Don’t Idolize the Past
Many Christians are able to view the past with pleasure but regard the present with dissatisfaction. They look back upon the days that they have spent in communing with the Lord as being the sweetest and the best they have ever known; but as to the present, it is as if they were smothered by a heavy blanket of gloom and dreariness. Once they lived near Jesus, but now they feel that they have wandered from Him, and they say, "Oh, that I were as in the months of old." They complain that they have lost their evidences, or that they no longer have peace of mind, or that they have no enjoyment in the means of grace, or that their conscience is hardened, or that they are no longer as zealous for God's glory as they once were.
The causes of this mournful state of things are many. It may arise through a comparative neglect of prayer, for a neglected closet is the beginning of all spiritual decline. Or it may be the result of idolatry. The heart has been occupied with something else, more than with God; the affections have been set on the things of earth instead of the things of heaven. A jealous God will not be content with a divided heart; He must be loved first and best. He will withdraw the sunshine of His presence from a cold, wandering heart. Or the cause may be found in self-confidence and self-righteousness. Pride is busy in the heart, and self is exalted instead of lying low at the foot of the cross.
Christian, if you are not now as you "were . . . in the months of old," do not be content to simply wish for a return of your former happiness, but go at once to seek your Master and tell Him your sad state. Ask His grace and strength to enable you to walk more closely with Him; humble yourself before Him, and He will lift you up and allow you once more to enjoy the light of His countenance. Do not sit down to sigh and lament; while the beloved Physician lives there is hope; there is a certainty of recovery even for the worst cases.
verse 1 1 Samuel 1
verse 2 Romans 1
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From Morning & Evening revised and edited by Alistair Begg copyright © 2003. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.org.