Forget the ‘Good Old Days’ and Press On!

It’s hard to run the race and press on to what lies ahead if we don’t let go of the past. For some of us, it’s about time to get rid of some excess baggage – and that includes idealizing parts of our past. According to the Bible, our best days are yet to come! Do you believe this? We must not dwell on the past – on the good times or bad – or we might miss what God wants to do in us right now (Is. 43:18-19).

Every day we’re alive is one day closer to Heaven and the return of Jesus Christ. As it is written:

“Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

We have such a bright hope, but with all that’s going on in this country, things can appear darker than ever. Biblical morality, common decency, and Godly values have eroded over many decades while religious freedom has been chipped away. But our faith does not rest in the things of this world.

When we make the quality decision to give our anxieties, past experiences, and concerns to the Lord, we can have a peace that passes all understanding which can guard our hearts and minds in Christ (Phil. 4:6-7). Jesus stated:

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

Remember Jesus Christ and Him crucified, and be encouraged by the truth of the resurrection. Victory! (1 Cor. 15:55-58)

It’s easy to think back on what we consider the “good old days” when times seemed brighter, carefree, and when people appeared more caring and optimistic. To some, America seemed like a more friendly, moral, safe, simpler place to live just 50 years ago. Unlike the fast-paced, impersonal, high-tech, Internet age today, there was a sense of community then. Churches, libraries, and playgrounds were always packed, and families spent quality of time together.

Times and seasons change; God does not.

Perhaps you’ve been hurt or have gone through bankruptcy, divorce, had an abortion, battled a serious disease or have experienced grief and loss in your life. Don’t dwell and don’t beat yourself up. This life is hard but it is temporary. Do we trust in Christ no matter what? The important thing is where we stand with God. It is appointed to every person a time to die and afterward, to face judgment (Heb. 9:27)

I’ve lost a sister (24), my dad (62), uncles, grandparents and friends; I am constantly reminded it’s just a matter of time before we look up as our redemption draws near!

For those tempted to often think about the good old days, God gives us some wise instruction:

Do not say, “Why is it that the former days were better than these?”
For it is not from wisdom that you ask about this. Ecclesiastes 7:10

Be honest. Have you heard someone reminisce about a fond memory and ask, ‘why were the old days better?’ Maybe you’ve done so yourself, perhaps with a sigh.

When we lose sight of the eternal, we fall into the trap of overvaluing the temporary. We think we should be comfortable, prosperous, and pain-free. This is the abundant life, we are told, which is a residual effect of American churchianity (not biblical Christianity) and “Your Best Life Now” theology. But does Scripture support these ideas?

Are we living for Christ with eternity in view, concerned about people’s souls or are we living for self and things of this world? The reality is life isn’t all fun, entertainment, roses, vacations, and laughs. Let’s regain our biblical perspective, grow in the grace of the Lord Jesus and understand our days are numbered.

A bit more from Ecclesiastes:

A good name is better than a good ointment,
And the day of one’s death is better than the day of one’s birth.
It is better to go to a house of mourning
Than to go to a house of feasting,
Because that is the end of every man,
And the living takes it to heart… (Eccl. 7:1-2)

It’s better to go to a funeral and get a reality check than go to a party. Why? Perspective. Death is a reminder for us (ten out of ten people die) so what are we doing with the life God has given us?

Some of us might look back and say those were happier times, while others had such horrific childhoods or painful life experiences, they’re doing the best to overcome the effects of the past. For the Christian, “to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). Joy is a fruit of the Spirit and the joy of the Lord is our strength. Happiness is temporary and depends on circumstances as well as our perception of things. True joy however, is a gift from God.

As for the direction of America and a culture that has abandoned truth, much has been written about what has happened to the church and the country. It seems we have generally fallen for creative rhetoric that would have us believe in nothing, but tolerate everything – except biblical Christianity. This is called conforming to the world (Rom. 12:2) rather than exercising godly influence.

Don’t look back; there’s enough to focus on right now.

Hold memories loosely, set your mind on things above, and live in the present – in His presence – so you can do the work God prepared for you to do. (Col. 3:1-2, Phil. 1:6, Eph. 2:10) Praise the Lord for His faithfulness.

Be thankful for how far God has brought you and for what He has allowed in your life. Keep the faith and always remember you and I are (still) here to glorify the name of Jesus and point people to salvation through Him.

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:11-14

Persevere, my friend; the crown of life awaits! May we be found faithful.

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