But he knows not that the shades of the dead are there [specters haunting the scene of past transgressions], and that her invited guests are [already sunk] in the depths of Sheol (the lower world, Hades, the place of the dead). - (Proverbs 9:18)
This scripture sounds like a scene from an old horror flick. I see it as a warning; there is an evil that is subtle as a ghost. The definition of ghost in this particular scripture is: a returning or haunting memory or image.
Our Christian life can be a living dichotomy. We have this lingering ghost that follows us and his name is “the past”. On the other end of the spectrum we have a future named “freedom”. And there is a campaign we vaguely understand raging between the two. It’s a battle not fought with swords or guns. It’s a tug of war… in your mind. A reckless jerking of faith and fear like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind until we are at the verge of abandoning all hope for our God given future.
Picture yourself with your arms fully stretched out. In one hand you are holding the end of a rope that is pulling you toward an extraordinary future. A wondrous life specifically designed for you and offers everything you need to live a full life. In the other hand you are holding a chain that’s pulling you toward a fiery furnace that consumes any sign of joy, peace and hope. You lean toward the “freedom” but keep holding on to “the past”.
Revelation 3:16 (The Message) “You're stale. You're stagnant. You make me want to vomit.”
Adam Clarke writes in his commentary about this scripture: “It’s a state of confusion and being unsure of how to act or proceed; undecided where you are with God.”
Unsure of where you are with God positions you to be the man in the middle. Holding on to “the past” makes you stale and stagnant and makes the Lord sick to His stomach. I believe the Lord is sick to His stomach because He knows we cannot effectively live the full life He has for us while holding on to “the past”.
[For being as he is] a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides]. James 1:8 (AMP)
This scripture describes much of my past as a Christian. I was the man in the middle. I could see my future, but the past kept luring me back to the ashes of condemnation. This lead to an irresolute, undecided and careless thought process. I wanted more for my life but never made a solid plan to move forward.
Do you feel like the man in the middle, stale and stagnant? Are holding on to condemnation and guilt (the past)? If so, here are some suggestions to help you move forward.
+ Recognize you are stuck.
If you are not moving forward, you’re stuck.
+ Fight condemnation.
Holding on to your past is like being mentally abused and not
doing anything about it.
Spend time in prayer and meditation and speak against
condemnation using the Word of God. (2 Corinthians 10:5)
+ Resolute that you will move forward.
Colossians 3:2 (Amp) says: “And set your minds and keep them
set on what is above (the higher things), not on the things
that are on the earth.” In other words, don’t let your mind
hang out with “the past”. “The past” is dead and in the depths
of hell, attempting to drag you down with it.
I encourage you to take a good look at your walk with the Lord. Ask yourself, “Am I a description of what James wrote? Am I a person of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute), [he is] unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything [he thinks, feels, decides]?”
If this describes you, be courageous and fight the battle that wars in your mind. Use your faith and believe you have been given “freedom”. Do the work it takes to let go of “the past”, set your mind on giving God your all and no longer being the man in the middle.