In Philippians 3:13-14 Paul wrote “one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” We must look ahead if we are going to move forward.
One reason so many can’t ‘press forward’ is because they keep looking back. Anyone knows that you’re not going to be a good driver if you’re constantly looking back instead of watching the road in front of you. Even Jesus said (Luke 9:62) “no one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.”
Many are guilty of looking back at the failure of others. We can be guilty of burying others under the weight of past failures so that no matter how much they may have changed, we will never let them be more than what they were in the past. We will say things like “I forgive you, but I will never forget.” This is why some couples argue so much. They have piled upon each other a whole mound of past failures which are released every time there is a disagreement or a letdown, so that the couple cannot move forward because they are still drudging through the past.
Others are guilty of looking back at their own failures. They’ve buried themselves under the weight of past failures so much that they don’t see any point in walking in Christ-likeness because they feel their past would just make them a hypocrite. Because of their past, many feel they can’t walk in purity, in trust, in newness of life.
I’m so glad God isn’t like that. Psalm 103:12 says “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” God doesn’t hold anything against those who come to Him and confess their sin in repentance. The reason He can forgive AND forget is because He will never go through the archives in order to bring up the past against you. When you become a child of God, you are completely forgiven. That’s the result of the finished work of Jesus on the Cross. You are free to be the new man because the old man has been forgiven and forgotten. Ephesians 4 says that we are to ‘put off the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, putting on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.’
Don’t let who you were keep you from walking as a new creation in Christ. Don’t let the failures of others keep you from forgiving them and moving forward in your relationship. We must stop looking at what is behind if we are going to be able to move ahead. It won’t be easy to stop looking back and it will take some serious discipline on our part – but it will pay off in the end. The author of Hebrews put it this way (Heb 12:1b-2) “…let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of throne of God.”
Forget what is behind you and run, with all your heart, the race that is set before you today.