Forgetting the Past

Philippians 3:13 “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead . . . ”

Paul had done some pretty terrible things in his lifetime. Before converting to Christianity, he had actually persecuted Christians! He had been responsible for doing to others what was now being done to him. He could have easily allowed himself to become weighted down with guilt over his past. But instead, he chose to fling it off his back and leave it lying exactly where it needed to stay – in the past.

He had also done some pretty terrific things. At the time he wrote this, he had been responsible for winning countless people to Christ in two different continents! He had worked hard. He had seen success. He could have decided to retire, to pass the torch to the younger generation. But he didn’t! He knew that his journey was not complete. By looking backward, he would fail to move forward. So he left the past behind him and continued on.

How many times have we allowed guilt over the past to define who we are today? How many times have we allowed our past mistakes to control our future steps? We need to stop that! What we did, or what happened to us yesterday or last week or last year or three decades ago is gone. We have a goal to pursue, and a journey to take. Looking behind us will not move us forward. We need to leave the past alone, and press on toward becoming exactly who God wants us to be.

In the same way, how many times have we sat and remembered our glory days? How many times have we recalled how we went on this mission trip or taught that Sunday School class, and decided that we have served God well? We may have served Him well, but until He calls us home, our service is not complete. What we have accomplished in the past has little to do with what we will accomplish today or tomorrow or the next day. Like Paul, we must forget what lies behind, and press onward to what is ahead – the call of Jesus Christ our Lord.

Dear Father, Thank You for my past, for it has shaped me. Please don’t let it define me. Help me to press forward, doing each day what You require of me.


One Response to Forgetting the Past

  1. October 22, 2007 #

    I love this.
    Especially, your fleshing it out to include not only past failures, but past achievements.
    You are so right, we should rest on neither.
    I love the prayer, too.
    “Thank you for what has shaped me. Please don’t let it define me.”
    Ok, so I’m just going to have to borrow that sometime, with of course, an attribution to my dear friend, Ms. Brumbaugh.

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