EarthBasic. Take care. Bless many.
“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 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13 - 14, NIV) .
George Eliot, Middlemarch (1872) stated that “Our deeds still travel with us from afar, and what we have been makes us what we are.” This statement is, in many ways, so true. Our past can be like a shadow, projecting a future bound to the monotony of repeating the triumphs and defeats we have already lived. The truth is, the lives we have lived have been intricately woven into the persons we are today, making forgetting what lies behind very difficult.
I remember the joys and triumphs of my past, as well as the failures that marked my journey. It hurts me terribly to list those things which I should have done, but did not; and it devastates me to list those things which I ought not to have done, but did. To think of my past in this way, makes me feel guilty, anxious and remorseful. It paralyzes my very effort to step out into the abundant life for which Jesus Christ has taken hold of me. (John 10:10 and Philippians 3:14). Paul’s statement to the Philippians,“forgetting what lies behind,” gives us the solution to our dilemma. (3:13, NIV). We cannot change the past, but we definitely can charter a course for the future, not bound to simply repeating past triumphs and failures.
The Apostle Paul knew just how debilitating our pasts could be. A survey of Paul’s life reveals him as a chief persecutor of early Christians, being present to the death of the first martyr Stephen. (Acts 7:54 - 8:2). In fact, by his own admission, Paul described himself as “a blasphemer, and a persecutor and a violent man”. (1 Timothy 1: 13, NIV). But, if we read the full context of Paul’s admission, we see that he acknowledges who he was in concert with the acknowledgement of the effectiveness of the grace of Jesus Christ in his life:
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. (1 Timothy 1: 15 - 16, NIV).
In our focus Scripture for the week, the Apostle Paul uses the imagery of a runner. Recollect the races you have watched. You will have noticed that whenever the runners looked back they lost momentum, energy and focus. Some of them even fell to the ground and lost the race! Paul’s aim in using this analogy is to emphasize the fact that in the same way a runner cannot be successful unless she focuses on the race, neither can we be successful in growing in Christ if we become distracted by what lies behind.
Let us learn from our past, but not allow it to immobilize us. We must choose to move forward in the power of the God who lovingly created us in His image. When God looks at us He does not see our sins. Instead He sees the potential within us that is waiting to be unleashed, if only we would let go of that which holds us down.
Beloved, God gives us the strength to forget the unforgettable and to move past the memories that seek to immobilize us. God loves us with an everlasting love and is waiting for us to forget what lies behind, so that He can flood our hearts anew with the peace for which we yearn.
Prepare your children to let go and let God by first soaking in this object lesson by Kristi Lemley. Once you’ve taken care, try it with your children. If you find that you need an easier way to convey the importance of letting go so God can have His way in their lives, try this mini-devotional by Douglas Talks.
How does today’s sharing invite you, as a child of God, to live? (Hint: use the categories below to help you reflect).
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Carolyn Sinclair McCalla is a daughter of God who believes that as we seek the truth of God's Word, and humble ourselves to live in agreement with it, that we will experience the transformation which allows us to enter wholistic wellness: spirit, soul and body. She is the Founder and President of EarthBasic and leads its Be-Held Community: a group of women seeking, living and being transformed by the truth of God’s Word together.