I have been thinking a lot lately about why it is so difficult to put our past behind us– specifically those things we would rather forget. We sometimes simply get stuck in the past and find it impossible to grab hold of the future. With one hand in the past, it is difficult to move forward. So what do we do about it as Christians? The Apostle Paul helps us to put this into perspective:
Brothers and sisters, 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. (Philippians 3:13)
He is telling the people of Philippi and likewise us, that he actually does something. He takes action. He determines to forget what is behind. And then he is able to press on into the future. We know from Scripture that we are called to have faith and take action. Faith without action is dead faith, and action without faith.. is often based on our plan and not God’s plan. Paul knows that in order to embrace the future, sometimes we must let go of the past. So what can be done if we just can’t let go?
I often hear people say, “Let go and let God.” What does that mean? We surrender the past, bringing all under the mercy of God through Christ, and then we move on. Sometimes this requires deep healing and forgiving yourself, or others who have wronged you. Sometimes it is our need to get God’s perspective. Our lenses looking at our past are clouded, distorted and often we are hard on ourselves. The only way to get God’s perspective is through prayer, the Word, and friends who are safe and willing to help you walk through the past enabling you to grab hold of the future through God’s mercy.
Now I’m getting into the thick of it. Some of us (me included) prefer to sit on our pity pot. It is easier to point fingers, become a victim, blame someone else or blame ourselves. It is easier to sink into condemnation and self-pity and the enemy loves it. Once we get comfy with the pity pot he wields his influence determined that you won’t seek God’s counsel and will not move from the past into a preferable God future. So today as we make space for God together, I want you to consider something. Ask the Lord where you are stuck. Have a friend pray with you. Look to the future with hope. God has great purpose for your life and is waiting to help you let go. He does His best work when we cant.
Paul had something he describes as a thorn in his side. We don’t know for sure what it was but he was in a weakened state:
But he said to me, ” My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is perfected in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Friends, our past that may haunt us also weakens us. The good news is that this is when God’s power enables you to let go and move forward. I love the song, “O Come to the Altar” by Elevation Worship, which reminds us that forgiveness is ours, bought with the blood of Christ. I encourage you to listen to this song and claim its truth today.