Over the years I have been accused of being a literalist when it comes to the bible, and I am okay with that. I would rather take the bible for what it says and believe it then try to make it into something that fits my culture, or my political persuasion, or even try to make it fit into my family and business. I don’t see where the bible says we can take the scriptures and bend them into our way of thinking but rather, we are to conform ourselves to what it is saying, and make the appropriate and necessary changes.
There are those who even within the church try to make it say what it is not saying to be culturally correct, rather than walking in the same faith that Abraham and so many others did not knowing where they were going but trusting God along the way anyway.
One of the biblical truths that I hold onto today is that God still heals. I know that there are many who disagree with me, but in reality their arguments and perspectives are just too little too late. Let me explain.
In 1988 I was diagnosed with a disease and told that I would have this disease the rest of my life. Pain was my number on symptom, and it was like someone was on the inside of me drilling their way out with a sharp two edged knife. There were times that I woke myself up at night crying because the pain was so intense. I had this pretty much 24/7 for three very long years, but on June 1st of 1991, it totally vanished and I have been well ever since of something that the doctors said I would have the rest of my life.
Now you might say that this was a coincidence, but I believe that the bible says that healing is still for today and that there is nothing too difficult for God and that all things are possible with God, and so I literally took that to be true, and it happened for me. The same was true with my battle with skin cancer and a number of other ailments over the years. And these healings, helped usher in courage and promote the healing ministry that I am involved in presently where I have now seen over 7000 people get well of so many diseases from minor aches and pains to major life threatening diseases, many with medical verification.
There are people today who teach that tithing is not applicable to the local church, yet I refuse to quit tithing because I believe that God calls us to do it, and there are many blessings contained within the Word for those who will participate in these directives. Of course, many of those who teach that tithing is no longer something for today’s church to practice are also struggling financially, but that is another story. I will say though that I have been tithing now for 40 years and God has always proven Himself faithful when it comes to His promises about tithing. And while I have friends who say that they can’t afford to tithe, I frequently respond, I can’t afford not to tithe.
So I said all of that to lead up to the point of this article. Friends, you need to stop looking back. The bible says that if we have repented, then our sins are removed as far as the east is from the west. And I believe that is literally true. The verse does not say our sins are removed as far as the north is from the south. The reason is because the bible is literally true. If you start walking north, eventually you are walking south, but if you start walking east, you are always walking east. North and south meet, but east and west don’t. So not only is the bible literally true, but it does not make any mistakes either.
The bible also says that our sins are buried in the depth of the seas, so we need to put up a sign that says, NO FISHING! So many believers continually fish for those past mistakes, failures and sins. And if that was not bad enough, so many of our friends try to help us do that too. The enemy would love for you to focus on your past, including everything you ever did wrong so that you miss what God has for you today that will lead into tomorrow. And if he can’t get you to look back, he will use someone we know to help us achieve his goal, which is to get us to fail. He comes to kill, rob and destroy and often the destruction is to have us miss what God has for us, by looking back.
God does not bring up your past. It is forgotten and buried and done away with for good. If your past comes up, then either you are bringing it up, or someone you know does, or the enemy of God bring it up. Don’t allow anyone to do that to you.
Jesus said, No man having put his hand to the plow and looking back if fit for the Kingdom of God. There is a reason why when you drive a car, that the windshield is the size that it is and the rear view mirror is substantially smaller. Obviously when driving we are to occasionally glance behind us, but if we focused entirely on the read view mirror we most surely would crash. I actually had a friend do that several years ago, while driving he looked back to help his 7 year old son in the backseat and turned the wheel into an oncoming cement truck and died in that accident. This is also the main reason that we are advised not to text and drive, because we take our eyes off of the road ahead, and instead of missing the obstacles, many are hitting them head-on.
The Apostle Paul said it this way, forgetting the past, I look forward toward and press toward the goal. The Message Bible says, I’m off and running and I’m not turning back. There is a reason for this. God wants us focused on what’s next. And yes, there is a what’s next. The bible says that the steps of righteous people are ordered by the Lord. And often it is not just the next steps that are important but the whole journey, but we can’t take the journey without taking the next steps.
So many people never get to where they should be, because they are constantly looking back at all of the past mistakes, failures and messes. Can we learn form our mistakes – absolutely. But we should not dwell there. Its kind of like the folks who keep on believing that Elvis is still alive. And even worse, are those who impersonate him. I heard a quote from Johnny Carson once that goes like this. If life was fair, Elvis would be alive and all the impersonators would be dead.
We have a saying at our church that goes like this. Don’t judge my glory until you know my story. So many people see us a certain way and want to change us. They seem to think that they have the right to tell us how to behave and that we don’t know anything about anything, but they do, especially when it comes to what we are currently doing. I get this a fair amount of the time.
Recently I sent out a prayer to bless and honor businesses with those in the marketplace that I know, but someone that I don’t know got a hold of it and decided it was their job to tell me how this was wrong, and why they had a handle on what the truth was. I responded, but that response was also blasted, so I just opted to block their emails, but then a few weeks later received an inquiry from the same person through Linked-In asking me to be a professional associate with them. Can you believe it?
Locally I’ve had blogs written about me sharing things to the general public that aren’t remotely true, but never once asking me for the real story. They just concluded it was their job to be a local watch dog for the good of the Kingdom of God, spreading lies and slander and totally false stories, based on something that they must have made up, because the only part that was true was that my name is spelled Jay West.
I believe in covering and authority and have several layers of covering with folks that I allow to speak into my life, but I refuse to listen to criticism from anyone who has not earned that right out of and through relationship. I just recently received a note from someone I had met one time telling me how to run the ministry that I have been doing for the past 12 years.
Not that I can’t learn new things and be blessed in the process, because I do want to learn, but that learning comes from trusted friends who have shared with me and will continue to do so. That recently happened with a good friend on facebook who showed me the error of my ways, and I believe his perspective was correct, and will learn from that, and I am glad that he shared what he did, as I needed to hear it – but he has earned the right to do that too.
But I won’t even read notes anymore from folks I hardly know that appear to be critical of my past, or my methods, or my way of praying or trusting God, primarily because I know that Jesus is not critical of it, and He is the one holding that standard to which I must adhere. He is the one that I am ultimately accountable too, and to those who think that they can remind me and others of my past to somehow thwart what God is doing now are sadly mistaken. I am not giving up on what God has not given up on. I plan to go after everything that God has for me, and I encourage you to do the same.
Stop looking back. Stop the blame game. Quit looking at all the reasons in your past that prohibit you from going on with what God has for your life now. Trust God to make a way where there does not seem to be a way, but don’t let your previous mistakes, failures, shortcomings, and sins create an unnecessary roadblock. Remember, that obstacles are those huge things that we see when we take our eyes off of the goal. The goal according to Paul in Philippians is to finish the race, and every runner knows that they lose speed and momentum when they look back. You may only have a moment now, but your momentum will certainly be there soon if you keep focused, do what the Lord tells you to do, be biblical in your approach, and reach forward, forgetting the past, and concentrating on the next step that the Lord wants you to take.