When the Past Keeps Winning …

“Brethren, 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 3:13-14)

We all have a past and there are events, memories and other unpleasant reminders of bad choices we have made.  The past also possesses a record of happy and rewarding experiences that brings a smile to our face or at least in our heart.

There is a misconception that this passage teaches us to somehow erase from our memories those un-pleasantries of the past as if they never happened when in reality they did.

The Bible thought of “forgetting of those things which are behind” is not the Lord’s instruction for us to somehow fail to remember.  Not at all!  We never really forget the past, do we? We have all wished there was some way to make all the unpleasant things go away … to somehow erase them off of the white board of our mind.  But we cannot!

Actually, what each of us would do well to learn is how to no longer be under the influence of our past … and that is the real rub for us to contend with, isn’t it?

We … yes, you and me … just need to learn how to break the debilitating power our past can have over us.  We need to learn how to break the chains of bad memories that are keeping us from running the race successfully (Hebrews 12:1-2).

“Those who stare at the past have their backs turned to the future.” – Unknown

Mistakes happen.  We say things we shouldn’t have said and often in a way and manner that can be viewed as hateful, demeaning and even cruel!  We can be haunted by our failure to say something encouraging or grateful to someone but we failed to seize the opportunity and they are gone.  Oh how we wish these ugly reminders would quit showing themselves to us!

We can treat someone in an unkind and mean-spirited way … sometimes in a self-righteous manner … and those ugly words,  those terribly spoken hurtful words come up before our mind’s eye like a power point slide … and we want it to go away but it will return again.

We cannot go back in time for a redo!  We cannot go back in time and undo either!  But we can learn how to view the past in a way that can be constructive and lead us to living a better life that more resembles the life of Jesus Christ.

“The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there. “– L.P. Hartley

The apostle Paul had so much in his former walk of life under the name of Saul that could have weighted him down to the point it would have been difficult to even take a step much less run the race of life for Christ (Read 1 Timothy 1:12-17 …)

The apostle Paul was able to turn his life with such an ugly past full of mistakes regarding the Lord Himself and His people, those who comprised the early church into a greater desire, motivation and purposeful life.  You see, he lived the rest of his life showing gratitude to God for His mercy, grace and patience (Galatians 2:20-21).

And the beautiful take away from all of this is that we can too!  We don’t have to let our past keep winning!  We can complete our race in this life successfully by our Lord’s grace, mercy, patience and love!  Amen!!

“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old” (Isaiah 43:18)


Bill Fairchild, Jr.

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