Growing up in Augusta, some time during my teenage years the Augusta Mall started doing a big July 4th fireworks celebration. It quickly became very popular with one of the local radio stations broadcasting music that was meant to coincide with the fireworks. I can remember being in several different locations to watch the fireworks. At first, I could actually get into the mall parking lot, but that got to be utter chaos after a year or two. There was a shopping strip across the street and I can remember parking there with friends and watching from the back of a pick up truck. I can remember another year being across the expressway in a church parking lot watching it, but I don’t remember how we got access to that spot. After a few years they moved the fireworks downtown to the Savannah River and the show kept getting bigger and the crowds kept getting more chaotic until I really didn’t want to fight the crowds anymore.
However, I have to admit that I am a patriotic person. I like a good fireworks show, but more than anything I like to see red, white, and blue and the American flag celebrated as much as possible. It saddens me to think that people in this country have such disdain for this country that they would burn the flag, disrespect the office of the President, bash the military, or want to rewrite our history. The truth is our history is part of what makes us a great nation. If we choose to forget our history in an effort to discard all our warts and failings, we are destined to repeat the past rather than learn from it. We should learn to take what is good about our past and build on it, then be determined not to repeat our mistakes.
In the Christian life we can’t forget our past, but we should never let our past haunt us. The devil wants us to get hung up on our past. If it was bad, he wants us to hold on to the guilt that can come with that rather than accepting God’s forgiveness. The Psalmist says that God removes our sin from us as far as the east is from the west, therefore we can let it go. If your past was really good the devil wants you to focus on that to the extent that you are no good for the Kingdom of God in the present. Frankly, both positions are sin!
We should learn from our past, both the good and the bad, but we should never dwell in the past. Learn to walk intentionally with Christ throughout your day. Don’t focus backwards because you can never move forward if you do. On the other hand, don’t focus too far forward because you will never be present in what God wants to do through you right now. God has great plans for you! In this month when we celebrate our freedom as a country, we Christians can best celebrate our freedom from sin by living for God daily! After all, there are lots of people around us that need to know that freedom in Christ and they need to see it in us!