As we come to Jesus and begin to understand who we are in Him, a major task before us is to examine our past, see it through Godly lenses, put it behind us, and start marching forward. Paul makes it clear in today’s scripture that he is on a journey. He knows he is not perfect, but he determines to forget what used to motivate him … to forget his past achievements. He reaches forward … to become all Jesus wants him to be. He is moving in the right direction, toward Jesus … and he is intentional about not turning back.
That’s where we need to be too, taking one stepping stone at a time on our journey toward Jesus, living out and accomplishing His purpose for us. In today’s verse, Paul talks about forgetting, but what does he really mean? He is not talking about having amnesia about the past. Some Christians will tell you, “You are a new creation, don’t look at your past, only look forward.”
Now, listen closely as this is a very important point. It seems clear and silly when I say it, but it is a powerful point to me and hopefully to you, one with many ramifications that clarify journeying for the prize. Here is it comes: When you accepted Christ as your personal savior, you didn’t get a brain transplant. Think about it, if we were totally transformed at the point of salvation, we would never have sinned again. How sad that as believers, we do still sin. So there must be something we have to do to allow the perfect Holy Spirit to complete His job in perfecting us.
And you see, it is all comes down to decision-making. This is our part. Stewarding our decision-making opportunities. In order to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us, one thing we need to do is look at how our past adversely influences everyday decision-making. We need to forget the old motivations, goals, and pursuits we once had … and stop conforming to the world’s system.
The past is what God allowed in our lives so we would draw close to Him. Another outcome of the past is that it prepares us for the good works He has planned for us. God uses many situations, both good and bad from my life prior to my commitment to Christ, in ministry to others. This is what God intended. Forgetting my past would cause me to miss opportunities to learn about God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, and to turn what Satan intended for bad into something God can use for His glory.
But when we look at our past, we do need to process it with a very specific focus on Jesus and God’s plans and goals. That will transform our lenses so we can take every thought captive and allow God to come in to those old areas of hurt. Then healing can occur … and truth will replace the ripples of distortion that fog our lenses – just what Satan wants.
Today, don’t ruminate about the past. But don’t ignore it as if you had a brain transplant. Your past constantly affects your moment by moment decisions. So examine your decisions today to understand how your past affects them. This will actually show you what is at the center of your heart. Your past will reveal why other things are at the center of your heart instead of God. WITHIN REACH and Edging Forward are our curriculum to help you examine and understand your decision-making process and become a Godly decision-maker. Whether you have a renewed mind (a brain transplant) is your decision, so choose well.
Dear God, Thank You for Your healing and forgiveness. Help me to use my past hurts for my growth. Do not allow them to interfere with the growth You have for me. Show me how to keep my eyes on Jesus as I move forward along the path You have for me. Help me to practice this skill regularly. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who has made everything right, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. 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.
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