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Being Before After the Fact

By: Dr. Skip Myers

web posted October 15, 2007
Skip-ology – Every time I look at my elbow I am reminded of my own stupidity.  My elbow is one big scar that serves to remind me that no matter how good the idea may seem you can’t ride your bicycle down a hill with your hands crossed on the handle bars.  The steering will begin to shake and the bike will shimmy and you will get severely injured.  So please learn from my ignorance and don’t try this at home or any other place for that matter.

Every scar on our bodies serves as a reminder to something we wish we could have avoided. Accidents, surgeries, or injuries it really doesn’t matter how they got there.  What matters is that every scar carried with it the price of pain.  Remembering the events surrounding those scars makes us wish we had been something different before the fact rather than having the scar after the fact. 

I truly believe that too much of life is lived after the fact.  This causes us to live life from a reactionary standpoint rather than a proactive standpoint. We spend much of our time dealing with the results of things rather than planning so that a different outcome could be experienced. If I would just plan to lay off the cookies and cake then I wouldn’t have to go through the agony of beginning a diet once again.  If I would just watch my mouth before I speak I wouldn’t have to be constantly apologizing for hurting your feelings. If I would place my plans before the Lord for His guidance and wisdom I wouldn’t have to be praying that He would bail me out of trouble once again. 

Let me share with you five passages of scripture that suggests that we will be much better off in life if we would just let the Lord direct “before the fact” instead of expecting Him to clean up after the fact.

Psalm 141:3 Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips.

Proverbs 16:1 The plans of the heart belongs to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord.

Proverbs 16:3 Commit your works to the Lord and you plans will be established.

Proverbs 16:9 The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.

The one thing all these verses seem to have in common is that we will be much better off if we would just let God in on things before the fact.  Try establishing three simple principles in your life to help in this area.  First, question rather than apologize. Thoroughly examine what you are about to do or say before you do it. Allowing emotions to direct our mouths and paths will eventually let something come out that should have stayed in. Second, take responsibility before you act. You are ultimately responsible for how your words and actions affect others. Before you speak or act know that you are responsible for after the fact. Lastly, commit your ways to the Lord for His guidance and direction. It is so much better to allow the Lord to direct before the fact rather than direct the clean up after the fact. Rest assured, He will be there if clean up is needed but He would much rather be involved from the start.

This may seem like such a small thing compared to other spiritual realities.  But just imagine how each of our lives would be affected if we would just let the Lord guide before the fact.  It all boils down to keeping Him in front of us at all times.  See Him first instead of making Him an after thought after the fact. So why not begin now by planning to join us in His House this Sunday instead of wishing you had after the fact on Monday morning as you face another difficult week.

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