OK, so here’s the deal. In high school, I was a band and drama geek. This was way before recent movies and TV shows made this a popular thing. But believe it or not, in our high school, it actually was fairly “in.”
We went through a stage where our marching band and jazz band won competitions right and left, whereas our football team…well…didn’t. (In an 8 year stretch the team was a combined 17-63). In fact, we had several football players wanting to be in the marching band. They would actually march with their pads on during half time shows. So, being a band “geek” wasn’t the term. We called it being a “band jock.”
The point is that we had success. As I said, our bands usually took a trophy at every competition we entered. I was no slouch myself, earning top ratings at state contest several years doing solos, etc.
Yeah, that’s me on the saxophone. Don’t you love the hair and glasses? Anyway, I enjoyed those things. Just as I enjoyed the plays we did in school. I had major parts in most every production we did during my high school years.
Wow, look at those guns I’m showing off! Who did I think I was? Once again, I’ll say, “Anyway….” There’s a point here, somewhere. I enjoyed high school, for the most part. I met my sweetheart (not pictured here, BTW) in those days, and that worked out pretty well! But, you know, I don’t really think about those days all that much.
It seems some folks think about stuff like this all the time. It’s like they never left. Things like Facebook have highlighted just how much some folks have never left high school. They still act, think, talk like they did then. They still fixate on the same things. It’s like their identity is trapped 30 years in the past.
I mean, sure, I’d love to go back to the days when I was that skinny. Heck, I’d even take that haircut again if I could lose that much weight! But seriously, that’s all in the past. And I like it there. I’m not dependent on the band and drama geek, I mean jock, for my sense of identity. Today I’m a husband, father, pastor, etc. There has been years and years (and years) of growth and maturity since then. OK, so maturity might be stretching it a bit, but you get the point.
And here is that point. We can’t live in the past, good or bad. It seems that so many people are trapped by their past. Either they can’t get beyond those “glory days” of high school or college, still trying to get by in life on past success; or they can’t get beyond the hurts and struggles of the past, allowing those things to continue to bring them down.
Here’s some great good news. In Christ, all things are new. In Christ, the old is gone and we are new creations. And as such, we ought to be living as new creations. We ought to be growing and maturing into His likeness. The past is gone, and while it certainly has some influence on who we are, it doesn’t define us. Our identity should be in Christ, in who He is making us now.
Sadly, even in the church, too many folks haven’t made it out of high school. Not only do many people, especially in small towns, fixate on high school sports, etc.; but our attitudes are still the same as high school. Bickering and gossiping and looking for status in all the wrong places. On the other end, some folks can’t seem to get past things that happened years ago, old hurts, old offenses. Grow up, already!
Or as Scripture puts it, our goal should be that “we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13-15, ESV)
We ought to be growing in our faith to the point that when we look back 10, 20, 30 years, our Christian faith and practice then seems as embarrassing to us now as those old pictures from high school do. We should look back and see so much growth, so many changes, and our confidence should be in who we are now, who Christ is making us to be through the power of His Spirit.
So, looking back is good…from time to time. Just stop living there. Let’s all grow up.