Guidelines For Living
Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past.
Another year is history, and the firm but often unseen hand of God has written another chapter in the history of mankind. Like the knots in a sailor’s rope, or the trickle of sand through the hourglass, or the fenceposts along the highway, the coming of a new year is a marker in your life, in everyone’s life. Interested in making this coming year better than the one past? Then today’s three guidelines are just for you. Three phases: forget, remember, and press on.
Guideline #1: Forget the past. The cry “remember” is militant, and there are some things you need to remember, but there are other things which must be forgotten. Like what? Like your mistakes and failures, like your sins which are confesses and forgiven. Forget your sorrows and disappointments, because they grow only heavier with each year you carry them.
Some folks live in a world of broken pieces and constantly dwell on their hurts and wrongs, the short end of the bargain, the way someone cheated them out of an inheritance, the rejection they experiences from someone they loved. All these things are painful, but healing cannot take place until they are put behind you and essentially forgotten.
Paul stressed the importance of learning to forget, saying, “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the price for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13,14). If you can’t forget, which may mean forgiving, as well, you will go through the year bearing a burden which will certainly rob you of your joy. The taste of revenge is never sweet nor worth what it costs in peace of mind and heart.
Guideline #2: Remember. In God’s Word, the Bible, we are told to remember about twice as many things as we are told to forget. In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses wrote, “Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years…” (8:2). Again he urged, “Remember the days of old; consider the generations long past…” (Deuteronomy 32:7).
One of the reasons the memory capacity of our mind isn’t so great is that we are always focusing on present needs rather than past victories; yet it builds our faith to remember the way God has met us in the past. Remember when you were hospitalized and God met you, when your son or daughter was in trouble and you prayed and God heard you? Remember when you were broke and unemployed and God sent a gift to meet your need?
Now if God met you yesterday, why can’t you believe Him for today? Try to remember that God never grows weary, that He knows your needs far better than even you yourself, that He knows when to answer your prayer and when it is best to let you learn the lesson of patient trust.
Guideline #3: Press forward with the Lord. Problems and pressures will do one of two things: they will drive you further from the Lord or else they will gently push you toward Him. It all depends on where you put yourself relationship to the problem. Remember, dads, when your children were small, how you would take them for a walk along toward the sunset? They would run ahead of you, not wanting to stay with you, until it grew dark. Then, presently, a little hand would reach up for your larger hand, and the darker it grew, the closer they wanted to stay by your side. That is the way it can be in the coming year. Who knows what the year may bring forth? But when you hold the hand of Him who holds the world, what need is there for worry?