Keeping the Past in the Past (Philippians 3:13-14)
Philippians 3:13-14, Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you.
Have you ever left the house without your checkbook or grocery list—or even worse, without your driver’s license? Ever get amnesia when your spouse’s birthday or anniversary rolled around? Well, you know what they say, “The first thing that goes is the mind, and I can’t remember what else!” It’s usually an embarrassing thing when we forget, isn’t it? Usually it’s the things we shouldn’t forget that escape our minds while things we should forget we tend to remember often, and in detail.
One of the Christians biggest problems is right here—dwelling on the past. You cannot run a race while looking backward. Too many Christians are still stuck in the past. We can never be who we ought to be if we are focused on failures, disappointments, and heartaches. Paul wasted no time on the past. He was running the race for Christ. He would not focus on it. He was looking ahead and determined to stay focused on Christ. Paul was serious about not allowing the past to hinder his present.
Whether filled with the good, the bad, or the outrageous, the past is set in stone and there is nothing we can do to change it. Therefore, we can do one of two things. We can dwell on the past and focus on our failures and shortcomings; or, lest we repeat it, we can look to the past, learn from it, and move forward. When we focus on the past, we cannot make any contributions for the future. This is what Satan wants us to do. He wants us to wallow in guilt and self-pity. He wants to put us out of commission for Christ.
Life is full of ups and downs; good times and bad times, times of encouragement and times of discouragement. Everyone can look back on their lives and wish that they could do some things over, things that they wish they could change, and things that they regret ever happened. Everyone has had skeletons in their closets. In life, we can learn from and grow through past experiences, or we can dwell on and be defeated by them. Failure is not final when God is in control. Let go of your past today. It will set you free to do wonders for Christ beyond your wildest dreams.
PRAYER: Lord, You see my pain and You know my grief. There are memories I don’t want to relive, but I can’t erase them. They come when I least expect it, and the weight of the emotions threatens to consume me. In You I am safe, not only from the past, but from lingering memories as well. In Jesus name, AMEN.
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.