Wednesday, June 13, 2012
13 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, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus
It's easy to live in the past, it's easy to wollow in self-pity, regret, and focusing on our past mistakes and problems. But, as long as we are constantly looking in the rear view mirror of life, we are never going to live in the present to overcome our past, or look to the future to overcome our past and be used by God again or live a healthy productive lifde.
Apostle Paul gave the church in Philippi great advice, admitting he didn't have it totally together himself, but one thing he did know what the he wa going to forget the past and push forward to what was ahead in his life and wasn't going to give up because he wanted to go to heaven to be with Jesus.
Paul had every reason to feel guilty, regret, and live in the past. He persecuted the church, had people arrested and killed for following Jesus, now He was one of the things He used to despise a Christ follower, He had every reason to want to feel sorry for himself or feel like he wasn't good enough or let his past dictact his life, but he didn't. He accepted grace, forgiveness, and Jesus. He owned up to His past, but did not let it define His life.
We all have a past. I have things in my life I regret, I wish I hadn't said or done, and believe me I've had my bouts with doubt and thinking God could never use me again or I wasn't good enough to ever be in ministry again, but here I am, and so can you. Maybe you aren't called to full-time ministry, but God still wants and can use you despite your past.
Maybe you used to be an addict? Maybe you used to be a drunk or party too much? Maybe you were a cheater or adulterer? Maybe you used to lie and manipulate and deceive people? I don't know what skeletons you have in your past, but leave them there, deal with them, accept responsibility for who you were then, and even when people doubt you or judge you for your past, do not let that stop youf from living today and looking forward to a future that only God can give you.
No one can determine what you can do today to change or what you can do tomorrow to make a difference. Stop looking back. Let your past serve as a reminder not a result of who you are today.
No one can change what they said or did yesterday or what they did or was a year ago, five years ago, or 20 years ago. But we can change today. We have a choice. We can start the process of getting our lives back and living for a future with God.