Yesterday I wrote the first of several posts about overcoming regret. It's my intention to encourage you, the reader, to know that overcoming regret is not the product of a powerful intellect, memory loss or coping mechanisms, but a result of encountering God and pursuing his promises for your life. Regret is defined as "to think of with a sense of loss" . It's an appalling word to people living with hope and destiny. We have seen the highway of life littered with regret, failures and disappointments. We see too clearly the missed opportunities or those glorious moments gone awry. However, there is a promise given to us by God that trumps regret and disappointment. It's found in Jeremiah 29:11 . God states, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."
Recently I have been feeling regret. The sense of loss is alluring. No, not because it's beautiful, but because it gives us a just cause to feel bad for ourselves. Our sould is temporarly satisfied by feeling sorry for ourselves. Before long we are stuck in the mud and mire of self pity and defeat. We seek to comfort or console ourselves rather than rest in the deep caverns of God's comfort and promise. In my last post I began to unfold how we put regret in the rear view mirror of living and focus on the bright and brilliant future ahead of us. In summary, God is present-future. He has dealt with past failures. Past victories are not the place of our dwelling either, but instead they forecast what is possible. When it comes to past successes let's remember them and believe for better days. When it comes to past failures let's see God's redeeming power and grace. In Paul's letter to Colossee he writes, "Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation" . Regret is only powerful if you and I look at it and give it credibility.
The second truth I want to unfold is God has a future for us. I know, I can hear the collective "duh." But think about it for just a moment. How many times do we live under the tyranny of the urgent and lose sight of what God is doing in us today is directly connected to who He wants us to become. AW Tozer wrote, “We must meet the uncertainties of this world with the certainty of the world to come.” If you believe Mr. Tozer then you and I must live aware that there is a future for us and in it lies a certainty, reflecting the steadfast goodness of our King. What you believe about the end will influence the decisions you make today. God has a future for you.
As I began to contemplate this I thought of my 90 year old grandparents. Of course, most of their life is behind them, but there is still life in front of them and as long as they are taking a breath there is a future and a hope for them. This is equally true for us. We can't afford to live without Vitamin F (a future) and Vitamin H (hope). Jesus taught us that part of our spiritual nutrition is to "do the will of him who sent me" . To do his will requires communion and intimacy with him. You must know his ways and fulfill his acts. It's hard to that when regret sits as governor of your hope and faith. So beloved, shake off regret. Spend a few moments and ask God to give you a snapshot of his preferred future for you. Let it encourage you and inject life into your day. Do not meditate upon the "should have beens" or "could have beens" instead declare "what will be" and "what can be!"
Until next time.
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