Beware of Nostalgia-I think it appropriate to follow the encouragement to “only remember the good” with this warning. While we definitely should strive to only remember (or think about) good things/times, we need to be careful what place we give those memories and thoughts. They should serve to encourage us, in good and bad, to remind us that times aren’t always hard, to remember a person’s qualities when you are faced with their faults. The danger is when those memories become something that we strive for in themselves, when we try to regain that fond time or happy feeling.The good times are meant to spur us on, help us yearn for the good times ahead (ultimately heaven). They are not meant to make us discontented or be a means of escape from current circumstances. God has given us a spirit of self control (2 Tim 1:7) and we need to exert that by controlling our thoughts and feelings. Emotions are meant to be indicators; road signs if you will, not tour guides.
2 Corinthians 10:5New American Standard Bible (NASB)
5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
This means that we need to examine every thought that we have, compare it to the Bible, and get rid of everything that doesn’t hold up to God’s standards. That includes our motives, emotions and attitudes. The goal of being a Christian is to continually be transformed into the image of Christ, so that the older we get the more we are like Him. That involves every part and aspect of ourselves. Just because our thoughts are hidden and no one knows what we are thinking does not excuse thinking something that is not godly. God knows everything you think, and He will be your judge in the end (2Cor 5:9-10). It is really important to bring every thought, desire, motive to God to determine if it is acceptable. Harboring wrong thoughts, desires or motives will produce themselves in your life.
Proverbs 4:23New American Standard Bible (NASB)
23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.
What we do externally is determined by who we are internally. Our thoughts and desires will show themselves eventually through our actions. That is why it is so important to “bring them to obedience.” Why abate the symptoms of a disease if you can cure it? Be careful. You are what you think.
I first became aware of this problem reading Spiritual Rhythm by Mark Buchanan, pg 117-121.