Forget the past! Reach forward!
Stuck in the past? You can move forward.
God has a unique plan and purpose laid out for you and for your future. God says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and hope.
You may feel like your tree is cut down, destroyed and dead and it will never have signs of growth again. I am here to tell you that is not true. God in heaven is able, powerful and willing to cause growth out of your dead tree. He can bring forth green leaves again. He can grow your seemingly dead tree into a fully grown, green and beautiful one again. God did this in the past many times and He can and will do it for you.
Do you know one of the major problems in moving forward? The hindrance to moving forward in God’s plan and purpose is this – you are somehow dwelling on the past. Many people are somehow stuck in the past events happened to them. You did something you shouldn’t have done or another person hurt you. Or you had a wonderful life, and something happened and you are stuck with that event and it’s very hard to get over it.Stuck in the past? But you can move forward courageously. Click To Tweet
I have seen people who had very bad experience 10, 15 or 25 years ago. But they can’t still get over it and they are unable to forget it. Such people are always stuck in looking through the two side rear mirrors.
And on top of that, other people close to you may say something like this. Look, who are you? They have that accusing look that says ‘we know what you did in the past’. In addition, Devil will condemn you and try to convince you that you are a failure. Some people will join the devil’s group and will try to send that bad gaze on your face. Do you know the source of such mindset? Bible says God never condemns his children who are bought by the precious blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, and God’s children are chosen even before the foundation of the world (Ephesian 1:4). This is what Bible assures. Then the source of condemning mindset is none other than Satan. Consequently, you think you’re a failure and you are timid and afraid to move forward with God’s plan and purpose.
But Apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:12, “Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold off that for which also I was laid hold off by Christ Jesus”. Notice two words – I press on and lay hold of. What is Paul trying to lay hold off? The answer is ‘that’ which was also laid hold off by Christ. You were laid hold off by Christ for that (‘that’ is the unique purpose God had assigned to you when He laid hold off you). Therefore, by understanding Jesus laid hold off you and me with a specific purpose (that for which He laid hold off you), we need to let the past go and then reach forward for what lies ahead. God’s children are called reconcilers ( 2 Corinthians 5:18) and priests (1 Peter 2:9). We are to stand between God and people in their hurtful and most needed times. We cannot abandon or wound them in their most hard and vulnerable times. Leaving, wounding and discouraging them is not a shepherd’s ministry. We are expected to help people so that they can also forget what lies behind and reach to what lies ahead. Jesus laid hold off Paul with a unique purpose. The purpose is stated in Acts 9:15 and it says Paul is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel”. Jesus says in John 15:16, “I chose you, and appointed you, that you should go forth and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain…..” Do you know you and me are chosen by Jesus Christ, with a unique purpose right now while we live here on earth?
Therefore Paul says in Philippians 3:13, “but one thing I do; for getting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead”
Two things – Paul was a religious man trying to observe all the laws of Scriptures. He said he was such a religious and God fearing person and wanted to please God by observing all the Laws of the Old Testament. But he met Jesus Christ and then understood the futility of trying to please God by deeds. The unending endeavor to please God has ended when Jesus appeared to Paul. The truth is this – People are unable to keep all ten commandments. Only one person ever obeyed all the ten commandments and that was Jesus Christ.
Paul was seeking God’s righteousness (right standing with a holy God) by his own good and hard works so far. However, when he found the righteousness by faith alone and in Jesus Christ alone (means right standing before the holy God is by faith and trust in Jesus only –the savior- who perfectly obeyed all the Laws and then died and rose again to impart the right standing for all people), then he threw away the old pursuit of seeking God by works, to lay hold of the new salvation that is available in Jesus Christ alone, not by ardent and unending works, but by faith alone in Christ alone. Isn’t time for you to abandon that old pursuit of God by works and deeds and accept Jesus as your savior who can save you and grant you everlasting life?
See, in order to grab new, you need to let the old go. Forget about the past and move forward with the new things the Lord has in store for you.
Secondly, listen what Paul says in 1 Timothy 1:13-16, “Even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor and yet I was shown mercy…. It’s a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. And yet, for this reason, I found mercy, in order that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience, as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life”. Do you know what Paul did in the past? Listen, He was a blasphemer, persecutor and a violent aggressor. He killed Christians, torn apart many families, supported people to stone Stephen to death. But he found mercy in the Lord. He got saved by faith in Christ Jesus.
Some people dwell in their past continuously and can never get over from it. Are you a person like that? Listen, you didn’t do many of the horrible things Paul did. You didn’t tear families apart, killed Christians. Jesus showed His mercy and forgiveness to Paul to demonstrate His perfect patience. The mercy Paul received was to be an example for many who would believe in Christ for forgiveness and eternal life. If Paul was the towering personality after Jesus Christ in the New Testament, Moses was the giant personality in the old testament. Moses also received mercy from God after the horrible mistakes he made. See, the same God’s mercy is available to you, if you call upon the name of Jesus.
May be you’re already a believer in Christ who followed the Lord for a period of time very victoriously. Then suddenly something bad happened in your life. You are hurt and you’re still dwelling in your past sadness or bad event that happened. Don’t live in the past. Instead of letting the past determine tomorrow, go ahead and lay down yesterday’s bad experiences, so you can reach forward for what God has in store for tomorrow. But you may say that I can’t get over with that. But the fact is you can and God will help you to make that choice of let the past go and strain to reach forward to the future. God says in Isaiah 43: 19, “ Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert”. God is a God of new beginnings. “The Lord’s loving kindness indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is His faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22-23). God, in Philippians 2:13 (c), asks you to do this – forget what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead.
Bible says you have a unique purpose and assignment to finish on this earth. Bible says you and me have a faith to keep and race to finish. God called you with a unique purpose in mind and no matter what happens in your life – good or bad- you should be able say like Apostle Paul said at the time of his death, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course (that was assigned to me) and I have kept the faith (in Christ Jesus). To achieve this you have to let the past go by letting it go forever and forgetting it. And then reach forward to what lies ahead.
The past is past and you and I won’t be able to change whatever happened in the past. Don’t feed the past. When you feed, it grows big. Don’t let that happen. Instead, forget it and neglect it and then grab the new and press on.
Your cut down, destroyed and the seemingly dead tree will grow with rich leaves beautifully again. Don’t continuously look in the rear mirror of past and but start to look straight ahead and continuously lean on God. Jesus laid hold off you for that purpose for which you will lay hold off. Let not your past bad experiences, Satan’s condemnation trap and other people’s look or comments, stop you for that which Jesus laid hold off you.
God assures in Bible, “ For I am confident this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1: 6). God assures, He will perfect your calling, as you forget/neglect the past that lays you down, and reach forward for what lies ahead
Please pray with me.
Lord Jesus, I understand my hard works or deeds can never save me from my sin. Jesus, I believe you died for my sins, rose again and I accept you as my savior and Lord. Thank you for saving and giving me everlasting life. Amen.
Already a believer in Christ? You can pray like this.
Lord Jesus, I give my past hurting experiences into your loving and healing hand. According to your promise, I make a choice to forgive and forget what lies behind- my painful experiences of the past-and reach to what lies ahead. I lean on you Lord, to fulfill your plan and purpose in my life, from this point onward. Amen.
Remember: Please forgive, forget and neglect the past and move forward with the Lord for the future that lies ahead. God is with you and will grant you His new mercies and graces.