WISDOM FOR LIVING DAILY DEVOTIONAL
JANUARY 11, 2023
TOPIC: DON’T DWELL ON THE PAST
BY T. O. BANSO
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (Isaiah 43:18-19 New International Version).
Human life is in three phases: the past, the present, and the future. The year 2022 and previous years belong to the past. Whatever happened in the past, good or bad, is in the past. While we can have fond memories of the good things that happened in the past and probably enjoy in the present the blessings of the past, there is nothing anyone can do to change whatever went wrong in the past. You can’t change the fact that you messed up some things or made some mistakes or bad decisions.
Many people dwell a lot on the past and hinder themselves from moving forward and doing great things with their lives. They are stuck and trapped in the past. While you should not live in denial of the pain of the consequences of bad decisions or errors of judgment of the past, you must not continue to cry over spilt milk. What has happened has happened. There is nobody who has never failed. You should learn useful lessons from past events but don’t spend too much time looking backward. Derive the necessary lessons, put the past behind you, and, with faith in God, move forward with your life.
To dwell on the past is to think too much about the past so that it becomes a problem. People who are guilty of this sometimes blame themselves even for the faults of others. Dwelling on the past leads to self-guilt, self-condemnation, bitterness, lack of progress, anxiety, depression, and, sometimes, suicidal thoughts. Dwelling on the past is wasting your time on things you cannot change.
Dwelling on the past is like continuing to look through the rear-view mirror while driving and neglecting the windshield. It’s necessary to see the traffic behind you but you should focus more on what is in front. That’s where you’re going. Dwelling on the past is a distraction. Look forward. Why are you dwelling on the past when that’s not where you’re going? Focus on where you’re going.
God told Samuel not to continue to mourn for Saul, whom he had anointed as the first king of Israel but whom God rejected because of his disobedience. “Now the LORD said to Samuel, ‘How long will you mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go; I am sending you to Jesse the Bethlehemite. For I have provided Myself a king among his sons’” (1 Samuel 16:1 New King James Version).
How long are you going to be crying over what happened in the past? You must not allow what happened in the past to rob you of what God wants to do in your present. God can give you today much more than what you lost and you’re mourning over.
Samuel stopped mourning for Saul. He obeyed God and went to anoint David as his successor. David was far better than Saul as king. God wants to do something better for you than what you’re mourning and lamenting over. You may have failed an exam or lost a job, or you were jilted or disappointed. That’s not the end of life. Stop dwelling on the past. Have faith in God. He will do something better for you. You will have other opportunities. You will secure another job. You will pass that exam next time. God will give you better relationships.
Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland” (New International Version). Take note of the phrase “do not dwell on the past.”
The Good News Translation also renders verse 18 thus: “Do not cling to events of the past or dwell on what happened long ago.” GOD’S WORD Translation says, “Forget what happened in the past, and do not dwell on events from long ago.” Forget the past; don’t dwell on past events.
Let go of the past, including past failures, past hurt, and bad decisions. Ask God for forgiveness and forgiveness from others. Also, forgive others and forgive yourself. Face the reality of what has happened that you cannot change. Make the right decisions on how to go forward with your life today, leaving the past behind you.
For many years, Abraham and Sarah lived as husband and wife but one day, 127-year-old Sarah died (Genesis 23:1-2). No doubt, it was a great loss to Abraham and he mourned for her. “Then Abraham stood up from before his dead, and spoke to the sons of Heth, saying, ‘I am a foreigner and a visitor among you. Give me property for a burial place among you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight’” (verses 3-4 New King James Version).
Abraham faced the reality that Sarah was gone and he couldn’t change the fact that she had died. He buried his dead out of his sight. You, too, must know when you must bury your dead out of your sight. It may be a dead business, relationship, or whatever. You must know when to let go and stop mourning. Abraham’s request was granted, and he buried Sarah.
Some people are yet to bury their dead out of their sight. That’s why the pain remains fresh. Some have buried their dead but they keep exhuming them! They don’t allow their dead to rest in peace! In other words, they’re always talking about what has died in their lives thus they don’t allow the wound to heal; it continues to be fresh. Bury your dead out of your sight! Forget the past. Avoid talking about it. Keep away from anything or anyone that can make you dwell on the past you’re trying to forget.
Don’t dwell on the past. Don’t let the past rob you of today’s opportunities. Abraham did not just bury his dead out of his sight, after some time he also married another wife. “Abraham again took a wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bore him Zimran, Jokshan, Medan, Midian, Ishbak, and Shuah” (Genesis 25:1-2 New King James Version). If he had continued to dwell on the past, he wouldn’t have married another wife.
Don’t dwell on the past. Bury your dead out of your sight! After Cain had killed his brother, Abel, Adam and Eve must have been devastated by this great loss. Nevertheless, they didn’t continue to dwell on the past. Genesis 4:25 says, “And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, ‘For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed’” (New King James Version). Take note of the phrase “For God has appointed another seed for me instead of Abel, whom Cain killed.” Believe God for the new thing He has appointed for you in place of what has died or you’ve lost.
David also didn’t continue to mourn the death of the son Bathsheba gave birth to from their adulterous relationship. “So David arose from the ground, washed and anointed himself, and changed his clothes; and he went into the house of the LORD and worshiped. Then he went to his own house; and when he requested, they set food before him, and he ate” (2 Samuel 12:20 New King James Version). David’s action surprised his servants. He didn’t continue to dwell on the past. He moved on with his life.
God was taking the Israelites to the land He had promised them but they continued to dwell on the past, especially when they faced difficulties. Numbers 11:4:6 says, “Now the mixed multitude who were among them yielded to intense craving; so the children of Israel also wept again and said: ‘Who will give us meat to eat? We remember the fish which we ate freely in Egypt, the cucumbers, the melons, the leeks, the onions, and the garlic; but now our whole being is dried up; there is nothing at all except this manna before our eyes!’” (New King James Version).
Dwelling on the past distorted their view of the past. The Israelites forgot that although they were eating all the food they talked about, they were under oppression, and they had cried to God for deliverance (Exodus 2:23-25; 3:7-8). Ecclesiastes 7:10 says, “Don’t long for ‘the good old days.’ This is not wise” (New Living Translation). You cannot continue to live in the past when God wants to do a new thing for you and in you. Look forward to the better new days instead of singing about the good old days!
In Acts 1:15-26, the disciples didn’t continue to dwell on the past after the death of Judas Iscariot. They put it behind them and filled the vacancy his death had created. Matthias was chosen to replace him (Acts 1:15-26).
Don’t dwell on the past. Don’t look back; it will drag you back, not move you forward. Genesis 19:26 says Lot’s wife looked back behind him and became a pillar of salt. Don’t look back, except to derive useful lessons, and not to continue to regret or long for the “good old days.” Cooperate with God to enjoy the new things He wants to do in your life and for you this year and beyond.
If you are not born again, you need to give your life to Jesus now. I urge you to take the following steps: *Admit that you are a sinner and you cannot save yourself and repent of your sins. *Confess Jesus as your Lord and Saviour. *Renounce your past way of life – your relationship with the devil and his works. *Invite Jesus into your life. *As a mark of seriousness to mature in the faith, start attending a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church. There they will teach you how to grow in the Kingdom of God.
Kindly say this prayer now: O Lord God, I come unto You today. I know I am a sinner and I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died on the cross to save me and God raised Him on the third day. I repent of my sins and confess Jesus as my Lord and Saviour. I surrender my life to Jesus now and invite Him into my heart. By this prayer, I know I am saved. Thank You, Jesus, for saving me and making me a child of God.
I believe you have said this prayer from your heart. Congratulations! You will need to join a Bible-believing and Bible-teaching church in your area where they will teach you how to live your new life in Christ Jesus. I pray that you flourish like a palm tree and grow like a cedar of Lebanon. May you grow into Christ in all things and become all God wants you to be. I will be glad to hear from you. The Lord be with you.
PRAYER POINTS: Holy Spirit, help me not to dwell on the past. My life shall not be stuck and trapped in the past in Jesus’ name. Father, I shall cooperate with you for the birth of the new things you want to do in my life. Let the new things you have ordained for me this year become a reality in Jesus’ name. Make a way for me even in the desert and streams in the wasteland.
(For over 900 in-depth and powerful messages by T. O. Banso, visit www.cedarministry.org).
T. O. Banso is the President of Cedar Ministry International, Abuja, Nigeria.
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