Run Forward, Look Back...
If you’ve ever competed in a race, especially a sprint, you’ve likely been coached not to look back. You are to fix your eyes ahead, looking only toward the finish line. Even a quick glance over your shoulder might throw off your momentum just enough to allow for an opponent to slip past you to victory. But there’s a different principle for those of us running in the most important race.
When we consider what’s in the news these days, it’s almost as if people haven’t learned anything from the past. Life moves fast, people run forward with focus, commitment and reckless abandon. It seems like so much of what we see is just a rerun; it’s old news. They appear to have learned nothing from those who ran before them. The lengthy list of dead-before-their-time celebrities who ran themselves right off a cliff should serve as a cue to these folks, who seem to have it all, that the cliff is still there. Learning from the past could defer an ominous date with the law of gravity. Sadly, they seem determined to take the plunge.
A similar fate faces Christians who refuse to study a history that serves as a roadmap, a guide, for safe, effective running. How do we know God loves us and wants His very best for us? Simple: He wrote it down. He has given us His Book, which not only has everything we could ever need from the past to help us today, but shows us the future and how to arrive safely. Yet with celebrity-esque pride and self-aggrandizement, some Christians ignore the lessons of the past and then blame God when they stumble into a hole, or worse—off a cliff.
“That which has been is that which will be, and that which has been done is that which will be done. So there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
But with Lindsay Lohan-like looks of shock, we’re surprised when the consequences are handed down for things about which God has already lovingly warned us. Maybe we were running too fast on the wrong track. Or perhaps we simply failed to look back and learn. Then there’s the worst option: the possibility that because of pride, we simply didn’t think the rules applied to us. Well, they do and they work every time.
The famous Chinese general and war strategist from the 6th century B.C., Sun Tzu, wrote, “Every battle is won or lost before it is fought.” In other words, it’s about preparation and training. The same is true of the race in which we run. Nothing should surprise us; nothing is new; nothing is impossible with God’s help. Others have been there and done that.
“No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
So, keep running ahead with a clear view of the past. Everything you need to run successfully has already been provided.
“Now these things happened as examples for us, so that we would not crave evil things as they also craved.” —1 Corinthians 10:6