The Past is a Tyrant
There we are, moving and shaking, excited about new goals, hoping, dreaming, expecting great things… then BOING! Something from our past jumps up and says, “Here I am! Remember me? We had all the good times, you feel comfortable with me, everything is familiar. Why change things? It’s risky out there in the future with all your big ideas.”
Have you ever had those thoughts? The past likes to bring up things that will derail our resolutions for the future. Doubts, fears, old desires, fantasies, and bondages just waiting to pull us back. In From Woodstock To Eternity, Dustin Morgan finds himself face to face with the past in the form of a Michelob sign,
The two cabin builders settle into a small cafe on the main strip and order their coffee and cinnamon rolls. As he sits in the wooden booth, sipping his coffee, Dustin looks out across the street. There, beckoning him from a small saloon, is a glowing, red neon Michelob sign. It’s a blast from the past, intruding into his new life from the other side of the road. It’s saying,
“Dustin, I’m here. Come on in. Remember all the good times we had? You used to have a ritual, remember? Every time you went up the mountain, you would stop in a bar in the foothills and have a couple of beers to celebrate. Well, you’re getting ready to go up the mountain, and here I am. Come on, Dustin, just have one beer. One beer won’t matter.”
This is the tyranny of the past
The past tries to manipulate us by softening the effects of what has gone on before. Time is a healer of wounds, and the past tries to capitalize on this by telling us the bad things weren’t that bad, and the feel good things that got us into trouble were really OK. If our new focus is not clear, we may be easily influenced to go backwards.
How to overcome the tyranny of the past
1. Make a sharp contrast between where you came from and where you want to be.
The contrast is stark, and the choice is clear. The church side of him is here, in a coffee shop, with his church friend, representing his deliverance. And the saloon side of him is over there, with the tinkling glasses, the smell of liquor, the crack of billiard balls in the back.
2. Have a healthy respect for the power of the past to hold you back.
“Yes, Dustin. You are delivered from one beer. Let Me tell you what will happen. Just like that door to the saloon opens up into another world, with another set of experiences, one beer will open a door to the complete array of temptations and desires that you just left. One beer will unplug a hole in your wall that will let all the bondages of drugs, and lust, and drunkenness flood back into your life. It’ll be like pulling your finger out of the hole in the dike.”
3. Press on – Have faith in the Lord to take you where you need to go.
Philippians 3:12-14 … but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.