Living in the Past
July 15, 2014 • By Ed Wrather
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world…. - Ephesians 2:1-2a NKJV.
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. - 1 Peter 4:1-4 NKJV.
A 35-year-old man in England is living in the past, as in the 1940s. Ben Sansum is working hard to make the past become real in his life. He has a bought small Victorian cottage (four rooms) and has decorated and furnished the house in 1940s furniture and décor including appliances. His fascination with the past time period began when a great uncle gave him an old radio from the 1940s. Now Ben dresses as a man in the 40s would dress, cooks as they cooked then, surrounds himself with everything he possibly can from the past. He even has a view from his home that he says has not changed in a thousand years. Ben says about his way of life, “I couldn’t live in a modern house now with modern interiors. I like this period, I like the community spirit. I don’t want to glorify the war, I like all the things that took people’s minds away from the war, the music and the fashions and the cars.” However, Ben does have a girlfriend now who has her own home. The girlfriend’s home is completely modern and Ben says they are just in a relationship that happens to have two homes. I am wondering though, about how much longer Ben’s girlfriend is going to allow him to live in the past? (BBC, Huntspost 07.10.14)
There are at least three ways that believers attempt to live in the past. Believers sometimes live in the past by acting as they did prior to knowing Christ as their Savior. The apostle Peter is warning believers against this type of behavior and says in 1 Peter 4:7 NKJV, “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.” Surely the “end of all things” is drawing near as we view all that is happening across the world in these days.
Another way that believers live in the past is continual dwelling upon what has happened in our lives. This goes beyond just thinking about the past to a focus upon those days as being the most important without any concern for the present. Yes, we must not forget the lessons we have learned in the past God makes that clear throughout the Bible and Hebrews 11 is a New Testament example. The point being that as long as we are here in this flesh upon this earth God has more for us to do. Our focus should not be upon past deeds, but upon the present with the work and plan that God has for our lives.
The third way that believers are living in the past is by the dwelling upon our sins, our failures prior to becoming children of God. Yes, we did all those bad things, and we are sorry for them, but they are in the past. We cannot, as much as we would like to, undo those past sins. Now we can try to restore those we have hurt and seek forgiveness, but the sin itself cannot be undone. The great news is that if we know Jesus as our Savior, God has washed away those sins with the sacrificial blood of the perfect Lamb of God on the cross. God has forgiven us and remembers those sins no more (Hebrews 8:12; Jeremiah 31:34; Micah 7:19), so forgive yourself, choose to forget as God has, and move forward with how God would have you to serve Him now.