“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind…” – Philippians 3:13 (NIV)
In the Bible passage above, the apostle Paul said: “if you are going to get what God has in store for you, this one thing you must do: Forget about the past”. For some of us, we get too attached to our past that we have lost sight of what lies ahead of us. We use our past to judge our present and everyone around us. That’s the reason most persons who have experienced one hurt or the other, relate to people according to their experience in the past. Everyone is a suspect to them. If you continue to live that kind of life, you will never be productive.
Most people get too occupied with their past achievement(s) or failures that they forget that there are greater things ahead. I am not saying you shouldn’t be happy about your success, but you must learn not to get too comfortable staying in the past because if you do, you will not be relevant in the present.
Forget about the old things, if you continue to think about it, then you are in the past, and you can’t live in the past. Forget about the bad relationship, learn from it, but forget what transpired. Forget about the past failures in exams; it may be that you did not practice well. Learn from it and move on. Look at the big picture ahead of you and just smile, knowing that God has a lot waiting for you. So why choose to get stuck in the past? Most times the devil makes us dwell too much on our past that we become too busy to even see what God has placed before us.
Imagine that you are running a race and you are trying to reach the goal and win the prize. But as hard as you try to reach you never get to the finish line because there is a heavy load tied around one of your legs, you can struggle to pull it along, but it slows you down and makes you so exhausted that you want to give up. That’s what happens to you when you carry bad memories of the past; it slows you down so you won’t be able to reach God’s purpose in your life. Just allow God to do his wonders in your life concerning what you are going through, live the past for Him to handle in His way rather than making it disturb you.
You may have done something terrible in the past, that you think God has not forgiven you. The good news is that He has already forgiven you. And He doesn’t hold anything against you. So, stop carrying the guilt around. The past does not become a story not until God has finished his work in that area. The reason God doesn’t want to wipe your past completely out of your memory is that He wants to use that part of your life for the work he called you to do. He can take the worst thing about your past and make it be your greatest blessing in the future. He will use you to bring hope to other people who are going through a similar situation. Then the past would be a tunnel that would connect you to the future.
One of my favourite passage in the Bible that has transformed my life is found in the letter written to the Church in Ephesus by the apostle Paul which says “in Him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of His will” (Chap. 1:11, emphases added). God works out everything which includes both good and bad to conform with the purpose of His will. Just like the saying goes “when the devil throws a lemon at you, God urns it to lemonade”. It doesn’t matter what you have been through, if you will just yield to Him today, he will bring laughter to that dying face again. No wonder Paul said, “and we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28, emphases added).
Paul said “Brothers I don’t consider myself to have taken hold of it. But this one thing I do…” Paul realized he has not reached his goal yet and in other to get there he has to do one thing which is – forgetting what is behind. He knew if he had focused on his past success or failure he won’t reach his ultimate goal in life.
Don’t get caught up in yesterday, this is a new day, yesterday is gone and whatever you did with it. Learn from it and do a new thing on a new day (don’t repeat something bad or improve on it). The psalmist David wrote, “this is the day the Lord has made, I will rejoice and be glad in it” (see Psalms 118:24). Make every day count