Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted. Galatians 6:1 NASB
Apostle Paul is giving important instruction here about ministering. He just finished the previous chapter on the fruit of the spirit. Walking in the spirit, exhibiting such fruit brings maturity and fortitude. Appraising each situation with discernment is crucial to be effective when dealing with carnal desires. Just as a soft answer turns wrath, gentleness turns chaos into control.
Have you ever said something and as soon as it came out your mouth you were sorry that you said it? Or maybe you did something in the past that you look back on that completely embarrasses you and you wish you had never done it? This is completely normal behavior— regrettable behavior.
Dictionary.com defines regret as feelings of sorrow or remorse for an act, fault, or disappointment; to think of with a sense of loss. Some words associated with regret are:
There are so many more that qualify as forms of regret, and many of us experience regret in one of two ways:
We regret things that we have done or something we may have said
We regret Not doing things that we should have done
Notice that regret has to do with “things in the past”.
In this blog we are going to cover regret and how to keep regret in the past— because regrettable things will eventually kill the creative process. The enemy uses regrettable things from your past, that may or may not be associated with certain sins committed at an earlier stage in life, to keep you bound and imprisoned. We know that his only angle of attack is to bring up old sins and things of the past that are covered by the blood of Jesus. It’s nothing more than character assassination. He likes to find your weak areas by bringing you into remembrance at subtle but regrettable times in your life. Since the enemy has nothing but your past to revive, he is a master at presenting nostalgic sins as if you were still in the middle of it. Depending on where you are mentally, physically, and spiritually when his attacks arrive dictate the result.
Humans, by nature are very nostalgic. We like to hold onto memories associated with specifics detailing celebratory times as well as difficult times. “Do you remember when…” becomes familiar verbiage in our trips down memory lane. It’s good that we remember where we came from and what we walk through to get to where we are today. I’m not arguing that point. It’s when we go to the past, especially the negative parts, and pitch our tents staying for a while that can cause serious damage to your creative process. We have to make the conscious mental decision that we are visiting for a little while to remember how we got the victory over certain issues, but not to attach ourselves with the familiarity of revisiting the pain. That’s a dark alley that we don’t want to go down.
Regret is an interesting thing because it has so many layers. You can regret doing something— like remembering back to your younger days of partying— waking up in someone else’s bed wondering how you got there. Or the sobering thought of finding out that one of your closest friends was very toxic from the start of your relationship and it ended very badly. And it could be something as simplistic as being offered two jobs right out of college and you chose the more glamorous option with the biggest company, but years later you are still in that entry-level position, and your friend who took the other job that was offered to you just made senior VP. These are all regrettable situations. We have all made mistakes in the past that we will eventually regret. I have mentioned this scripture already a few times in other blogs but the words that apostle Paul wrote to the Philippian church echoes so true even when it comes to dealing with regret and fighting the enemy’s attack on your past:
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Philippians 4:8 NASB
This is how you fight the enemy and his regrettable devices. You must take control of your mind so you can guard it and your heart and soul from becoming distracted. The devil wants to keep you in the past where he can control you. If he can distract you with your regrets from the past, he will try to layer one regret to another, causing this domino effect of distraction destruction. His goal is to stop your creative process and take away the things that God has for you by putting roadblocks of regret in your way. He will say things to you with a calming nostalgic feel in hopes that he can detain and entertain your thoughts. It will sound similar to this:
“Remember the good old days when you use to get high? That would really help you right now to take the edge off. What would it hurt?”
“The person that you struck up a conversation with at the company breakroom has been asking about you. Remember how much you had in common and how you felt inside when they listened to you?”
Notice the last part to the first question: “What would it hurt?” The word ‘hurt’ is a clear indication to do a complete 180° turn and run the other way! The devil is all about the “hurt”. He doesn’t care if it hurts a little or a lot because his ultimate goal is for you to join him in hell. It’s an idiotic plan but a successful one that he has used day in and day out against good people, highly creative people that have a plan and purpose for their lives but break under the pressure of grief and heartache associated with regret.
Recognizing and Defeating Regret
The sooner we recognize the character assassination of regret and its implications to destroy us, the better our chances of staying on the correct creative path of completing the mandate that God has entrusted us with. The first thing in recognizing regret is to recognize it for what it is— an attack. When someone approaches you, and they have that look in their eye like they are getting ready to knock your head off— what is your initial response or reaction? You either brace yourself and get ready to be hit, or you take a defensive posture so you can quickly respond with a counterattack. We have been equipped with God’s word to handle such attacks that happen in the spirit. The Bible is full of Scripture that helps us verbally counter-attack our enemy when he comes to bully us. One of my favorite verses is found in Isaiah:
“No weapon that is formed against you will prosper.” Isaiah 54:17 NASB
Another Scripture that smacks regret right between the eyes is found in the book of Romans:
“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1
When you give some thought to it, regret is similar to condemnation— Satan’s main weapon for accusation, damnation, and blame. He is in the business of passing judgment over past sins— and he does so by trying to bring them to the present. He has no authority to judge anyone. And whatever he’s trying to judge you for has been placed under the blood of Christ Jesus. Sometimes it amazes me that the dummy will even try— equally surprising is that Christians fall prey to the same old tactics every day. We have God’s word as a weapon, but we don’t use it. Why? One reason is that Christians don’t know enough word to be defensive or offensive against the attacks (Ouch and Amen). Another reason is that many times we go “rogue” on the devil and try to take him on by ourselves. Both are highly ineffective and secure a spot reserved in the hallowed halls of regret. We must take God’s word seriously by understanding what James mentioned in his letter to the early church:
“But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves”. James 1:22 NASB
Hearing the word is only part of the process— doing what the word actually says validates your attentiveness and obedience to God and his word. You can’t have one or the other— it takes both to keep yourself fresh from mixture. I believe James gets this concept from Jesus’s parable of the sower found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The seeds that fell on rocky ground are the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy but they have no firm roots in themselves and are only temporary. They hear it— but there’s no follow-through.
The main thought is to not put yourself in a regrettable position. I have heard people say that “Regret is a necessary evil when you are successful at anything”. There is truth in that statement when you realize that you must move forward, with or without regret. Regret just becomes another part of the process in which the reward of a life in pursuit of God and His Kingdom outweighs regret from the very beginning.
Blessings and Be a Blessing!
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Be gracious to me, O God, be gracious to me, For my soul takes refuge in You; And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge Until destruction passes by. ~Psalm 57:1 | NASB
This verse of scripture is referenced from when David is on the run from Saul. When I read this passage about David seeking asylum in the caves, there’s no want, there’s no lack—only desire. Desire to see the hand of the Lord move over his life and protect him.
Until… Destruction passes.
Until…his enemies are no longer.
Until…he can safely move freely in the will of God.
Until…Coronavirus is gone.
Until…Your finances are restored.
Until…cancer is eradicated from your body.
Until…Your kids are living under the will of God.
Until…( you fill in the blank ).
The word until in the original text is ‘adah’ which literally translates “to pass on, advance”.
It’s not the until that is most important, but the phrase that precedes it: “And in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuse”. Being steadfast and faithful during the good times and the bad. We are in a cave, secluded and protected by the presence, the power, and authority of the Holy Spirit. This doesn’t mean we hide in fear and terror. But it does indicate the necessity to use wisdom, seeking God in everything we do before we do it.
It’s obvious that times have changed and continue to do so on a daily basis if not sooner. And that is not going change either. The way things used to be is no longer a thing. This virus, this pandemic and all the political power- shifting will pass, but Until…We need to be found in God’s favor taking refuge in the safety of His wings, His presence, His virtue, His love.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. 1 John 4:18 | NASB
Why is it that we never quote the rest of this verse? Fear involves punishment, a recoil of sin. Love perfected is one without sin. Many Christians today explain away their sins with excuses, living with a carnal warped view of love. Everything short of perfect. To live in fear of punishment from God is not trusting God. But the one who man’s-up (or woman’s-up) is found surrounded with the love of God. Own up to it! You’re not perfect by any stretch of the imagination! Don’t live in fear of God’s wrath but live in his love.