Leaving the Past Behind
“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
There is a great reality in life and that is that we cannot go back. We cannot fix past mistakes change past decisions or relive moments or situations to enjoy them or handle them differently. We are bound by time to live in this moment and move forward. The problem for many of us, myself included, is that we try to live in the past, we relive the events that have hurt us over and over again thinking of ways we could have changed the outcome or how we should have or could have turned left instead of right. The consequences of this is that we become bitter and angry, we refuse to forgive, and we end up missing the present and sabotaging our own future because we are stuck in the past. The apostle Paul could have done this to himself, he could have dwelled on all the time he wasted as a murderous Pharisee but instead he chose to do one thing.
This one thing has become a theme in life that I often revisit, and it comes from the verse above. The one thing Paul did and that I, by God’s grace am attempting to do, is to forget what lies behind and move forward in Jesus Christ. For Jesus our past mistakes are nailed to the cross and our failures are learning experiences that He wants to use to help us move forward. There is no benefit from dwelling in the past there is only benefit from forgetting it and moving forward.
Now before anyone gets upset at me there are a couple things this does not mean. This does not mean there is no need for repentance. When we sin, make a mistake, or a poor decision, especially one that hurts others we need to repent. Repentance before God and seeking reconciliation, forgiveness and attempting to make amends (when that won’t make the hurt worse) from those we have wronged are a needed part of moving forward. Second, this does not mean we don’t learn from our past. When we make these mistakes and desire to move forward from them we have to learn from them so we don’t repeat them.
With that being said let us move on to the one thing Paul speaks of here. Jesus purpose for our lives is never negated by our foolishness. Sometimes it may be put on hold for a time but He still has a great plan and purpose for each of our lives. What He calls us to is to forget what’s behind and strain forward to what’s ahead in Christ. Whatever it is that’s holding you back from doing that today I encourage you to take it before the Lord and to talk it out with someone you trust so that you can move forward.
I love this Walt Disney quote that appears in “Meet the Robinsons”
“'Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths”
Aren’t you curious about the path Jesus wants to lead you down next? Isn’t it worth it to know that He has dealt with your past and has a plan for your future? Seek Him for those things and you won’t be disappointed.
Photo Borrowed from Whyte House Report