Have you ever been stuck in traffic when you can’t do anything but sit, breathing the smoke from the cars around you? It is not fun or enjoyable. But there is something much worse than being stuck in the traffic. It is when our lives, our minds, and our emotions are so deeply stuck in the past they can paralyze us at any moment. Even as Christians painful moments in our past can have more influence over our lives than the truth that we are in Christ.
Two areas where we can get stuck in our lives are: Pride and Pain.
“Don’t you know what I have done? Don’t you know who I am?” This is a major problem for a person who doesn’t want to be forgotten. The one who feels like he or she is not being appreciated. They are not interested in the future generation. In fact, many stand in the way of the next generation advancing the Kingdom instead of having the same thought and desire Jesus expressed to His disciples when He said, “You will do even greater things than I have done” (John 14:12).
Some leaders are so impressed with what they have done it seems like they wrongfully believe God gave to them the same promise He gave to Solomon when he became king.
I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have
been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. - I Kings 3:12
Paul saw his life differently. When he reviewed his past with its accomplishments, he concluded those were nothing compared to what He had experienced in Christ (Phil. 3:7-9). After he met Christ, everything he did, he did for the Lord and not for people or praise (Col. 3:23). Taking a look at John the Baptist, he knew he wasn’t the Messiah, but rather, a voice preparing the way for Jesus (John 1:23).
Life can be painful. That pain can come from many sources and reach so deeply into our inner lives, it often seems to impact our lives more deeply than our Christian experience.
Our past could include damaging words, physical abuse, and abandonment. Many times, those we looked up to were pouring these painful experiences into our young lives. Or maybe it was a failed marriage, the death of a child, or a prayer God didn’t answer. For others, it is the remembrance of the pain they caused others by their words, actions, or absences, and they can’t forgive themselves. Though these things happened years or even decades ago, they can suddenly be reawakened, and we find ourselves paralyzed…stuck in our past.
REGRET TO REDEMPTION
Peter could have easily been stuck in the past. Knowing he had denied Jesus at a crucial moment in Jesus’ life, could have been a forever regret, a deep "never to go away pain" where there was never a "do over," or a chance to say, "I'm sorry." But Jesus took the pain of regret by fixing Peter a fish dinner and simply asking, “Do you love me? (John 21:15-17), then He said to Peter, “Follow me.” No more regrets.
Paul had every reason to be stuck in the past because he “was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man…(but) the grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus” (I Tim. 1:12-14).
When we realize we are stuck because of pride or pain, we should immediately change our focus and fix our attention on those moments when Christ’s grace and love became real in our lives, and like Thomas at the moment when Jesus was most real to him, he declared, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).
Right now is the time to decide to focus our lives on SOMEONE, Christ Jesus, who is alive and is here for you today.
Do you find yourself focused on regrets? Are you stuck in the pride or pain of your past? Do you need to fix your attention to Christ? Write me or comment below on ways you can do so today.
On the journey with you, I am,