I grew up in a good church and am grateful to this day that my Mom drove my siblings and me by churches that did not honor God’s Word to get to this down-to-earth church. One Sunday morning the Pastor who grew up in small town Mississippi described how to plow a straight line, “Pick out a spot, such as a tree or fence post, at the end of the field (sometimes hundreds of yards away) and never take your eyes off of it. Keep focused and never look back.” Prior to this sermon, I had visualized a farmer looking back making sure that the furrows plowed were straight. The opposite is true. The farmer loses his perspective unable to drive straight and ends up making a mess. To plow a beautiful, functional field with straight furrows the farmer sets his focus, keeps his focus and never looks back. Driving a tractor while looking backwards is a disaster.
In Luke 9:62, “Jesus replied, No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’” Living life is like plowing a field. Trying to live life looking backwards leads to a dysfunctional, crooked mess.
In Philippians 3:13&14, Paul gives clear guidance how to live out life, “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
- “Forget what is behind.” Many of us are stuck in the past: a broken relationship, cheated by a partner, growing up in a dysfunctional environment, fighting through addictions and/or abuse, etc. leading to fear, uncertainty, and doubt. We must get our eyes off the past. If not, our lives will never be functional, peaceful, happy, prosperous; instead, we will stay and remain in a funk. Much to our travail, the funk will increasingly become darker. Ecclesiastes 1:15 declares, “What is crooked cannot be straightened; what is lacking cannot be counted.” Focusing on your problems will never fix them.
- “Strain toward what is ahead.” Get out of the past and “press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called (you) heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 12:1&2 gives us clear direction, “Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus.” Like a good farmer, throw off the urge to look back and run the race of life that God wants for us “fixing our eyes on Jesus.”
Colossians 3:2 encourages us with additional insight, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. 3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” Set your focus, keep your focus, and never look back
Do you want out of your rut? Your inclination is to keep focusing on your problems which lead only to hurts, habits and hang-ups. Get your eyes off your problems and set them on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Don’t look back!