Reflections: Day 3 - When Not to Reflect Back
Updated: May 18, 2020
This 7-day devotional series will reveal how to spend this time in quarantine reflecting and examining your life through God‘s eyes, so that you can redeem your thoughts towards your past, be present with Him and boldly enter the post-COVID world in the center of His perfect will in this season of our lives and the next.
There are at least two scriptures in the Bible where God tells someone not to “look back.” One in the Old Testament and one example in the New. The most famous perhaps is the example of Lot’s wife being turned into a pillar of salt when looking back on the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. There is a common theme in both scriptures that warns of how not to spend this time of reflection.
Both stories contain two components that I want to focus on: the act of looking back and a specific thing God wants to avoid us seeing – death and an old way of life.
Sodom and Gomorrah is notorious even among non-Christians and non-Bible readers as it is synonymous with a godless, sin filled city or place in need of God’s judgement. Some would argue California fits the bill (Los Angeles and San Francisco to be exact). More importantly, for Lot and his family, it also represented an old way of life as God was calling them out of the city into a new season with a new destination.
When Jesus was being chased by wannabe disciples, he told them to not look back once their hand was on the plow, not even to go back home to bury and mourn the loss of a loved one.
(Side note to self: write devo series on the top savage moments of Jesus’ ministry because the hippie, love is love, politically correct Jesus being preached in some churches needs to get back on the cross and stay there.)
What the passage means is as we have extra time on our hands in this season of reflection, we need to make sure we are not reflecting on things dead and gone, our old ways of thinking and behavior God has and is in the process of removing from our lives.
Economic stress from losing a job or reduced pay, anxiety about the future or cabin fever could entice us to look back and return to the vices we used to do to help give us relief, like drugs and alcohol or the even the more acceptable sins like gluttony, greed or envy of those who might not be as impacted by the pandemic. The enemy has a way of seasoning past sins with a sweet nostalgia that is attractive and alluring but is an illusion, a lie and a trap. Over glamorizing the feel good parts and downplaying the devastation.
Loneliness is another enticer as a result of social distancing. How easy it is to load up Pornhub, or reach out to an ex or any form of intimacy which is actually plain, old lust. Dating apps are experiencing a surge of activity and, I can’t lie, this is the most active I’ve ever been on them but there is a dangerous slope if we don’t check our hearts. Because true intimacy comes from our relationship with God and should be the standard we bring into every relationship.
I’m guilt of many of these things, which is why I’m writing about it. I admit it is a struggle keeping the hand on the plow, seeking the kingdom first and not looking back on our life that is now dead and gone. But if you are born again, the old man is dead and the new creation is born.
Don’t let temptation and the stress of the times cause you to return to your vomit. That is not the type of reflection God wants in this season.
Scriptures to Read:
Then the Lord rained brimstone and fire on Sodom and Gomorrah, from the Lord out of the heavens. So He overthrew those cities, all the plain, all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground. But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
Then He said to another, “Follow Me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God.” And another also said, “Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house.” But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
1 Peter 2:18-20
For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,” and, “a sow, having washed, to her wallowing in the mire.”
Think of a temptation or ungodly desire you have been struggling with particularly in the past few weeks. Confess those sins to God. Then, confess them to a close, trusted, Christian you know to pray with you.
Lord Jesus, I confess my sins to you and ask for forgiveness. I repent and ask for strength to turn away from my sin. I will seek the kingdom of heaven first and your righteousness. My life is not my own but was purchased with the blood of Jesus. Search my heart and mind of any impure or corrupted ways. My past is dead and gone. I am alive in you Jesus. You remember my sins no longer. My past is redeemed by God and will be used for your glory. Thank you for your mercy. Thank you for salvation. Remove the taste of sin and my desires of it forever. Amen.