As leaders, we can divide our time into three categories:
I believe the key to a God-pleasing life is to learn from the past, prepare for the future but live in the present.
Unfortunately, we tend to spend too much time regretting things in our past, fearing things in our future and not having the energy and focus on the present.
“Right Now” is a gift from God—that’s why it’s called the “Present.”
It occurred to me more than once when reading I Peter 5:8…
(“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.” ESV)
That this verse is in a section of Scripture dealing with leadership and leaders. The enemy has a goal of bringing every Christian down, taking them out of the good fight and neutralizing their effectiveness and fruitfulness. This is especially so with God’s leaders. If our adversary can take out the leaders, he can take out a lot of followers along with them.
A lion or cat can be very patient waiting for the opportune time to strike. I have seen house cats sit for a very long time without moving waiting for the perfect time to pounce on an unsuspecting/unaware bird.
One of the ways the enemy accomplishes his work is to get us to regret things in our past and fear things in our future.
We are encouraged in Matthew 6:34 (The Message):
“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
As a leader I want to give my “entire attention to what God is doing right now.”
One of the main ways the enemy discourages leaders is to:
Beat us up with a rearview mirror
He gets us to play the
—Oh, if only I woulda done this I wouldn’t be in the mess I am in.
—Oh, if only I coulda made right decision instead of procrastinating or making the wrong decision.
—Oh, I shoulda done that, but missed my opportunity!
By His grace, when the devil knocks at my door getting me to revisit past sin or past missed opportunities and lays the guilt on me, I need to send Jesus to answer the door.
I need His Holy Spirit to fight for me and His Word to sustain me when the onslaught hits. Notice I said WHEN not IF, because my enemy will come after me.
When the enemy went after Jesus in Matthew 4, the main tactic He used to defeat him was to quote passages of Scripture. This motivates me to memorize Scripture.
I want to learn from the past but not live in the past. I want to use the past as a guide post, not a hitching post!
There are numerous dark and sinful parts of my past—even as a believer. As I confess He cleanses and forgives it all (1 John 1:9). I know this in my head, but in my heart I let the enemy’s accusation do a number on me.
It was baseball legend Sparky Anderson who said, “I’ve got my faults, but living in the past isn’t one of them. There’s no future in it.”
When we talk to ourselves, which most of us do rather frequently, we need to watch our language. Too many negative thoughts about our past, or too many fearful thoughts about our future robs us of joy living in the “Now.”
My fellow Christian leader, please don’t let the devil beat you up with a rearview mirror.