Saturday, December 23, 2006

Forget about It

Passage of Scripture: Philippians 3:12-14

(12) Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (13) Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, (14) I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Paul is such a great example for all of us to follow. His goal of course was to know Christ. Paul wanted to be all that God wanted him to be. This goal of his absorbed all of Paul's energy. Paul of course admits that he has not yet taken hold of the perfected life that God has planned for him, but this is his hearts desire. This doesn't mean he expects to be flawless in every detail, but that he wants to be mature or complete. Christians that are mature should press on in the Holy Spirit's power, knowing that Christ will reveal any area of your life that is not what it should be.

Paul learned a long time ago that the only way to move forward was to forget the past. I'm reminded of Paul's past. Acts 7:57-60 tells us that Saul (later named Paul) was right there when they stoned Stephen and verse 60 tells us that Saul was there giving approval of his death. You see Paul had good reason to want to forget what was behind him. I can think of many things that I have done over the years, even the last few weeks or days that I wish I could take back. Regrets of how I've lived my life and the things I've said and done. But Paul did one thing that we all need to do. He put his past behind him. It doesn't just say he put it behind him, it says he forgets about it! Why do we keep bringing up the past? The reason we do is because Satan wants us to remember it. Because if we remember our past we will be blinded from the truth that our past has been forgotten. All the sins we've ever committed or are ever going to commit, Jesus has already paid the debt for these sins and He promises to forgive and forget our sin. So if Satan can keep us remembering what Jesus forgets, we will not be effective for God's Kingdom as we can be. Paul's says he strains toward what is ahead. This sounds to me like it isn't always easy. It's a strain, a stretch, it's a goal that has to be reached for and always striving for. He keeps pressing on. We need to keep on keeping on, looking forward to a fuller and more meaningful life in Christ.

What is your regret? What have you done that you can't seem to forgive yourself for? I want to encourage you to let it go. Forget it! The only one that wants you to remember is Satan. It certainly isn't Jesus. Jesus would rather you focus on the life he has planned for your future. Looking forward is the only way of life with Jesus. The good news that Paul is telling us is that while we are still here on this earth, we can look toward heaven. God has called us to be with Him in heaven. We all know that Jesus is preparing an eternal home for us right now in heaven. But in the meantime we have the opportunity of a lifetime! We get to tell others about Jesus and His saving power. If we are obedient to this heavenly calling we can be used mightily by God to help build His kingdom. Our eternal home is secure, and eternity doesn't start for us on the day we die, it started for us on the day we gave our lives to Jesus, the day we acknowledged that we need Jesus to forgive us of our sins and save us from an eternal separation from God and His love.

Forget your past! Get rid of your guilt! Jesus loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life and regrets about your past is not part of His plan. Grow in maturity with Christ. Study His word and pray that you will follow His will. Look forward, not back! Imagine driving your car forward while only looking in the rear view mirror. I bet you'd crash in a hurry. It's no different trying to live your life for Christ but always looking back at how you used to be. Satan wants you to take your eyes off the heavenly road that God has planned for you. Press on. Focus on the goal that God has called you.

Prayer: Dear Heavenly father, thank you for this man Paul. He was dead set against you Jesus, but You woke him up with your love for him and your plan for him. Even with a past like Paul's, You used him mightily. Please use me in spite of my past! Help me to forget about it like You have. Amen.

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