“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,…”
Philippians 3:13, NIV
There is no quicker way to slow down or completely halt your spiritual growth and peace with God than to live in the past. Far too many believers do exactly that! Far too many believers hold on to some moral, ethical, or spiritual failure in their past, consequently getting stuck in the past and missing the joy and excitement of the present.
First, understand that you are never going to “get it totally right!” Stop trying to achieve perfection in Christ! It is not going to happen, ever! I doubt that many modern day believers could hold a candle to Paul’s faithfulness and sacrificial service. Yet Paul candidly declares, “I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.” Taken hold of what? The Christian lifestyle! Even Paul never got it totally right and he met Jesus face-to-face. So stop beating yourself up for not being perfect.
Secondly, Paul says to jettison the baggage of your past. “Forgetting what is behind . . .” Paul had some baggage. Before meeting Jesus on the Damascus Road, Paul had been persecuting believers; putting them in prison and even consenting to their deaths. Of all people, Paul could have spent the rest of his life lamenting over what he had done. But what good would that have done? Instead, he founded church after church and wrote two-thirds of our New Testament! Get rid of your baggage!
Instead, like Paul, “strain towards what is ahead.” Agonizing about your past failures is a waste of time. Paul remembered the words of Isaiah: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!” (Isaiah 43:18-19a)
QUESTION: Right now, make peace with your past. Turn it over to Jesus. What does Christ want to do in your life? He has a whole new plan for you!