How to Keep Your Past Out of Your Present

Old pocket watch on wood backgroundIf someone were to ask you about your past, what would be your initial reaction.  If you are like most people, there is some positive, and…some not-so-positive back there.   Do  you have memories that you desperately would rather erase from your mind completely,  because they are so painful?  Perhaps a person wounded you in some way.  Maybe you hurt someone else, either by your own sin or even unintentionally.

Last week, in Lesson 10 of Loving God with All Your Mind, I shared some of the many hardships that the Apostle Paul endured in his life as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.  Those who were striving against the Christian church had done many things to Paul:  Imprisonments, beatings, stoning.  How ironic.  Were you aware that Paul was once the same?

Before Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, when he was still being called Saul, he was passionately going about doing those same things to other believers.  He stood by and watched as Stephen was stoned to death.  He would go from house to house, with the sole purpose of finding men and women who were Christians, throwing them in prison.  Even when God met Paul on that road, he was on his way to Damascus with letters from the high priest that gave him permission to continue persecuting believers there as well.

Paul had much in his past he wanted to forget.  Evil he had done, evil done to him.  What about you?  Perhaps you were a promiscuous young person or a bully in school.  Was your life filled with booze, drugs and lawlessness?  Were you abused by someone who was supposed to have loved you?  Did you have a crime committed against you or someone close to you?  We.all.have.something.

How was Paul NOT in the pit of despair?  He was learning to love God with not only his whole heart, but his MIND.

Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14 ESV)

Dear reader, we have a choice!  I know it isn’t easy to forget these things.  I have things too.  We must replace those memories with a new purpose.  As Paul told the people in the church at Philippi, he had to STRAIN FORWARD to what was ahead of him.  It was difficult!  But his goal was the prize of being called up into the heavens by Christ Jesus!


Don’t let your past keep you from living a fruitful life NOW.  God has forgiven you!  He has removed your sins so far from you it is as far as the east is from the west.  (Psalm 103:12)  You are no longer who you once were.  You are a new creation!  The old has passed away.  (2 Corinthians 5:17)

It is my prayer for you that you can lay those memories of your past at the feet of Jesus, that you will strain forward, like Paul, toward His loving arms, waiting to gather you up into His embrace.


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