|Good morning everyone,|
Our theme for this month: “The end of anxiety and despair”
Our Bible verse for today: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ. Therefore, let all of us who are mature think this way.” Philippians 3:13-15 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Remember the past but don’t dwell on it”
I’m sure at some point someone has probably counseled you to “forget the past and move on from it.” That sounds so wise, but actually it’s impossible to do. We can’t really, truly, “forget” the past, in the sense of not remembering it. Unless you have amnesia, the past is firmly planted in your memory bank and it will remain there forever. You couldn’t forget it if you wanted to. And, you shouldn’t. The past is part of you. All the things from your past have contributed to bring you to this place and time in your life. Together they add up to who you are.
But with that said, your past doesn’t have to define you, nor does it have to determine your present or your future. We need to learn from the past, understand its role in forming us and bringing us to this time and place in life, but then we need to move on from it. We can’t change the past. We can’t undo the things that we did do, nor can we go back and insert things we should have done but didn’t. All we can do is learn from the past, live well now in this moment, and then move forward into the future.
That’s what the Apostle Paul was describing in Philippians 3:13-15. He did not mean that he didn’t remember his past. He did. Paul had a deep dark past, and he even wrote about it several times in the Bible. He was complicit in mass murder. As a Pharisee he had been appointed to serve as an inquisitor and persecutor of Christians. In that capacity he had instigated and overseen the persecution and murders of many Christians. There was nothing Paul could do to change his past. All he could do was remember it, remain conscious of the hard lessons he had learned from it, and use those lessons to live well now and on into the future.
Paul remembered his past but he didn’t dwell on it (and neither should you). Don’t beat yourself up about it. Like Paul, repent of it, repair what damage from it that can be repaired, remember the hard lessons you have learned, and then move on with life. And don’t forget the important truth of Philippians 1:6 that you are a work in progress. Realize that you are not yet the man or woman that God wants you to be, but thank God you are no longer the person you used to be.
I encourage you to remember the past but don’t dwell on it. Learn the lessons, live well now, and move forward into the future God has planned for you.
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