Don’t say, “If only I had … “

“I wish I had … “

“If only … “


Sentences that begin this way are depressing.

I don’t like dwelling on regrets because regrets are backward facing. Our linear existence always moves forward. There is value in learning from the past and wisdom drives us to do so. The choices I make today afford me the opportunity to choose differently, to choose better than I have previously chosen. But, grieving over past mistakes has no value.

There is a regret on the horizon for so many, a regret they do not realize is coming. And it behooves us who know of this pending regret to sound the warning for those who do not.

For he says,

“In the time of my favor I heard you,
    and in the day of salvation I helped you.”

I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.

– 2 Corinthians 6:2, NIV-1978

I can think of no greater potential regret than that of having never willingly bowed the knee to Jesus the king. Whether this is a neglect borne of procrastination, thinking, “Meh, I’ll get to that one day,” or neglect through current-day satisfaction with life, the need remains and the regret looms on the road ahead.

It is essential to understand that every one of us will bow the knee to King Jesus. That is not even debatable. The key is that many of us do so now, willingly, while all others will do so later, and under compulsion.

It is written:

“’As surely as I live,’ says the Lord,
‘Every knee will bow before me;
    every tongue will confess to God.’”

So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

– 2 Corinthians 6:2, NIV-1978

You will bow the knee. I will bow the knee. Madonna will bow the knee. Bill Gates will bow the knee. Elon Musk will bow the knee. Joe Biden will bow the knee. Donald Trump will bow the knee.

Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is both Lord and King.


Scripture counsels us repeatedly against banking on tomorrow.

Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
– James 4:14, NIV-1978

So dangerous is this attitude that I have heard it described as sin … the sin of procrastination. Perhaps it is. Perhaps not. It is as best foolishness and uncertainty. God is patient with us, not wanting any to perish in unbelief,1 but his patience does have limits. Remember what God said just prior to the Genesis flood – “My spirit will not contend with man forever.”2 To that, we should give heed.


Scripture uses repetition and redundancy to give emphasis to a concept. For example, it is enough to say that God is holy, but it gives emphasis to the concept to say “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.”

Today, if you would hear his voice, do not harden your hearts …

– Psalm 95:7b-8a, NIV-1978

The except from Psalm 95 seems like such a simple statement, easily dismissed. But the idea is conveys is so critical that the writer of Hebrews quotes it three times!”3. The repetition of the concept screams of its urgency.

Do you hear the call of God on your life? Do not harden your heart against it.

Now is the time of God’s favor. Today is the day of salvation. Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart against it.

Blessings upon you, my friends.

Victoriously in Christ!

– damon
Twitter – @DamonJGray
Facebook Author Page
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1. 2 Peter 3:9
2. Genesis 6:3
3. Hebrews 3:7-8; 3:15; 4:7

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  1. Peggy Booher on June 13, 2022 at 11:34 AM

    I must confess I often think, ” If only I…”. Somehow I think if I say, “If only I…”, I can learn from it, because the situation I am in today is directly tied to the past. (If only I had had the courage back then to do what I knew I needed to do, then things today would be better.) But God tells me that it is not my “job” to worry about things I have no control over, and one of those things is my past; it’s over and done; the best I can do is to let God take care of it. The “if onlys…” are another version of the blame game, and there is no value in that. What gives me hope to overcome this pattern is the realization that Jesus accepts a person where he or she is. Jesus is quite aware of a person’s past, but He doesn’t hold it over them. He specializes in forgiving what needs forgiven, and giving a person strength to move on.

    • Damon J. Gray on June 14, 2022 at 2:07 PM

      Beautifully written, Peggy. I particularly liked this line:
      <== The “if onlys…” are another version of the blame game, and there is no value in that.==>

      I strive to “forget what lays behind” and “press on toward what is ahead.’ that “goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. I don’t always succeed at it, but I do strive toward it.

  2. Peggy Booher on June 14, 2022 at 7:16 PM

    That’s a good thing to strive toward! The Apostle Paul gave a great example of moving forward, didn’t he. Had he gotten stuck in the “If onlys…” I doubt we would have ever had much of the New Testament written (at least, by him).

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