If you could go to the past to change your future…would you do it?
That’s the overarching theme in the new sci-fi action film X-Men: Days of Future Past. The X-men of today need to go back and team up with their past selves to fight the Sentinels for their very survival. Along the way, they encounter all sorts of challenges and surprises that end up making this film well worth the crazy ride through time.
Of course, the X-men gang had a life-or-death-type reason to travel back into their past, but do you think that might be true of you, as well?
I know that time travel (at this point) is impossible in a physical sense, but I wonder how often you and I get into the time machine of our minds and relive memories from days gone by?
Or worse, like a malfunctioning movie projector, we obsessively replay the scenes from our brain that bring a deep sense of guilt and shame that doesn’t seem to be lessening with time. So, in many ways, we have “life-or-death” reasons to go back to our past – our “life” would be so much better without those mess ups, and the emotional and spiritual “death” we can’t seem to escape could have been avoided.
Like the X-Men characters, I so wish that I could go back and meet my younger self so I could “fix” so many things. I also wish that I could be Wolverine, but obviously neither of those desires is going to happen!
But that doesn’t mean I can’t reconcile my past in a different way. There’s a reason God hasn’t allowed us to invent a time machine to fix our past, and I think I know what it is. Time travel, while offering fascinating possibilities (i.e., stopping Hitler from coming to power, etc.), also opens the doors to a nearly infinite number of potential problems- but there is one more idea to consider:
But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
This statement from Jesus was made to a man who decided to become a disciple of Christ, but he was hanging on to his old life. In that day and age, if you looked back while you were trying to plow a field, you wouldn’t see the rocks that got in the way. That’s why Jesus told him that being “stuck” in the past makes it impossible to serve Him in the present.
And what about us? There are many who would love to go back and “fix” past mistakes and sinful situations, but since that is impossible, isn’t it time that we stop looking back at what can’t be changed and look ahead to how Jesus wants to use us in the present?
Like the X-Men in Days of Future Past, we face a battle against a terrible Enemy who seeks to destroy us. But unlike our heroes, we can’t change anything that has passed, so the best thing we can do is confess the past, change the way we used to think, and then claim this promise from God’s Word:
Once again you will have compassion on us.
You will trample our sins under your feet
and throw them into the depths of the ocean! (Micah 7:19).
When we forget the past and let go of the regret, God opens up opportunities for us to focus on the life and death matters of today. There are people living all around us who need Jesus…they will experience an eternal death if we don’t join THE Cause of Christ and extend His message of grace and forgiveness to them!
So if you’ve wondered whether you were going to be haunted by the days of your past in the future, remember that, through Christ, your sins are buried in the deepest ocean, and Jesus has given you freedom to stop looking back. Like the X-Men, focus on your unique spiritual gifts and abilities so that we can advance the Kingdom of God, now and in the future.
And, ironically, isn’t it cool to realize that when we let go of the past and focus on the present, that’s the best way to live life with no regrets? That’s why when I get up each morning; my “Christ-Men” mantra is this:
“Live as though Christ died yesterday, rose from the grave today, and is coming back tomorrow.”
Flashpoint: Ignite Into Action
This week, focus on forgetting your past and the regrets and longings that go with our difficult memories so that you can be attentive to what Jesus has called you to. Remember that your sins have been buried in the deepest ocean, so you can pursue THE Cause with reckless abandon!
Accelerant: Fuel for THE Cause
Pray: Jesus, thank You for paying the price for our past, present and future. Help us remember to not look back, but rather look forward so we can serve You and Your Kingdom with all the passion it deserves.
Read: Philippians 3:13. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead,
Discussion Guide for Leaders
Big Idea: Since we don’t have a time machine, we need to forget our past so we can focus on serving Jesus and THE Cause.
Key Scripture: Luke 9:62
- What would you do with a time machine?
- Is it hard for you to forget your past? Why or why not?
- How have you been successful in dealing with your past?
- What difference does Jesus make when it comes to dealing with your past sins and regrets?
- How can you apply this Soul Fuel to THE Cause?