Have you ever wondered what it would be like to go back in time and give yourself advice for the future? It sounds like something from a Sci-fi flick, but if we could, we’d all probably make the trip. There are a few things I wish I could have told myself…maybe somebody did…but I didn’t listen. Looking back at our lives as parents, we see a lot of broken things. We have regrets, failures, and a number of things we wish we “did differently.” Our hearts of love for our children makes us want to “spare them” the grief of what we went through.
We see in the Bible many examples of fathers and mothers giving advice to their children, exhorting them with wise counsel and knowledge to make wise choices; like King David did to Solomon, and King Solomon did to his children. As parents, we always want to protect our kids from doing the same foolish things we did and not repeat the mistakes we made. If I could go back and speak to Pat as a teen I would encourage him with a few things…(there are probably many more!) Maybe these are some of the things you need to share with your young person as they walk in this world…
- Know that Jesus loves you no matter how bad you’ve messed up, or where you are today, that moment or mistake is only a page in your life, it’s not the end. Jesus has much more for you! “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
- Trust your parents…they aren’t as dumb as you think, and you’re not as smart as you believe. They love you more than you’ll ever know. God gave them to you! Talk to them, they probably have some wisdom that will be helpful to you. “My son, hear the instruction of your father, And do not forsake the law of your mother;” Proverbs 1:8
- Save your virginity for your future marriage partner. You will have no regrets when you say “I do;” on that day; your purity will be the greatest gift you can give your spouse. If you’ve blown it, there is forgiveness from Jesus and he will give you a clean start. (1 John 1:9) Guard your heart and your relationships. “Her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death. “ Prov. 7:26
- Make choices with a long view in mind. Studying hard, applying yourself, saving money, and planning wisely will all reap a blessing and a benefit that in this moment, are unseen, but in those future days, will be very evident to you. Good and godly choices are worth it! “Mark the blameless man, and observe the upright; for the future of that man is peace.” Psalm 37:37
- “Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come…” Ecc. 12:1 Walking with Jesus is not something you want to put off for a “later time.” Days, weeks, months, and years will fly by. We are a vapor and there really is not a lot of time on this side of eternity to waste. Walk with Jesus, get to know Him, and see the amazing things He will do in your life as you do.
When we look back, we often focus on the things “we did wrong,” but for Christians, those broken roads led us to Christ and we are, by His grace, forgiven and our sins are forgotten, praise God! There are no time machines, no contraptions, and no inventions that will alter any past regrets or present fears, but we can put all our sins that tripped us and trapped us under the blood of Jesus Christ. Your past does not need to define your future or your children’s future!
We can reach forward and help our children in their future, very practically. Our most powerful weapon on our kids behalf for their present and their future is prayer, Eph. 6:18. The most powerful agent to touch them and change them is grace, Eph. 3:7, and the most faithful person to care and comfort them when we are long gone is Jesus, 1 Cor. 1:9. You cannot change your past, only Jesus can, but you can invest in the future life of your kids by lovingly leading them, faithfully feeding them, honestly speaking to them, and constantly praying for them.
“That the generation to come might know them, The children who would be born, That they may arise and declare them to their children, that they may set their hope in God, And not forget the works of God, But keep His commandments;” Psalm 78:6-7