“…forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward….” (Philippians 3:13 Amplified Bible)
Recently I made the decision to stop looking backwards. I met Jesus in my late twenties. I didn’t grow up “churched”; my family celebrated Christmas and Easter with big meals and family gatherings, never in church. I remember attending a couple of Vacation Bible Schools as a very young child, but I had no real knowledge of Jesus or of the blessings that are ours when we yield to the Lord’s wisdom.
I lived my life according to societal norms. I was ethical, I didn’t lie, cheat or steal and I never took the Lord’s name in vain (such language was not acceptable in our house).
It took a close friend a few years of talking about Jesus before I finally sought Him and bowed my knee. A new life began. Outwardly I’m sure nothing looked different. But when I met Jesus I knew He was (and is) real; He blessed me with His joy and His peace.
I’m still working on abiding in His peace (see John 14:27). Perhaps the greatest destroyer of my peace is my bad habit of looking backward, reminding myself of my life before Christ. I so wish I had lived differently! Had followed what I now understand was God’s loving plan. After almost 40 years of friendship with Jesus, I still have deep regrets.
I have decided to commit to looking forward. It’s a discipline; it isn’t easy. But I realized something this morning: God doesn’t look backwards. When He forgives ours sins through Jesus’ blood, our past – regardless of how checkered – is past, erased. Our loving Father chooses to never remember our past.* He doesn’t look back, He only looks forward.
Lord help me “forget what lies behind.” Help me discipline myself to consciously live in Your grace, always and only looking forward.
* “As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.’ (Psalm 103:12 Amplified Bible)