In moving forward into the things that God’s has for us, “the future filled with hope”, there are certain things that we need to do. For example, we need to move forward by letting go of the past.
Philippians 3:13 New English Translation (NET Bible)
Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself to have attained this. Instead I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead.
We need to forget the things that are behind, whether they are successes or failures, we need to forget them and move on. Yes, we can mourn the negative and celebrate the good, but we should not camp in them; keep moving forward! Even though we may walk through the Valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4) means that we’re not camping in the valley but simply passing through! Too many people get into the Valley of the shadow of death and they camp there – some even die there! You are not called to camp in and die in the Valley of the shadow of death, you are called to move through it; to pass through it to the other side. “Even though I walk through” it not run through it! It may take some time but you need to be optimistic and hope-filled because it is not your destination!
I believe that the Spirit of God is speaking to some of you right now and saying that you’ve camped in the Valley of the shadow of death for too long! Get out! Stop holding onto the sickness that has defined your life for so long; Stop holding onto the tragedy that has defined your life for decades. Stop holding onto the accomplishments, trophies and successes of yesterday, and move on. Move forward because God has so much more for you! Let God define your life, not past successes and not any failures. Many people have a tendency to resist change because they’re familiar with where they are. It’s not that they are secure where they are, they just feel insecure about where they should be going and so decide to be passive and stagnant. We’re not called to resist the change that God is leading us to but embrace it! Change should be a normal part of the Christian life because as we seek God we’ll be given opportunities to accept course corrections and make decisions that lead us forward in maturity and into our destiny! If you are someone who usually resists change, then you’re basically embracing camping in the valley and possibly your demise. There’s a temptation for us to camp in the comfortable, even though it’s hazardous. Don’t be so familiar with the prison that you’re in right now that you prevent yourself from being able to move forward.
Change isn’t easy but if it’s the God kind of change you can be confident that it’s always for your best. We should not allow past failures and negative experiences to limit what we experience today, neither should we live in the victories of yesterday – God has something more for you, today! We’re limiting what God can do in our lives and preventing ourselves from walking in the destiny that he has got for us if we resist change.
Hebrews 10:17 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)
Then he says, “I will forget their sins and never again remember the evil they have done.”
Your sins, failures, and mistakes are all forgiven and God is choosing to never remember them again. He has chosen to forgive you of all your stupid mistakes, whether intentional or unintentional. What you may have done may have been stupid, but you are forgiven! Don’t allow your failures to dictate your future.
Your ability to choose how you respond to circumstances is more important than what happens to you. Paul was beaten with rods and whips multiple times. He was stoned (he was not “high” but had rocks thrown at him with the intention of killing him) and he was left for dead. He was imprisoned. He was shipwrecked. He suffered hunger, cold, nakedness and more, all for the sake of the gospel. And yet Paul referred to all of his sufferings as “light affliction”. He chose to disesteem his sufferings and negative circumstances – it wasn’t that important to him. He had chosen to live with eternity in mind. None of what he experienced was pleasant, but it never stopped him and never depressed him; it never got him “down in the dumps.” If he was down in the dumps, he would have written to the Philippians and said, “Oh guys, it’s so tough. Would you mourn with me? Cry with me. This is terrible!” Instead, he said, “rejoice in the Lord always!” (Philippians 4:4) And he wrote that from prison! That is phenomenal! Many of us need to adopt this kind of mindset; we need to adopt a mindset like God: a victorious mindset! Yes, bad things may have happened to you but you cannot hold onto a victim mindset (which includes self-pity) and expect to be victorious. Let it go and embrace the God kind of mindset: Victory! Paul said, “I am single-minded, forgetting the things that are behind…” He didn’t specify that he was forgetting only negative things, I believe that he also had to let go of a whole bunch of good, too. Some of you need to let go of good things from the past and not just the bad things. Don’t camp. Keep moving forward into the promises of God!