken our eyes off the path before us. This type of nostalgia is often prompted by a disappointment with present circumstances, or fear of the future.

Paul said, “I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” (Php 3:13 NLT). Are you focusing all your energies on forgetting the past and looking forward to what God has for you?

You can’t be Kingdom-centered if you are memory-centered. Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Lk 9:62 NIV). You can’t plow a straight row unless you keep your eyes locked ahead of you. No matter how fondly you remember it, you will never reap another harvest from cornstalks that have already grown, ripened and been picked.

Sure, it’s easier to look back on what’s already been constructed—even if it was regrettably built incorrectly. What’s been done is more real, more tangible, more concrete than blueprints on the table.

Someone once asked the great architect Frank Lloyd Wright at the age of 83 what he thought his greatest architectural masterpiece was. Mr. Wright replied, “My next one.”

You can’t change the past, only your future. God’s plan for you always lies in the future, and it begins today. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer 29:11 NIV).

If you can correct the mistakes of the past, do so quickly to the best of your ability. If you’re harboring bitterness and resentment, let them go. Draw on Christ’s power to forgive. Then forget the past—good or bad—and “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called you heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Php 3:14 NIV). God is waiting for you there.

Jesus said, “Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you. For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. [And there is nothing buried that will not be raised.]”

Gospel of Thomas, verse 5
(Patterson and Meyer translation)

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