But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
It is tempting at times to look back, but Jesus warned us about it. He used the example of a man plowing a field. The farmer must keep his eyes fixed on the ground before him, if his furrow is to be straight. To look back is to go astray and maybe worse—to run into a rock, tree or fence post!
We must not be LIMITED by our past. We all have a past—some of it is good, some of it is bad. There are decisions we ought not to have made—and we may still be living with the consequences. Life has no rewind button. Regret will only hinder us from getting where we need to go. “Don’t cry over spilt milk!” is the old saying. On second thought, maybe you do cry with remorse, confess in repentance, but then claim forgiveness and move on. Failure need not be final. The pages of the Bible are filled with men and women of faith who messed up, but moved ahead.
We cannot LIVE in the past. This is the polar opposite of limiting ourselves by past failures—it is relying on previous successes. This happens when we do not succumb to regret, but nostalgia. It is, “The good old days” syndrome. We idolize the way it used to be—which is seldom as good as we imagined anyway—and this hinders us from embracing the opportunity of the present time.
Paul had this wonderful resolve,
Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)
Let’s grab the plow handles firmly, look straight ahead, and go! Don’t look back!