Forget the Past
If you have ever experienced failure, then you know how hard it is to get rid of the fear of failure and start all over again. Like a wounded dog, you will often find yourself going back to that wound and licking it over and over again, not knowing that sometimes by so doing, you are making it harder and harder to heal.
In the Bible we have a story of someone who had a problem forgeting the past and focusing on the future. For a better understanding, it would be good for you to read the entire of Genesis Chapter 19 but for purposes of sharing my message today, please read with me Genesis 19 verse 17 and 26 (and especially the highlighted portions).
Genesis 19: 17 and 26 (From the Amplified Bible)
17 When they had brought them outside, one [of the angels] said, “Escape for your life! Do not look behind you, or stop anywhere in the entire valley; escape to the mountains [of Moab], or you will be consumed and swept away.”
- In order to save your life, you need to flee from the past. You cannot progress as long as you have you feet shackled in your past! Fleeing means running! You need to escape your past like it is a madman chasing you.
- Staying stuck in your past is foolishness! Why? Because no matter how much time you spend in your past, you will never do anything to change it. It is done. It is sealed. It is history. And it is past, that's why it is called the "past" because it is gone never to come back again.
- In the book of Luke Chapter 9 and verse 62, Jesus had this to say to the disciples, "62 But Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back [to the things left behind] is fit for the kingdom of God.” Staying stuck in the past is therefore also an act of disobedience, something God hates and considers a sin. Sin opens lots of doors in our lives for the devil, including curses and lack of progress. And worse still, sin causes separation between us and God.
- We see that Lot's wife became a pillar of salt the moment she turned to look behind. Whenever you look back at your past, it hinders you from moving forward thus making you immobile i.e. unable to move forward, kinda like a statue. There is so much you could do with your life but what is the use if all you keep doing is live in the past? The last time I checked, statues don't do anything. They are just there; being rained on during the rainy season, being hit by the sun when it is so hot, experiencing wind when it is windy, etc. Is that what you want for your life, to just sit there doing nothing? Think about that.
- When you are stuck in the past, you are unable to live up to your purpose meaning you end up being a nobody. Just like Lot's wife in the above passage, except for your family, colleagues and maybe neighbours, who else would know you ever existed? Speaking of existing, have you ever asked yourself what Lot's wife's name was? It is not mentioned anywhere in this passage. One thing I can deduce from that detail is that she did not do anything [positive] worth remembering her for except for being disobedient to the instructions given to her. Would you like to be remembered in this way?
- Clearly, there is more harm than good in living in your past. As you start this week I'd like to encourage you to stop focusing on your past and instead focus on what the future holds for you.
The only person who should be concerned about his past is the devil because he does not have the same grace we have of redemption of sin. Unlike us, it doesn't matter what wrong we did in the past because as soon as we got born again, all our sins were wiped out and God gave us a new slate to start again.
And so when the devil reminds you of your past, remind him of his future because there is only one way his future can be; eternal damnation. As for anyone who is saved by grace, we have an assurance of a future in paradise.
So before you can spend time in your past, think about the future you are letting go. Think about the future you are jeorpodizing for yourself and your family.
Stay focused on the future and forget the past. Remember, the past should be a place of reference but not a place of residence.