Regrets? I’ve Had A Few

By Greg West

Regrets. Do I have them? I regret to say that I do. As a matter of fact I have tons of them. We cannot change the past, but we can choose what we do today, which will have an effect on what happens tomorrow. Sometimes I wake up with the thought “Lord, just help me make it through today”, but then once I start waking up, I realize that this is no way to start the day and revise my prayer to “Lord, help me to make a difference today and be a better person then I was yesterday.” That is a pretty tall order to fill.

Many times at the end of the day I feel that I have failed miserably and that God must be so disappointed in me for being such a lousy Christian. But then he reminds me that I am not just a work in progress, but that I am HIS work in progress. Philippians 1:6 says, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”

When I look back on my life before I decided to follow Jesus, I see a very different person than I am today. God has promised us that when we submit to him that he will begin to change us for the better. Paul says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” This is the same as what Jesus was talking about in John chapter three when he is explaining to Nicodemus what it means to be “born again”.

In Galatians 5:19-23, Paul gives us a before and after picture of what life in Christ means to those who submit to him: “The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions1and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

I was not guilty of every act of the sinful nature that Paul lists above (ok, I think I managed to avoid witchcraft and orgies), yet neither are all of the fruits of God’s spirit completely fulfilled in me. I am reminded of the popular U2 song, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For, where Bono sings:

You broke the bonds and you loosed the chains
Carried the cross of my shame, you know I believe it
But I still haven't found what I'm looking for

Many people perceive that what Bono is saying is that he has not found fulfillment in Christ and that he is looking for something else for fulfillment. But I do not believe this to be the case. If we take a look at the previous verse in the song it says, “I believe in the Kingdom Come, when all the colors will bleed into one, but yes I'm still running.” To me, this line is alluding to what Paul says in Philippians 3:10-14;

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

I am looking for God’s Kingdom on earth, something that has not yet been fully achieved. So, if you too, are looking for God’s Kingdom on earth, then you still haven’t found what you’re looking for either.

Do you have regrets? Again, I know I do, but let us not be burdened down by mistakes and regrets of the past. If you have faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of your sins, then as Psalm 103:12 says, “As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.”

Exactly how far is the east from the west? I don’t know at all, but I do know that if you travel north as far as you can go, you will eventually start travelling south. But if you travel east as far as you can go, you will never reach the end of east, and if you travel west as far as you can go you will never reach the end of west. Running into the arms of Christ is a much shorter journey than running away from them.

finish line