Live in the present. Have you noticed that “being mindful” or “living in the present” is very trendy lately? I hear (or read) the reminders and the admonitions almost everywhere. It seems f the phrase or idea is used to validate just about any everyday choice – from the worthwhile to the ridiculous. But that is often the case with any current idea. There really is nothing wrong with the idea and I understand, even appreciate, what is most often meant when I read it; however, just for the sake of this post, I looked up the definition: to pay attention to and appreciate one’s current situation or the events currently happening in one’s life, without being overly focused on or distracted by the past or the future.
There is a lot of good advice in that definition. Especially the thought of not allowing our focus to be on the past or the future. Focus on the future leads to worry. And having our focus on the past, I believe, tends toward regret and even shame. This is one of our enemy’s greatest tools – to distract us. And to defeat us and rob us of our joy. Satan delights in drudging up and revisiting the past…but just in the most negative ways. He reminds of us of failures, regrets, hurts, disappointments and, yes, sins of the past. Over and over and over. When he is able to make that our focus, we feel unable and unworthy to walk with the Lord in the present. To walk in faith and to walk with victory. It is a trick as old as time but it never stops being effective.
In many ways, the past needs to be buried. At the very least, covered by the blood and forgotten. Otherwise, as the above definition says, the past becomes our distraction. However, there can also be much value in the past. Perhaps better stated as our history. The past, and history, of our country. Of our churches. Of our families and our individual homes. And even in each of our own personal history – or our past. There are lessons to learn, victories to be rehearsed and joys to be remembered. It is especially worthwhile to regularly look back and recall all the ways that God has led and has been faithful as we followed. Becomes sometimes the present can be that which distracts us. And that is not good either.
God has always wanted His children to remember. To give account of His goodness and mercy. For our own sakes as well as the next generation. Of course, our enemy knows this as well. That is why he is always trying to focus our attention on the “us” part of the past. Our mistakes. Our regrets, etc. Focusing on God allows the past to have its place. We can mindful of today – even live in the present – and still look back at the past. Don’t let popular trends skew that truth.