forgetting-what-is-behind1“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”.  Philippians 3:13-15  (ESV)

The apostle Paul knew the secret of moving forward.  After his dramatic conversion and subsequent call to bring the gospel to the the non-Jews of the world, Paul’s life took on a laser focus.  He was a man who knew where he was going and nothing was going to deter him from his mission.  Life was too short to get distracted from lving fully and completely for Jesus.  His secret? 

Forgetting what is behind. 

Seems pretty simple doesn’t it?  Just leave what’s in the past in the past.  It may sound simple, but for so many, it’s much easier said than done.  I have spent the last several years meeting with people in counseling or mentoring situations and I can confirm from those conversations and from my own life that moving forward is sometimes not an easy task.

Our past has a way of seeping into our present lives primarily when we fail to do the proper work of grieving losses, letting go of failed dreams, and refusing to forgive ourselves and others who have hurt us.  This work is not always easy, which I suppose is why so many fail to engage in it.  On the surface it seems easier to hold onto the mantra “I don’t live in the past, I live in the present” without actually forgetting what is behind.  We can be pretty convincing to even ourselves, but our thoughts, actions, and the way we relate to those around us always reveal the true state of our heart and whether or not we are living unhindered by our past. 

Do you often find yourself fearful about life?  You haven’t let go of the past

Do you find yourself with an obsessive need for control in certain areas?  You haven’t let go of the past

Do you find it difficult to open up emotionally in relationships with others?  You haven’t let go of the past

Do you harbor resentment toward others and you don’t know why?  You haven’t let go of the past 

This is just a beginning list that may indicate that you have some things to forget from your past so you are truly free to “press on toward the goal” that God has called you to pursue.   Are you ready to do the hard work of forgetting what is behind?

“Let those of us who are mature think this way” Philippians 3:15

Dave for Wellspring C 2008