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 (Phil. 3:13 KJV)
There are three temporal phases in our lives at any point in time: the past, the present and the future. The past, is really as its name implies, the past! However, the mystery of life is that though the past is past, its effects on the present and the future can be potent. Those influences from the past can be either beneficial or destructive.
Let us take a look at the potential benefits of the past. It serves as a reservoir of wisdom for us to learn from. It also gives us an opportunity to review the goodness and wonders of God so our praise will overflow like a river. These two examples show us that there is value in the past. The reality is that our past is often a predator and monster that ruins our present and erodes our future.
As humans, our past cannot merely be considered past because our actions have spiritual value. A classic example is when we sin. Time cannot deal with sin. It may be 50 years since the sin, but we need to receive forgiveness from the Lord otherwise that sin will stretch its tentacles and ruin our lives daily. A similar destructive effect of our past is that it often presents a difficult obstacle to moving into the blessings of the future. Another classic example here is the catastrophic consequences a previous failed relationship can have on a new one. If the individuals involved do not heal from the past relationship, they will ruin even a God-sent relationship brought their way.
The Apostle Paul says “that forgetting those things that are behind.” There are things in the past that must be forgotten for you to move forward, especially our previous failures. “Forgetting “ in this context is more than erasing the mental memory. It means not allowing your past to dictate your present and your future. This is especially true with our walk with God. We will fail, sometimes in ways that so embarrass us that we feel like running from God. However, it is in this circumstances that the Lord wants us to trust Him and depend entirely on His grace. He wants us to remember that He is Lord of the past, present, and future, and there are no restrictions with Him! So I remind you to forget those things that are past and move on to the future the Lord has for you!
What are two ways that our past can be very beneficial to our lives, as discussed above?
APPLY THE WORD
Are you tied to an event that happened 3, 5 or 10 years ago? You have to allow God to break that cord so that you can press on to the beautiful future He has for you. Learn to “forget” the things that are destructive to God’s plans for your life.
Ask the Lord for the grace to deal with your past in wisdom, so you derive the benefits and avoid its destructive influence!