A rearview mirror provides perspective. Where I’ve been. Where I am as it relates to what is behind. Repeatedly God’s Word calls us to remember . . . what He has done, Who He is, what He promises.
Paul, for example, prefaces the passage in which he emphasizes “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead” by listing what he was before discovering His righteousness in Christ. Paul’s goal to both know Christ and press on for the prize of God’s upward call is in the context of who he was and what he left behind. (Philippians 3:4-15).
Likewise, the writer of Hebrews appeals to us to run the race, “looking to Jesus,” (Hebrews 12:1-11). Understanding our struggles as God’s discipline so that we might share His holiness is in the context of the “great cloud of witnesses” who preceded (Hebrews 11).
My point is that neither Paul nor the writer of Hebrews calls us to ignore the/our past. It is in the past that we find perspective.
For me, that means not looking all around when I drive, which makes my wife very nervous. It also means focusing on the windshield and not the rearview mirror.
Where is God at work NOW in and around us? That will give us a clue as to the good work for which He is both calling and equipping us (Ephesians 2:10).
I see that good work when we make the effort to listen to people whom we perceive are very different, before sharing an opinion . . . or a verse from the Bible. We discover that God is already at work. I see that good work when we do not resist, but submit to the tender work of the Spirit in our own lives in forming us into the image of Christ. Relationships move from superficial and harmful to healthy and satisfying.
Where are you looking? May we see ourselves as God sees us, His good news people for the purpose of being and bringing His good news to others.
Randy Jaspers, Northern Plains Regional Minister