Ecclesiastes 3:5 says that there is “a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing.” One of the definitions for “embrace” in the American Heritage Dictionary is “to take in with the eyes or mind.” That means that embracing requires thoughtful focus. Therefore, when we think about something intently, we are embracing it, so to speak.

Very often, we as believers embrace things we need to not embrace, and fail to embrace what we need to embrace. One of those situations where it’s imperative that we apply this principle is when it comes to our past, present, and future. If we don’t know when to embrace and when to let go, the devil will thwart our ability to fulfill our destiny and, we will lose in the game of life.


You have probably heard that you should not dwell on the past. Although there are times when it’s not helpful, there are times when it is beneficial for us to focus on the past. Ponder on these:

  • When you have failed and need to learn lessons to avoid repeating the past.
  • When you need to remember the faithfulness of God and how He has brought you through previous trials.
  • When you need to remember how far you’ve come, and how much God has changed you.


We need to embrace the present most of the time. God is a “right now” God. I have read that God dwells in the present, and that is why He calls Himself the great I AM. There are times when staying in the present is the best thing that we can do. Consider these:

  • When the present is going well, and you need to thank God.
  • When the past causes you to feel condemnation and lose self-esteem.
  • When and uncertain future causes you fear, anxiety, and worry. 


Although, we should take one day at a time, there are times when it’s a good thing to embrace the future. Sometimes the future can fuel our faith and help get us through difficult times. Think about these:

  • When the present situation you’re in causes you to experience hopelessness and despair, and you need to keep hope alive in your heart.
  • When you have failed and purpose in your heart to do something different next time.
  • When complacency starts to set in and there is too much focus on your past accomplishments.

If we understand when to embrace our past, present, and future, we will lead happier more productive lives for the Kingdom. We will be able to fulfill the call that God has on our lives and maintain our faith. Finally, discerning when to embrace and refrain from embracing these three times in the span of eternity will allow us to keep our peace and remain emotionally stable.

In what ways do you see yourself applying these principles to your life today?

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