Forgetting What is Behind…
A while ago I had to cut something out of my life that wasn’t good for me, and every so often I look back and think about it, and wish for it, and try to justify reasons why I might be able to sneak it back into my life again!
A few weeks back I was having those kind of thoughts when a line from the Bible popped into my head (thanks I think to memorising Philippians earlier this year!):
I realised this is the perfect verse for me, because I need to forget those things and put them behind me. But even more than that, I need to press on and reach for the things which are ahead which are much better.
So now everytime those thoughts come into my head, I immediately recite that verse, and my focus changes and they go away.
Often to change our thinking we need to turn our minds from thinking wrongly to thinking Biblically. And it’s amazing how when you use a Bible verse to do that, it is just like a sword – it cuts off the head of the wrong thoughts. Jesus did the same in the wilderness when he was tempted by the devil – he didn’t reason with him from his own thinking, but quoted the word of God, and shut him up!
I think we are prone to dwell in the past, which can lead us to feel guilty, sad, discouraged, or even tempted to go back to things that we left behind and it does not help us at all.
There are times when thinking about what is behind can be helpful if we are remembering how God has helped us or blessed us, or remembering from where we have fallen so that we can return there. Also there are times that thinking about the bad parts can be good if we still have some unfinished business and need to confess that we did wrong, and repent, and maybe make restitution or apologise to someone.
But aside from that God wants us to to forget what is behind us and reach forward to what is ahead. But what is ahead and how can this change us?
- We will see Jesus – that makes me want to live in a way that I will hear Him say, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’
- We will go to heaven – that should give us hope: hope of a wonderful future with no sin, no pain, no tears, no suffering, a new body and with lovely companions!
- Everyone will be judged – we should want to tell as many people as we can about Him before time runs out.
- We will be rewarded – we are told to store up our treasure in heaven, where it is not eaten by moths, or rust, or stolen by thieves. Eternal rewards for me are hard to fathom, but the realisation that everything in this earth will perish and only that which is eternal will remain makes we want to do things that last and have eternal value. Like honouring God rather than working for man’s approval, reaching souls for Christ, helping people to know more of God, and doing what God has called me to do rather than what I want to do for my own pleasure. Although I think I actually get far greater joy in the long run from doing God’s will anyway!
So if you are dwelling on the past and getting discouraged or sidetracked, I would encourage you to memorise that verse, stick it up somewhere, or carry it around and recite it when the thoughts come. And then we can press forward to the glorious things that are ahead, without the weights of the past pulling us back!
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