The Imperative of Learning from Those Before Us

The Imperative of Learning from Those Before Us

Thus says the Lord, “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is, and walk in it.

Jeremiah 6:16

If you know where you want to go in life but don’t know how to get there, you merely have to look around at those before you.

That was Jeremiah’s message to apostate Israel.

If you want to live a godly and powerful life, and leave a legacy, such an aspiration is not unique in your time. And if you want to waste your life and spend its years in uselessness, such aspirations are not unique to your time as well.

All roads lead to somewhere. And we are all running somewhere in life.

But unlike looking at our contemporary peers, where they end up at the end of life is still left to be determined. All the new fads, new books, new advice from people still living are valuable, but are limited in value because death has not weighed the value of their work.

This is why God, through Jeremiah, is exhorting his people to look at the people of the past and remark the race that they ran, and to learn from them.

In an (American) culture, where youth is prioritized, looking to the old, even as far the dead, is a strange concept to us. But I believe it is wisdom. When we look at the lives of those past, observe the habits they engaged in, the mental structure they built, and the fruit of their lives, it’s much easier to see how x led to y.

If there are aspirations that we want to attain to in the Lord and for the Lord, we should look at the Christian heroes of our past for guidance and help. For their path will instruct ours.

If you’ve never had the experience of picking up a Christian biography of a man or a woman and having their lives set fire to your heart, I covet that experience for you. I think that is one of the best ways to fulfill God’s exhortation through Jeremiah of “asking for the ancient paths.”

 

Phillip Chan

Phil has been writing for 10 years. His passion is to grow in his love for Jesus to obey his purposes in our generation.

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