Jul 13, 2011

Forgetting the Past

We often hear the advice that we should forget the past and look to the future. In fact, Paul exhorts us to do so in Philippians 3:13-14 when he shares

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.
Usually, what people have in mind is the need to forget the painful past, forget the unhappiness, bitterness and unforgiveness and move on. Such painful memories or baggage can weigh us down and prevent us from pushing on to success.

Recently, as I was reading one of Pastor Joel Osteen's daily devotional messages, something that he wrote really drew my attention. I'm including his words below:

This One Thing
Are you determined to forget the past? I know many people don’t fully understand what that means. They wonder, “How can I forget something that’s happened to me?” But one definition of the word forget is to disregard intentionally or to overlook. In other words, you have to choose to disregard your past so that it doesn’t hold you back. That means the good and the bad. Sometimes our past victories keep us from rising higher as much as our past failures can. If we don’t let go of the old, we’ll never be able to embrace the new.

How true. At times, it's not past failures that hold us back, but our past victories. Some people go through life comparing their present with their past glories. They may have done very well early on in life, or had the best times of their lives while in school, and when they look back on those days with fond nostalgia, they can't help but feel that sadness that they can never get those old warm feelings back again.

While we can look back to our past with happy memories, it would be sad to allow them to hold us back and think that we could never achieve such success or experience such happiness again.

I believe God wants us to experience His fullness at every stage of our lives, despite our past sadness or happiness. We can look forward to each new day with hope and anticipation that He is going to do great and mighty things for us, and with us, and through us!

I don't think any one wants to be like Lot's wife and fossilised into a pillar of salt for looking back!

In Hebrews 12:1, we are reminded to "run with endurance the race that is set before us".  So, look up and look forward to the exciting possibilities God is opening up to you right now! Amen!

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