In Philippians 3:13, the Apostle Paul writes this:
“. . . forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on . . .”
Philippians 3:13b -14a (ESV)
With the exception of Jesus, there is no one who has gone through life without racking up some regret for past failures or bad choices. I’m not referring to that really bad haircut you once got or the clothing styles that seemed cool at the time but now look downright silly.
We all have stuff in our past that hurts when we remember it.
In the context of Philippians, Paul is writing about things that he has done that would be considered good things. In verse 7, he refers to them as “things that were gain to me.” It is these that Pauls is leaving behind.
But we can also use the same principle for the not-so-good things, they should also be left behind. Neither the good things nor the bad things will change our relationship with Jesus. That relationship is based entirely on grace.
Furthermore, the very nature of the resurrection shows us that God can use even the bad things for his glory.
So while we may not totally forget the failures of the past, we can live knowing that we are not stuck and those failures don’t define us.
In the end, we are not saved by what we do or don’t do, it is our relationship with Jesus that gets us through. He is not going to be the one who reminds you of your failures, it is our Enemy who will do that.
Forgetting what lies behind involves not listening to the lie that your failures define you.
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Used with permission from Mark H. McIntyre.