Some of you are looking back, back, back when you should be looking up, up, up.
Those words rolled off my tongue on one of this week’s Mornings With the Holy Spirit prayer calls and it’s a right-now word for the body of Christ.
As the Jewish New Year gets underway, I sense the enemy is working overtime to keep people stuck in demonic cycles of the past. It’s time to rise up and break those vicious circles once and for all. God has not called you to live in the past. He has a future and a hope for you (Jer. 29:11). Eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor has it entered into your heart the good things God has prepared for you (1 Cor. 2:9).
Part of breaking vicious circles and demonic cycles means willfully choosing to forget those things that lie behind and pressing on toward the heavenly prize God has for us in Christ (Phil. 3:13-14).
Notice I said willfully choosing. Pressing past your past is largely a choice. Although you may have to break legitimate demonic oppression—and you may even need deliverance from devils or emotional healing—you have to choose to press. Nobody can press for you.
Looking Back While Moving Forward
I spend a lot of times traveling through airports. It seems everyone is in a hurry rushing from gate to gate—I know I often am. Once, in Atlanta-Hartsfield airport, I saw a man barreling toward me full speed ahead but he was looking backward as he was walking forward.
I did my best to stay out of his path—to avoid what I saw as a painful impending collision. But he was zigging and zagging erratically as he moved ever closer. He wasn’t walking in a straight line because he wasn’t looking where he was going. He was focused on something behind him, on where he had already walked.
Of course, ultimately he ran right into me, and boy did it hurt! You would think he would apologize and start watching where he was going, but he didn’t even stop long enough to see if I was OK. He just kept barreling forward while looking behind. There’s no telling how many others he ran into and hurt in his path.
The Holy Spirit showed me that’s the problem with many people in the body of Christ today. They are racing forward—they are trying to run their race in Christ—but they are looking backward. They can’t see where the Lord is trying to lead them because they are too concerned with what the enemy has done in the past season. Not only that, they are stumbling into things and bringing more hurt to themselves and others in the process.
Other past-dwellers are more like Lot’s wife—frozen as a pillar of salt. In other words, their past has paralyzed them and they can’t find a path forward. Still others seem to have a magnet on their back. They try to move forward in Christ but the enemy has something in them that pulls them into the past no matter how hard they try to press into the future and the hope God has for them.
There’s No Grace to Wallow in the Past
Some of you are looking back, back, back when you should be looking up, up, up. In other words, we need to keep our minds on the things above and not on the things of this earth (Col. 3:2)—and certainly not on our past. No matter what you’ve done or what’s been done to you, it’s in the past. It’s time to move on.
The Lord would say to you, “Do not remember the former things nor consider the things of old. See, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not be aware of it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert” (Is. 43:18-19).
If you feel like you’ve been stuck in the wilderness, lost in the desert, trapped in the past or trapped in the old, embrace this truth: God wants to give you beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Is. 61:3).
But you have to receive it. You have to decide to walk out of the wilderness at the appointed time, out of the desert in your kairos moment. You have to decide to give up your ashes, to tap into the joy of the Lord, to shake off the mourning, to intentionally praise and to reject the spirit of heaviness. His grace is sufficient to make this divine exchange.
It’s time to stop looking back, back, back and start looking up, up, up. There’s no grace to wallow in the past. Yesterday’s manna is rotten. The old has gone, the new is here! Embrace it.