Two of Satan’s strategies to rob of us of our effectiveness and joy as Christians are the temptations to, first, live in regret about our past and, second, fear our future. If he can convince us of either one of these, the gift of the present – and all the opportunity and work God has given us to do right now – is lost. Moreover, our joy in Jesus and what He’s done for us is robbed, which is our daily strength.
The great preacher of last century, Martyn Lloyd-Jones, addressed both of these schemes of the devil and our biblical response in his classic book Spiritual Depression.
Both quotes below demonstrate what our response should be to these two temptations.
“Never look back again; never waste your time in the present; never waste your energy; forget the past and rejoice in the fact that you are what you are by the grace of God, and that in the Divine alchemy of His marvelous grace you may yet have the greatest surprise of your life and existence and find that even in your case it will come to pass that the last shall be first. Praise God for the fact that you are what you are, and that you are in the Kingdom.”
“We must not think of ourselves as ordinary people. We are not natural men; we are born again. God has given His Holy Spirit, and He is the spirit ‘of power and of love and of a sound mind.’ Therefore to those who are particularly prone to spiritual depression through timorous fear of the future, I say in the Name of God and in the words of the Apostle: ‘Stir up the gift,’ talk to yourself of who you are and what you are, and of what Spirit is within you; and, having reminded yourself of the character of the Spirit, you will be able to go steadily forward, fearing nothing, living in the present, ready for the future, with one desire only, to glorify Him who gave His all for you.”