Not a whole lot of good comes from looking back. I don’t mean look back as in reminiscing about good memories. Or remembering from where the Lord brought you. The Bible tells us that we overcome the enemy by Jesus’ blood and by our testimony (Revelation 12:11). Looking back in this way is important and necessary! I’m not talking in a driving and checking your mirrors kind of way of course. The looking back I’m talking about has to do with following and obeying God. We should never look back when it comes to seeking the Lord!
Physically speaking, if we are walking but looking back behind us, we can get hurt. We may trip over something we didn’t notice, walk into a pole or a tree, or knock someone else over. I have seen my own children walk right into a wall when they were looking back instead of watching where they are going. If we are trying to get somewhere quickly, looking back will only slow us down.
Looking back also shows where our thoughts are in regard to what we’re doing and where we’re going. If we are doubting our choice of destination, we will look back to where we came from. If we are wishing we had not left the place we were in, we look back at it. When we see the things left behind as more worth while or of a higher priority, we will look back. We may even turn back all together and go back to those things!
The same can be said for our walk with the Lord. If we are looking back at where we came from, it slows our pace for getting where God is trying to take us. When we aren’t watching where we’re going, we could trip and fall over a stumbling block the enemy sets in our path. We could end up running into someone else and set a bad example, throwing them off in their walk. Looking back shows that there are things we see as more important than what the Lord has for us, or that we are doubting Him and where He’s taking us. When we look back, we are more at risk of turning back and walking away from the Lord. If we truly seek to walk with Jesus, all the way to Heaven, we can never look back from the path He sets before us.
I believe that is why Jesus gave this hard word in Luke 9:62. In these scriptures different men say they want to follow Jesus, but they give excuses as to why they can’t right that minute. One wanted to go tell his family goodbye, and another needed to do the work of burying his deceased father. While to most those would seem like reasonable excuses, Jesus does not accept their answers. He says, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” It seems harsh, but we need to remember that God sees the heart. A request to say goodbye in and of itself is not the issue. Putting ones family before the Lord is. Burying a family member is necessary work. However, when it seems to be more important work than what God wants us to do, there’s a problem.
The question seems to be, then, how do we keep our eyes on the Lord so that we never look back? As I typically say, the first step is prayer. Pray something like David did in Psalm 119:37 , saying “Turn away my eyes from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.” We can ask the Holy Spirit to help us keep our eyes on Jesus, that we don’t look back in doubt or distraction. Then, get in the Word. Renewing our mind with the holy scriptures helps us to keep our focus. Finally, surround ourselves with those who are headed in the same direction. Ask them to keep us accountable to never look back in our walk with the Lord.
Is there a time you’ve found yourself looking back? How did you get back on track? Please, share your story with us in the comments!