Yesterday I explained that a Christian is called to regular “time travel.” A balanced person, it would seem, can travel through time without getting stuck in either the past or the future. They also know when to travel back to the past, when to fast forward to the future, and when to be fully present in the now.

What about the past? What’s it good for? Well, lots of things, actually. The Bible commands us to remember (or to NOT forget) more times than I can count. In other words, travelling through time into our past can be good for us.

A healthy exploration of the past does one of three things:

– Mines it for wisdom and traditions worth remembering and building on

– Mines it for joyful memories, drawing strength from good times

– Deals with past wounds so you can put them to bed and move on

A negative exploration of the past, on the other hand,

– Mines it for festering wounds to lick and slobber over

– Uses it to nurse and feed anger

– Clings to traditions that have outlived their usefulness

– Grabs hold of negative experiences as excuses not to risk and grow

A negative foray in to the future usually:

– Wastes time on hypothetical situations (like telling off our boss, indulging in sexual fantasies) we have no intention of following through on. But be careful—once y0u’ve thought it, you’re one step closer to doing it, and Jesus says this mental game counts as sin (See Matthew 5:27-30).

– Wastes time worrying about future events that may or may not even materialize.

The Bible also commands us to time travel into the future, considering what God has in store for us.

A positive foray into the future tends to:

– Visualize a Spirit-led, better future and the steps it may take to get there

– Cling to the hope God promises us through the gospel

– Imagine God’s will being done as an act of faith. This is what effective prayer is all about—visualizing the future God wants to unfold, and then praying in that direction in alignment with God’s will.

Tomorrow: The power of the present