Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Don’t Look Back (04/19/12)
- TITLE: Watch Where You're Going
By Doug Laird
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Likewise, inordinate concentration on one’s past sins and failures will impede the forward progress of any advancing disciple.
Satan is well aware of the negative impact that the sin of guilt or the fear of exposure can have.
In 2Cor.13:5, advancing disciples are commanded to periodically evaluate the direction of their spiritual lives.
2Cor.13:5 evaluations are not to be based on how we feel. Too many things can deceitfully influence our feelings.
During periods of peak adversity, we may even be so numb that we incapable of feeling anything!
Spiritual self-examinations are to be based on the nature (human vs. divine) of the more recent fruit that has been produced in our lives.
There is no fruit cocktail or mixed bowls of fruit in the spiritual realm.
At any given time, its either God (John 15:5) producing the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22, 23) through us, or its we who are producing the fruit of the fallen nature (Gal 5:19, 20, 21).
It is when we get out of fellowship with God that the erroneous alternative solutions of religion, morality, and good human deeds become most appealing.
In Philippians 3:13, we have the counter-balancing passage for Galatians 3:15.
Philippians 3:13 encourages believers to forget what lies behind and to reach forward to what lies ahead.
Ecclesiastes 3 teaches that there is a time for everything, and then goes on to provide several illustrations where diametrically opposed guidance is given.
It takes the discernment of spiritual maturity to perceive which one of the two choices we are to make.
There is a time to reflect on the past, and there is a time to focus on what God desires to accomplish through us (John 15:5) in the remaining time of our post salvation spiritual life.
The most important reason for a look back is to insure that we are not living in a known sin involving some thought, action, or inaction.
ANY such sin will take us out of fellowship (2Cor. 13, 14/Habakkuk 1:13) with God and deny us access to the enabling (John 15:5) power to produce divine good.
Post (after one is saved) salvation sin puts any production of divine good on hold until the known is confessed (1John 1:9/John 15:5).
For an advancing disciple, there is no sin worth being out of fellowship with God, including the sin of refusing to forgive others (Mark 11: 25, 26).
When a message that is being communicated through an advancing disciple cannot be refuted, the only course of action for those who reject it is to attack the integrity of the messenger.
We all have chapters and episodes of our lives that we would not want to be broadcasted to the world at large.
There will always be people willing to do the devil’s bidding by dredging up the past sins of an advancing disciple to discredit his/her testimony.
This was unjustly done to our Lord, but none of us can claim such innocence.
As sinners, we are all in the same stinking and sinking boat.
We do not all commit the same form of sin, but James 2:10 teach that when we break one of God’s laws, we stand as guilty as one who has broken them all.
Advancing disciples make it clear that it is not “our” message, but His that we communicate.
There is a practical need for the laws of Man to categorize crime and render an appropriate penalty for the each category.
This, however, is not divine viewpoint of sin (Habakkuk 1:13).
It’s a good spiritual exercise to think of the most heinous sin and wicked sinner imaginable, and then recall that James 2:10 teaches that each one of us is no better!
Thank God, that in His mercy and grace, we do not always incur all of the temporal consequences of our sin, but never forget that the justice of God required the spiritual death of our Lord’s humanity to atone for every sin that we, as individuals and collectively as a part of humanity, have committed.
Other than taking responsibility for the consequences we incur and learning from the sin that we chose to get involved with, focusing on the past is counter-productive.
Once a sin has been confessed, forsaken, and the lesson learned, it is then that we don’t look back, but look forward to, “…what lies ahead (Phil. 3:13)” in the course of our post salvation spiritual life.
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