Learn from the past!

Learn from the past!

When I see how my “normal” negative reactions have never made anything better, I want to do things differently.

01/07/20245 min

By ActiveChristianity

Learn from the past!

On my last day of history class, the teacher explained that there was one important thing he wanted us to remember: “We need to learn from the past so we don’t make the same mistakes in the future.” I thought about the effect this would have on society. Just think if people could learn to avoid economic crises or wars!

Then I realised that this applies to my own life also. How many times have I been late for class, only to be late again the next day? I wondered if the idea of “learning from the past” can be applied to other mistakes, like how I react when something doesn’t go the way I think it should.

Why do I get upset?

If someone says negative things about me behind my back, angry thoughts come up. That’s normal, isn’t it? But becoming irritated or angry doesn’t make me happy, and it never solves the problem. Instead, it makes me feel more frustrated, dissatisfied and foolish. This is because getting irritated and angry is sin, and does not please God. I know this - so why do I still get upset?

As I think back, I realise it was because deep inside my happiness was dependant on what happened to me and how I was treated. Satan knows how to use such thoughts, and his goal is to steal my peace and joy. (John 10:10.) He wants me to believe that the problem is other people or my circumstances. But God wants me to become free from this anger, this sin that lives in me, in my own human nature.

I realise now that it is the way I react to each situation that determines my own happiness!

In Romans 8:28 (NLT) it’s written, “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” If I love God and seek to please Him, each temptation can be seen as an opportunity to be set free from Satan's power over me, instead of doing the same sins over and over again.

If I realise that Satan uses the angry thoughts (that come from my human nature) to tempt me to sin, then I can choose not to give in, and choose to believe in God’s Word instead. In James 4:7 (NLT) it’s written, “So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” I resist Satan by saying No to the sinful reaction that comes up in me, and that always works for my best – it’s only when I become free from that sin that I become truly happy!

How do I not give in again?

When I see how my “normal” negative reactions have never made anything better in the past, I really want to do things differently. But how can I be sure that when another situation comes up, I will not give in again?

I need to admit that these things are actually sin, repent from them, and hate them. I need to take a firm decision in my heart that I will not allow Satan to have any power over me. Then, when I realise that I’m tempted to do these things that I hate, I call out to God for help!

In Hebrews 4:16 (GNT) it’s written, “Let us have confidence, then, and approach God's throne, where there is grace. There we will receive mercy and find grace to help us just when we need it.” If I go to God and pray for help when I’m tempted, He will give me the grace I need to resist the devil. And the time when I need it, is before I sin! He wants to help me!

Not only do I become free from the power of sin, but the sin in my human nature is replaced by something new. Where I got angry before, God can create patience; where I was often complaining, God can create thankfulness. In that way, my human nature is actually bit by bit replaced by godly nature—eternal life! (2 Peter 1: 3-9.)

My teacher’s words were wise ones, and if I apply it to my own life, I see that I can use the past to learn something that will be of eternal benefit for the future!

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This article is based on an article by David Owens originally published on https://activechristianity.org/ and has been adapted with permission for use on this website.