We are already two weeks into 2018. As one journeys on, what expectations and hopes does one have? What are the memories one wants to carry forward from 2017, and which would one rather forget or do over?
Sadly, in many cases moving from one year to the next demands a lot more than turning the page on a calendar. It sometimes involves feelings of regret, even remorse. So, as we hope for good things to come, how do we deal with deeds or circumstances we wish we could undo, or at least remove from our memories? God’s Word gives us some helpful principles to consider:
Don’t let the past be in control. Realizing we have not yet “arrived,” that we still have dreams to pursue and goals to achieve, we cannot move forward by continuing to concentrate on the past. The apostle Paul wrote, “Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” Phil. 3:13, 14. Perhaps it is the inability to let go of past success and fame and the pressures to achieve perfection that led to the suicide of singer Kim Jong Hyun from K-pop boyband, SHINee.
Our future does not need be a carbon copy of the past. We can learn valuable lessons from the past, including our failures, but then we must not get “stuck” by giving them too much attention. Prophet Isaiah reminded his people of God’s promise, “Remember not the former things nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (Isa 43:18, 19).
Trust God’s power to transform. “New and improved” is a popular promise for many products. Sometimes that is what we desire for ourselves. We do not want just a minor ‘make over’ but a thorough going transformation. Paul reminds us in Romans 12:1, 2, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:1, 2).
By applying the above principles to our lives, our days ahead will indeed be filled with praise to the glory of God! .
Rev. Mark Tay