The apostle, Paul, said that, not looking back, but looking forward, he was pressing on (Philippians 3:13-14). But Jesus was talking to a man that wanted to go back and have closure with his family. Not knowing his reasoning, we can’t understand why he wanted to go back. Perhaps it was because he had left his family already to come and check Jesus out before he committed his life to follow him.
I think by asking to go back, he perhaps was showing a lack of faith. Also, going back to his family showed his heart was focussing on the regret that comes when we leave the comfort of our old lives to follow what we deem as a noble cause. He was not leaving his old ways and embracing whole-heartedly the new ones set before him in Jesus.
For years, I worked as a commercial fisherman in Alaska and one of the jobs I did was to set a net. The whole process is a series of steps done in proper order. The process or set up is as important as the actual placement of the net into the water. As a farmer needs to keep his eye on his destination, so does the skipper of the boat need to keep his eyes on the buoy or other end of the site as he is operating the outboard motor. When everything is in motion, it is a complexity of action and it can all end in disaster in a moment of distraction.
Regret is a distraction to our walk with the Lord. Looking back at what could have been sets us up for disaster at this time of our life. Those who begin the life with God must resolve to go on, or they will make nothing of the new life set before them. Looking back, leads to drawing back, and drawing back leads to being entangled again in our souls to the very things we left behind. The Scripture is clear when it says, ‘Only he that endures to the end shall be saved!’ (Matthew 24:13). We need to keep our eyes on the author and finisher of our faith and plough on (Hebrews 12:2).
Prayer: Lord, help me to fix my eyes on You, the author and finisher of my faith. Change my thinking so that I do not look back with regret at what I left behind when I first gave my life to You. I need You, Jesus, not my old ways. Help me to not turn back to my old ways of coping with the troubles of life, but to continue to press on with You. Amen.
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