Do you know someone who is stuck in the past? Perhaps the negative things they experienced tie them down with guilt and shame. Or maybe it’s not the negatives, sometimes it’s the positive things that keep people tethered to the past. They recall their glory days and want to be the football star or homecoming queen forever.
Maybe that someone is you.
Paul said in Philippians 3:13, “One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”
How do we do that? It seems impossible to totally forget the past. We remember. We hear an old song, or smell a familiar fragrance and we’re transported back in time. We have family and friends who won’t let us forget. And Paul actually spends quite a bit of time recalling his past experiences. What he is saying is this passage is I’m not allowing those things that are behind me to keep me stuck in the past.
He says, “I’m straining….” That sounds like work doesn’t it? Moving past the past requires effort and energy.
We move beyond the past by seeing God’s presence in our past, by realizing he was there in every moment. He never left our side. His providence guided us. His love protected us. And even when we felt alone, his grace sustained us and brought us through.
When we see the past as a picture of God’s presence we cut the tie. We are free to move forward.