If we want to keep moving forward in life, we can’t allow our past in any way to separate us from the love of God and His power to redeem and set us on a new path.
Paul in the bible said, “I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it but one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize of God’s heavenly calling in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
History records Paul as being instrumental in the persecution and killing of many early Christians before his Damascus Rd encounter. (Acts 9) Relatives of those he had sent to their deaths would have been in the meetings and homes he taught in after coming to know Jesus. It was these husbands, wives and children he regularly shared with, whilst knowing full well what sorrow he had caused them in his previous life.
Paul knew the pain of regret and the importance of acknowledging his past, yet choosing every day to not look back. For the danger in looking back is parts of our history and our unredeemed thinking of who we are now, can take us on crooked paths of regret, self-reproach and separation from the purposes of God on our lives and who He says we are in Him now.
Jesus knows we will be tempted to look back and to think about ourselves in light of who we once were, so He says to simply keep our eyes on Him and what and who He says we are now. He cautions that “no man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
When ploughing a field, you must first set the direction for the oxen or tractor to go in. The first furrow forms the path for the rest of the furrows to be ploughed. The key is to look ahead to where you are going as it’s impossible to plough a straight furrow if you look back. Looking back will cause you to keep trying to jerk the tractor’s wheel (or the oxen) one way or another to overcompensate. Once ploughed, “What is crooked cannot be made straight.” (Ecclesiastes 1:15)
Too many of us try to steer our lives forwards whilst regularly looking back; speaking and believing contrary to who Jesus says we are in Him. We wonder why we struggle, but it’s because we look back which cause us to create crooked pathways for our future.
But Jesus has the solution, “Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead” Proverbs 4:25
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:18-19)
God is the master of taking ashes and making beauty out of them. He creates something extraordinary from our mess and failures and when He speaks to us He no longer refers to or records our mess any more. Instead He declares it and you completely redeemed. We may still see ourselves through the lens of our mistakes and sin, but He does not.
Today I encourage you to take hold of who Jesus says you are now and see what your future looks like with Him walking alongside you. Spend time listening to Him and researching His words about you, amd allow that to shape your identity and future.
“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Cor 5:17 NLT)
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Prayer: Lord I give you my life today and ask that you take my life and make something beautiful. Thank you that you have a plan and purpose for my life. Please help me to see myself as you do; a redeemed, amazing, unique and loved person who has an amazing future and purpose. My old life is gone, and a new life has begun. In Jesus name Amen.