If Only

By: Carl Kimbro, Fellowshp Bible Church CR brother, 10/4/2017

If only I had lived a more Christ-like life as a parent, my child might have avoided addiction and jail. If only I had been more attentive to my spouse, maybe they would not have divorced me. If only I would not have taken that first drink, maybe there would not have been a tenth one for me.

You know the drill. It's called the "if only" drill. When these two words are put together, IF/ONLY becomes the two saddest words in the English language. They signify regret in our lives and become a source of torture for our souls. Instead of focusing on God and the here and now, we focus on our painful past. It's unhealthy for us physically, mentally, and spiritually. But that doesn't stop us from doing it.
God doesn't focus on our past, and he doesn't want us to either. Once forgiven by God, we remain forgiven. 

Romans 8:1 tells us: "So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus." 

It's simple: we who are born again into the family of God are pronounced NOT GUILTY! We are forgiven. We aren't condemned for our past. We don't have to live in the "if only" world of guilt and regrets. Instead, we are able, without past regrets haunting us, to serve God in the here and now. Serving God faithfully in the here and now doesn't leave us time to live in the world of "what if". Instead, it brings us peace and a closer fellowship with God.
God is the God of the future, a glorious future in eternity where the world of "if only" doesn't exist. 

Philippians 3:13b -14 says "but I focus on one thing: forgetting the past and look forward to what lies ahead. I press on to receive the heavenly prize for which God through Christ Jesus is calling us." 

Our past is past. We can't change it. We need to leave it dead and buried. It's time to look forward to the person God will help us become. It's time to look forward to a more fulfilling life because of our hope in Christ. It’s time to look forward to a life free from the torturous world of "if only".

We have been through so much in our lives that it is easy to live in the world of "if only." But that's a dead world filled with the ghosts of our past. We have a glorious future with Him. That future begins in the here and now. Focus on living for God in the here and now, and look forward to the glorious future He promises us. We may not eliminate those "if only" moments, but it is guaranteed that we will greatly reduce them.

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