Monday, February 4, 2008

Forgetting the past.....

"But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead," Philippians 3:13(NIV) "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past." Isaiah 43:18 (NIV) Everyone has a past. Even those who have only been around a couple of days. After all, our past has a major influence on who and where we are at this exact moment. Some have memories varying from extremes of good to bad to down right dispicable. Like George Bailey in "It's A Wonderful Life" we can't opt to not be born. Along those same lines, we can't choose to change the things that have happened in our past. It would be nice to rewrite our own history. However, if we think about it, if anything changed in our past, would we be the person we are today? The Lord asks that we forgive our tresspassers and those who have sinned against us. There is an old saying that goes "forgive and forget." Personally, I have a harder time forgiving myself than others. Forgiveness is not the issue, I struggle with late; it's the forgetting part. It seems like "out of the blue" something (like a song, a movie, a place, etc) will trigger memories of different situations in my life in which I could have made better choices. The difference is that now I remember those times with a sense of disgust as I now have the Spirit dwelling in me. I know that I am truly a "new creation in Christ" because the things I once found palatable are now vile. I truly am repentant for any behaviors in the past that were less than glorifying to the Lord. But, the thoughts of these times often disturb me and I feel ashamed that I hurt my Lord so. I know the scripture says we should "forget" the past, however I don't take this to be a literal forgetfulness. I take it to mean do not dwell on the things we can not change. Instead use these situations for good and praise the Lord you're no longer in those places in your life. I used to say, "I don't call them mistakes - I call them learning experiences." Isn't that what repentance is all about? We turn from the sin and repeat it no longer. I liken the memories of my past as reminders of how far the Lord has carried me from the "muck and mire." But, also I equate them to the figurative "thorn" similar to the Apostle Paul's affliction. They are reminders of how I need to draw near to the Lord at all times, humble myself and seek HIS guidance. Thankfully, with the Spirit living within me, I try to rely more on the Lord to set my footing on the fertile soil of the Lord's Word. I can honestly say, I am not always successful but at least I know my "Daddy" will pick me up and start again; just like I am on my "Glorified" training wheels. Praise Him that He forgets our sins "as far as the east is from the west." All we can do, is learn from our past and relate to others in the same situation. Maybe God wants to use your past experiences as a minisitry and/or to reach out to someone hurting around you. Ask Him!!! Dear Lord - please help me to keep a firm footing on the path YOU set forth for me. When memories of the past come up, I pray that you help me to dwell only on the deliverance and not on the shame. Allow me not to give Satan the satisfaction of doubting my redemption and deliverance from that sin. AMEN Application:

  • Do you have memories that "haunt" you?
  • Ask the Lord to show you the good that has come from your past.
  • Ask the Lord how you can use your experiences to grow His kingdom and help others.
  • Pray for healing from the past if you have not done so and/or it is inhibiting your spiritual growth.

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