"But many of the older priests and Levites and family heads, who had seen the former temple, wept aloud when they saw the foundation of this temple being laid, while many others shouted for joy" (Ezra 3:12).
One morning while taking a drive through the winding road of Facebook, I took a little pit stop at the page of one man who quoted this on his page: "...when a defining moment comes along, you either define the moment, or the moment defines you." As I allowed that thought to simmer in my mind like a thick steak in a marinade, I began to think of the life-changing power that this simple truth holds.
There are so many people that live life through the rear-view mirror. There are moments of mistake, failure, regret, missed opportunities, and bad decisions that changed the course of what could have been our futures. These are all defining moments. The choice we have is whether we will be defined by those moments, or if we'll allow God, in His loving forgiveness and restorative power to define those moments in our lives as moments of strength in His weakness, forgiveness in His grace, and 2nd chances in His redemption.
Ezra 3 recalls a similar story in the lives of those who remembered greatly the rear-view mirror of success in days gone by. The elders of the community had seen the great days of God's blessing in the former temple and were hanging on tightly to the old memories and present-day regrets. Others saw it as a new opportunity to get back on track, viewing God's grace and His restoring of their purpose in the windshield of their future. Haggai, the prophet, would speak that the former temple they mourned over would pale in comparison to the latter temple not yet built. This foundation for the "present" temple would also outshine the former, because Jesus would walk within its courts. The time for mourning and regrets was past-being over. It was time to embrace what God was doing NOW!
Choose not to live in the past. The past regrets and mistakes seek to rob you of the future and its blessings that God has for you. It seeks to define you by your shortcomings, your trials and errors, your repeated failures, and your insecurities. Know that you can't drive forward while staring into the rear-view mirror. God will use your past to shape your future, but He will not direct you forward by focusing on the former. Don't revel in what "could have been." This is a new day. Rejoice in what God is doing in your life now. Look forward, gaze in awe of the journey and the purpose that God has for you today!