“Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it.” Luke 17:32-33
The past is a great place to visit, but don’t try to live there. When God closes a chapter in your life, don’t try to reread it. Move on to the next and let the last one go. Remember the words of Paul: “Forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on…” (Phil. 3:13+). To attain Christ, we must stop trying to also hang on to other things that divert our attention from that pursuit, which includes the past. If you want to win Olympic gold, it has to become your obsession. Gold requires that everything except the pursuit of knowing Christ be seen as dross. To gain “the life that is truly life” (1Tim. 6:19) you have to let go of the life that is truly death.
Lot’s wife was not warned that if she looked back, she would turn into a pillar of salt, but she was told by the angel to not look back. We don’t know why she looked back. Perhaps it was curiosity—to see the judgment of God as it fell. Perhaps it was to have a final memory of the place she had lived for so long. In some way, she was trying to hold on to a piece of that old life back in Sodom. And the result of that one diversion of attention was destruction.
God doesn’t offer a compromise. Embracing the Christian life is like a civilian joining the military. Once you report for duty, your old life is completely put on the shelf. For all practical purposes, you no longer get to choose any of your previous wants and desires. You are government property and you do exactly what you’re told—no questions asked. In the kingdom of God, looking back will never take you forward. Yes, learn from the past. Grow from the experiences God allows you to go through. But don’t try to go back, or to bring the past into the present. No one gets up in the morning and says, “Lord, I don’t think I need any new mercy today.” Manna only lasts for a day. Don’t be hungry for moldy bread.