“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
One of the big things that keeps Christians from living in the freedom Jesus provides is our past…our old life. There is history we have a hard time letting go of.
We all have a “past.” There are sins, mistakes, poor choices, and failures in our story. The guilt and shame of our past can keep us from the life Jesus has for us. Through the power of God we put the past behind us and walk forward in God’s freedom. Our biggest sins are not too big for God’s grace.
When Paul talks about forgetting he is telling us that we can’t and must not live in the past. What happened in the past is past and we must keep going forward. His past does not define him. He will not let the past keep him from what God has ahead of him.
The past must be put behind us because…
We have a tendency to obsess about the past.
We may know that God has forgiven us, but we have a difficult time forgiving ourselves. Psalm 38:4 - “My guilt has overwhelmed me. It's overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.”
How we deal with the painful times of the past will determine how we live in the present. We must learn from the pain and then move on. What God has forgiven should never be taken as a burden again.
Jesus has forgiven our past.
1 John 1:9 - “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” This is one of the most powerful verses in the whole Bible.
Remember this…You cannot change your past, but Christ can change your future.
There is so much in our past:
- Times when we’ve been rejected by friends.
- Losses we’ve experienced.
- Sins we’ve committed.
- People we’ve hurt and people who have hurt us.
- Dreams that have been dashed. Wrong paths we’ve taken.
Jesus blood covers them all.
Today’s Challenge: Let’s surrender the past to Jesus. Refuse to let it paralyze you and keep you from the future God has for you. Accept Paul’s words…let go of the past and press forward to what God still has planned for you.
- Why does Paul say in Philippians 3:13-14 that we need to "forget the past?"
- Do you struggle with letting go of your past?
- What steps can you take to press forward to what God has in store for you?
Recommended Resource: Failing Forward: Turning Past Mistakes into Stepping Stones by John Maxwell
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