Years ago I visited Sydney, Australia. I took a tour of the city and learned a lot about this fascinating country that is also a continent. Australia was first settled as a penal colony. It was the place England used to send its prisoners. Not an auspicious beginning for a new country. And I also learned about their crest.

The Commonwealth Coat of Arms is the formal symbol of Australia. It pictures two animals – the emu, a flightless bird and the kangaroo. These animals were chosen because they share a characteristic that appealed to the Australian people. Both the emu and the kangaroo can only move forward not back. The emu’s three-toed foot causes it to fall if it tries to go backwards and the kangaroo is prevented from moving back because of its large tail.

I thought of the words of Jesus in Luke 9:62, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” When we choose to follow Jesus we only move forward we never go back. The past can never be changed. Holding onto guilt and regret does nothing positive for you. The Australian citizens intuitively knew this when they chose as the symbol of their country native animals that could never go back and only move forward.

Our focus should be on forward motion. Try balancing a bike by sitting on it; you can’t do it. But if you start moving you can balance it perfectly. Forward momentum is what God wants for us. And this is how you live in God’s kingdom. You don’t look back you only look ahead. You can’t succeed if you don’t try. You will miss one hundred percent of the shots you never take. You will never see results unless you make an attempt.

Everyone fails and makes mistakes. Welcome to the human race. If we focus on our past we can’t move forward. No one wants to stay in the setback but so many people do. They drag around the past and fill themselves with guilt and shame. Think of yourself like the emu or kangaroo, you are incapable of moving backwards. You can only move forward into the bright, marvelous future God has planned for you.


About Rick McDaniel

Rick McDaniel is a noted author, international communicator and church leader. He is the founder/senior pastor of Richmond Community Church in Richmond, Virginia. The church is known for its contemporary and innovative services and has a worldwide reach through McDaniel has earned three degrees including an advanced degree from Duke University and is the author of​ six​​ books including his latest "Turn Your Setbacks Into Comebacks." He has traveled and spoken at conferences and churches worldwide spanning six continents.

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