I’m a nostalgic person.
You know, someone who likes to reminisce the past. Even certain foods and smells cause me to recollect special memories and favorite people. For example, I have cinnamon scented candles and Scentsy in my house because it makes me feel homey and reminds me of my mother who is now in heaven with Jesus.
I love antique stores, old black and white movies, and radio shows. Do you remember Abbott and Costello and The Shadow? I used to listen to those with my daddy.
Just before the holidays, I started the process of setting up a home office. This room used to be my oldest son, Kevin’s. We had it decorated with all sorts of Coca-Cola memorabilia. Even though I packed up his Coca-Cola stuff to use in his own home, I decided to carry on the same theme. I’m having fun shopping antique stores for things that fit with my new-old workspace.
Although it’s fun to reminisce the past, it can also be a dangerous practice.
I don’t like talking about this, but I have also been one to struggle with depression. I’ve discovered that too much focus on what was can keep me stuck in the past and miss my blessings now. God has helped me find a proper balance of the two. Afterall, the experiences from my past brought me to who I am today in Christ.
Often, when celebrating the beginning of a new year, there is a tendency to look back over the previous one. Depending on your point of view, this can be helpful or detrimental.
The Bible offers the proper balance.
“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.”
There is a time for remembering and a time for forgetting.
The Bible gives us examples of both. It is important to consider the passages before the one in our text to understand what Paul is saying. He states, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things” (verse 8). Paul is making the point that no earthy accomplishment compares with Christ and His righteousness. Therefore, he puts his past behind him to strain toward or dioko—pursue with vigor as one following the prize in a race or a hunter pursuing a catch.
We all come to know Christ with humble and repentant hearts.
Regardless of how good or bad, we have been, we all come to Christ the same way: with a humble and repentant heart. And we all come with the millions of memories stored in our brains since birth. But Paul is not saying to completely wipe away those memories when he states “forgetting what is behind.” Some of them were lessons serving as a catalyst for change. When we recall and share the things from our pasts, it should bring honor and glory to God and spiritual benefit to ourselves and those we influence. Remembering our pasts should cause us to be grateful and to press onward toward our heavenly prize.
“Not to us, LORD, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.” Psalm 115:1
Perhaps last year was marked by difficulty and struggle that you’d just assume forget.
Please remember that “in all things, God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
In my own life, I have seen God take what was meant for evil and turn it around for His good. Because God is good and does only good (Psalm 119:68), He will do the same for you, beloved.
As we look back at 2017 and embrace 2018, let’s be sure and take with us the lessons, lovely memories, and yes—even the pain that draws us to the Father. Our pasts surrendered to the God will help propel us to “press on toward our heavenly goals” and forward motion.
What is a goal that God is calling you to press toward in 2018? Is there something from your past that you once held in high regard until you came to know Christ? Is there anything you are holding onto from your past that the Lord wants you to let go of?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
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