There is a time for remembering and a time for forgetting.
The Bible gives us examples of both.
“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
It is important to consider the passages before the one in our text to understand what is being said. The apostle Paul 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). He is making the point that no earthly accomplishment compares with Christ and His righteousness. Therefore, he puts his past behind him to strain toward or dioko, which is the Greek word meaning to pursue with vigor as one following the prize in a race or a hunter pursuing a catch.
Regardless of how good or how 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.
We all come to Christ with a past.
But Paul is not saying to completely wipe away those memories when he states “forgetting what is behind”. Although we might regret some of our past behaviors, they were likely lessons serving as a catalyst for change. So, rather than hiding our pasts (or allowing them to shame us) before Christ, we should look at the progress we have made and use it as fuel to move forward.
Let me encourage you today, my friend. Allow me to remind you.
“Therefore, I will always remind you about these things—even though you already know them …” 2Peter 1:12
Keep fighting the good fight and keep growing.
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 around us. 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
Recall 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?
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