Retrospect and Introspect
by: Jan Whitaker
Isaiah 43:19 states: “Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert” (English Standard Version).
While we approach the end of this year and ponder the coming new year, it’s tempting to become melancholy about past events. How many times have you looked back at a situation and thought: “I should have. . .,” “Would have . . .,” or “Could have. . .?” We certainly have all been there. The old cliché, Hindsight is better than foresight,” comes to mind. However, how are we evaluating our past? What kind of heart beliefs are we establishing when we focus on what we should have done? What actual effect does our retrospect and introspect have on our past, present and future?
Paul was self-righteous before his encounter with Jesus. Although he fulfilled the Hebraic law, Paul zealously persecuted the church, and therefore, he was guilty of murder. He could have easily condemned himself for his past behavior. Instead, he counted all that was his past as rubbish . . . his achievements AND his defeats.
Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God. . .
Although I was raised by a Godly mother, my childhood included many painful and sad experiences. At the age of 23, I was filled with the Holy Spirit. At that time, I received an open vision. Jesus stood in front of me and reached out His hand to take mine. I stood up and He was standing directly beside me on my right side. He instructed to look behind me. The minute I did, He was standing there. He motioned to look forward, and when I did, He was directly in front of me. I was surrounded by Jesus! Not only was His Spirit within me, but, because He was behind me, I couldn’t see the past as painful anymore. I saw the future with hope instead of fear. I felt completely loved, accepted and safe.
When we choose to see all our judgment taken through the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, the past no longer controls us. Our previous experiences and situations no longer limit us or dictate our future. We are free to be who God says we are. When viewing our past, present and future, we must remember that we are hidden in Christ. “In Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).
Jesus fulfilled the above scripture from Isaiah. He is our “new thing” who has come! He goes before us to make a way that doesn’t seem possible and brings refreshing in the places that seem dry.
May this new year bring us the perspective of looking at Jesus who redeems our past and gives us hope for the future. If we become introspective, let’s look inside at the One who lives within: Jesus, the Perfect One!
Cleve and Jan Whitaker are the new WLN Directors. Living in Pleasant Hill, Missouri, USA, they are an active part of Faith Ministries Community Church. Cleve is owner and manager of Capstone Carriers, LLC; a trucking company specializing in flatbed freight throughout the U.S.
Jan retired from teaching in the inner city high schools and college/university campuses. She also worked for FMIN Network as the Administrative Director. Jan operates in the prophetic and travels nationally and internationally as a teacher and counselor with GX International.
Cleve and Jan describe their combined Mission Statement as: "To be outrageous givers for the Kingdom of God through financial support. To use our spiritual gifts for strengthening, encouraging, and establishing others in their identity in Christ." Their heart is to see others find and follow God's purpose in their individual workplace and mission field.
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