Thursday, May 22, 2014

No Longer “Dying to Live”

“Past” is a noun that refers to history, as in these converse statements: “he had a rich past,” or “he regretted his past.” Whether memorable or regrettable, we cannot live in the past: what’s passed is in the past.

But having become the recipient of “new things” in Christ: behold I make all things new (Rev. 21:5), we must be diligent and deliberate in leaving the past behind—every day. This is the “dying to live” principle by which I have sought to live my life, however ineffectively. Perhaps it is because I have so many unspeakable things in my past that I have made every effort to “die” to what-was in order to “live” to what-is.
Because my failures in this pursuit far outweighed my successes, I relish the day when the truth will be reality—the day when I will no longer be “dying to live.” I will have left the past behind forever.


  1. Greg,

    Two Scriptures come to my mind as I contemplate your deep thoughts about past, present, and future: 1 Cor. 13:9,10: "For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect[complete] has come, then that which is in part will be done away"; and, Hebrews 11:11: "By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age, because she judged Him faithful Who had promised." Why these two Scriptures?

    First, your (and our) own recollection of our rewardable actions on earth to be recognized in Heaven is spotty at best, and that by design. While you might reasonably have regrets about your "past" as we all do about ours you (and we) may unjustifiably esteem the quantity and gravity of your (and our) sins to far outweigh your (and our) righteous deeds done in Christ. But we have God's Own pledge of His character with regard to the sins committed by those whom He owns as His children, including you and we who will remain after you depart: "Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You (God) will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea" Micah 7:18-20a. Even as you prepare for your journey to the next life you can still hold on to the above truths in this life.

    And with regard to Sarah, the earlier record pointed to her character faults of 1)laughing at God, and, 2) lying to God, neither of which are good things to be remembered by here on earth. But the "permanent record" in Heaven only shows that she "...received faith to conceive seed...!"

    Talk about blessed assurance!

    While we may fret about missed opportunities and failures here on earth there is ample reason to expect God to surprise us with "good news" that we were better reflective of His Person here on earth than we thought. While there is no excuse or reason to hold back on the development of our relationship with our Lord in this life we can have an expectation that in the final tally in Heaven, He will still receive all of the glory.

    Just sayin'


  2. Good morning Greg,
    I believe that all emotions are gifts by God to help us cope with a broken world full of broken people. In this sense I believe that the emotion of regret is to draw the distinction between what could have been (Godly choices with Godly character), and what happened (anything less that Godliness), and as an act of will to decide that not only should it not be so, it will not be again.
    In the spiral staircase of growth with God, He sometimes brings us around to a similar place that better decisions and actions might be made by us and that more Godly character would result in us. If that happens, then regret was a useful tool. If not, then it is not only poorly used, but can become a tyrannical master that cannot be appeased. And from here, we need to take a cue from God. If God lets go of something from our past, can we do no less? If we do not, then we are making ourselves out to be wiser than God.
    An example of how regret, and the redemption of the past can be learned from the woman at the well in John 4.
    She went at noonday (heat of the day), because she was ashamed of her past (villagers most likely gossiped about her). She met Jesus. After a discussion, including one about the specifics of her past, she went back to the village and said, "Come meet the man who told me everything about me!" What was her shameful past became a door opener to get people to come to Jesus. That is how a past is redeemed! And the result: the disciples went to the village and brought back food. The "shamed woman" went to the village and brought back a village! And whose work did Jesus validate?
    I am most grateful to be relationship with a God who knows me best and loves me most!
    Larry Q