Daily Thought - God Does Not Want You Living With Regret

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by anthony wade, Oct 2, 2012.

  1. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. – Philippians 3: 13-14 (NLT)

    Søren Kierkegaard, a 19th century existential philosopher is quoted as saying, “I see it all perfectly; there are two possible situations - one can either do this or that. My honest opinion and my friendly advice is this: do it or do not do it - you will regret both.” I expect as much coming from the man who suggested that the human race had outgrown Christianity. In fact – that is exactly what I would expect from someone who thinks that humans have outgrown the need for a Savior. The problem is that there are far too many Bible believing Christians who struggle with the pain of regret in their lives. Sadder still is the feeling that it is some kind of cross they must bear until Jesus comes and takes them home. Nonsense!

    Let us all realize today that everyone could live with regrets. That is the nature of humanity in a fallen world. Our lives are made up of choices. Some of those choices are inconsequential and some are of dire importance. Some are big and some are small. Some we will choose right and some we will choose wrong. Some will determine the very course our life takes. We will look back on some of these choices and wish we had done something different. Wish we had taken the other path. This is normal. It is the pre-occupation with the choices and the continuing pain we experience that is not the plan God has for our lives. How do we know? Because the Bible tells us so!

    I look first to Peter, who had made the most regretful decision anyone could have made when he denied even knowing Christ three times, despite Jesus predicting he would. Here was what had happened after the third denial, where he literally called curses down upon himself:

    At that moment the Lord turned and looked at Peter. Suddenly, the Lord’s words flashed through Peter’s mind: “Before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will deny three times that you even know me.” And Peter left the courtyard, weeping bitterly. – Luke 22: 61-62 (NLT)

    Can you imagine the moment? You just spent three years walking with and learning under the man you know and believe to be the Son of God; the Christ. He specifically warned you that you would deny Him despite your bravado. Then He stares right at you, as His prediction comes true. Over the next few days you watch as He is killed in one of the most gruesome manners ever concocted by the devious working of the human mind and then buried. You never got a chance to say you were sorry. You never got a chance to beg His forgiveness. The last time He saw you was when you were denying you even knew Him, just to protect your own skin. If that is not a recipe for regret, I do not know what is. Yet how long did Jesus allow Peter to wallow? Now very long at all according to Scripture:

    Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.” – Mark 16: 7 (NLT)

    Whose words are these? The angel that greeted the women who went to the tomb on Resurrection Sunday! The first order of business? Tell the disciples that He has risen and is going ahead of you into Galilee! And don’t forget to include Peter! God hasn’t forgotten him! Make sure you tell Peter! The Lord doesn’t want any regret setting in because He has many more works for Him to do! Hallelujah!

    And God always has more for us to do and higher levels of blessing for us if we are properly focused on Him in the here and now. This brings us to the key verses for today. The Apostle Paul writing his letter to the Church at Philippi. What is amazing about this statement is that he is now in prison in Rome and knows that the end of his life is near. Yet there is no regret – only expectancy. Within these two verses are God’s instructions for us when it comes to regret. Paul could have had a lot of regret. We know that he always remembered how he had once persecuted the church and many including myself believe it may have been the thorn that haunted his life. But there is a difference between not forgetting the poor decisions of our lives and allowing ourselves to live in regret.

    According to the verses, the first and most important step in dealing with regret is in to check where our mind is focused. Too often beloved we live in our past. We allow ourselves to be chained to our past. Bad decisions, bad marriages, lost loved ones. Things we wished we had done differently. Things we wished we had said. In Peter’s case, things we wished we had not said. The only one who wants us living in our past is the devil. Why? Because he knows there is absolutely nothing we can do about what has already passed. All living in your past can do is rob you of your future. I do not care how old we get or our own negative view or ourselves and our abilities – God does not see us that way. There is someone who can always benefit from our wisdom and our trials. The Bible says that God does not waste a single tear that we shed. Peter may have thought his future was over but God had so much more for him to do. He did not know it yet but he would give the first sermon of the church and see 3000 people saved in one day. He would go on to preach the Gospel and die on a cross standing up for His Savior.

    That brings us to the second part of the focus. It is not just enough avoid focusing on the past. We must choose to focus on what lies ahead. The verses actually say we must look forward to what lies ahead. We need to anticipate the great and mighty works God wants to do through us. The human mind is apt to wander. If we sit alone long enough it will wander into areas we do not want it to, such as areas of regret. We must choose to focus on the future; trusting the God we serve will be faithful to complete what He has started!

    The last part of not living in regret is action. The first two parts deal with our focus and our thought life but now we see that we must actually do something. We must “press on” into the future God has for us. Too often we can sit idly by and claim we are waiting on the Lord and sometimes God does want us to be still. But more often than not He is waiting for us to move in faith. Paul was in chains, surrounded by Roman soldiers. If anyone had cause to say it was over – it was Paul. Instead though, he recognized that he needed to press on, so he wrote his letters extensively and witnessed to the very people who were imprisoning him! He had no idea when he penned the letters that they would become the New Testament! Think about that for a minute. When we are busy about the Lord’s business we may not know what fruit might be borne later on for our pressing on.

    Beloved there is nothing you can do about your past except learn from it. Regret will consume your present and blind you from your future. God has something better for you! Jesus said He came to give you the abundant life now! That abundant life is not filled with regret it is filled with blessings. The very thing that you regret is the very thing that Jesus died on an old wooden cross for. He wants to take it from you today. Focus in anticipation towards what God has for you in the future and press on into it!

    Rev. Anthony

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