By Daniel Yoder
The apostle Paul like many of us was searching for what God had planned for him or laid out for him in his life. He knew and said, “I have not arrived yet!” But he did say, “This one thing I do . . . “ One thing I know, there is one thing God has shown me over and over again. There is one thing, one truth to get through our thick skulls! And that is that WE ARE TO FORGET THOSE THINGS WHICH ARE BEHIND US, AND NEVER DWELL ON THEM AGAIN, EVER!
There are some things you are not to forget:
1. Which side of the street you are required to drive on.
2. Laws when driving your car: that red means stop and green means go, etc.
3. Your wife or girlfriend’s birthday or special events and days like anniversaries, holidays, and the well laid out plans of that certain young lady in your life. These are her special days, remember them.
4. Paying your bills and taxes on time, being on time for church and work or anything you committed to.
5. That you are married, and that you gave your vows to that special person before God and man.
6. That we have duties and responsibilities that are expected of us.
7. That we owe it to God to respect what He asks and tells us to do.
There are some thing we ought to forget:
THE PAST: Or what we call the bad and terrible old days that haunt us each and every day. A Latin saying that goes like this “CARPE DIEM,” or seize the present time. We are to live for today not our yesterdays, we can’t rerun our lives like a TV show such as Andy Griffith, or Leave it to Beaver. Those were classic jewels of the past, days gone by where life was great. We get a warm feeling when we think about shows that had family values. Our hurt feelings of the past are not to be reruns.
Read 2 Corinthians 12:6-9
The Apostle Paul wanted to forget that thorn in his flesh that had been bothering and haunting him. I don’t know what the thorn was. It could have been false prophets, and the Pharisees of his day that kept hounding him to death. It could have been his poor eyesight that he had to deal with. He wrote in Galatians 6:11, “See what large letters I have written to you with my own hand..” The truth is, the books of Galatians is one of Paul’s shortest books, written by him. At that time the physician Luke was traveling with Paul. Maybe with Luke being with him, it reminded him about his past and how he persecuted the Christians, so maybe his former life was that constant reminder in Paul’s mind. The thorn in his flesh. I know my past has a lot of thorns in it and a great number of Christians along with the world won’t let me lay them aside, so I have to give them to God, and press on. Acts 26:9-11 says: “Indeed I myself thought I must do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. This I also did in Jerusalem, and many of the saints I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in every synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even in foreign cities.”
Acts 22:4-5 says: “I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.”
A devil, the messenger of Satan, the accuser of the brethren, caused him fits! So much so he wrote to Timothy saying: 1 Timothy 1:15, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” He was telling Timothy, “There was no one worse than I am!” He was the chief persecutor of the early church. He was Saul of Tarsus, the terror of Tarsus. (Acts 7:58 and 8:1) Even after Paul was saved, hardly a soul would trust him or even want to be near him or befriend him. And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
People have a hard time forgetting their past (failures, childhood, marital problems, disagreements, defeated lives, and their wounded hearts) because they rehearse them and live them over and over again and are constantly reminded of them. They still associate with those of their past who bring up old hurtful feelings and constantly remind them of that which they should forget.
Forget your failures:
“If you don’t succeed then try, try again.”
There was a man in his twenties. During those years he drifted. When he turned thirty-one he thought, “I’ve got to get myself going and do something.” He formed a partnership and went into business. In one and a half years he lost everything and went bankrupt Then he decided that since he was broke anyway, he would go into politics. In his first election, he lost badly. Two years later, when he was thirty four, he decided to go back into business. He went bankrupt again. A year later he thought things were going better, and he fell in love with a beautiful woman. She died. So the next year, at age thirty-six, he had a nervous breakdown and was confined to bed for several months.
He finally shook that off, and two years later he decided to run for another local election. He lost. He went into another business, and he made a little money. Then at forty-three, he ran for Congress. He lost again. At forty-eight he ran for Senate. He lost that election as well.
When he was fifty-five years of age, he tried for the nomination of his party for Vice-President, and was defeated badly. At age fifty-eight, he ran for Senate again. Once again he lost. Finally, at the age of sixty, Abraham Lincoln was elected to his first office – The President of the United States.
He wouldn’t quit! He was a fighter, a man of courage, a winner! He overcame countless private fears, his failures in life and endless public rejections to obtain the highest job in the country.
Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
1 Thessalonians 5:24: “Faithful is He who calls you, who also will do it.”
There is a need to build a history of successes in our lives. So start with good HABITS:
1. Making a commitment to reading your Bible daily.
2. Be in church for every service, read Hebrews 10:22-25
3. 3. Setting aside family time.
4. 4. Peter had to forget his denial of the Lord. He denied Him three times! Maybe you have too. Has anyone accused you of being one of those “born-again, Bible thump-er, or Jesus freaks?” What is your record for denying our Lord?
5. 5. David had to forget his adulterous affair with Bathsheba and go on as the King of Israel.
SO, what is it you need to forget? God has a call on your life, don’t waste it.
Forget your hurts:
When and where you have been offended, don’t let others get the best of you. Don’t even let yourself get the best of you, control your thoughts, your emotions, your attitude and your life.
Joseph was an excellent example of this. Would you be offended if your brothers sold you into slavery hoping to get rid of you from their lives forever? Read Genesis 50:16-21.
Forgive, Forget, and GO ON! Don’t live this year or even this hour with old wounds!Reconcile right now in your heart, while you still have the opportunity. Remember, Jesus died to provide complete restitution for our hurts as well as forgiveness for our sins. Don’t let yourself become a victim!
Psalm 119?165, “Great peace have they which love Your law: And nothing shall offend them.”
Isaiah 32:17, “And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness is quietness and assurance forever.”
Be bigger than your offenders. Matthew 5:44-45: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despite-fully use you, and persecute you; That you may be the children of your Father which is in Heaven . . . “
Forget your past sins:
They were forgiven at the cross when Jesus shed His blood for sins. Don’t give them a forwarding address. How often is it that those who commit a crime, and get in trouble with the law after serving their time, get out and go right back to their same “old friends” and sins or gets in trouble with the law all over again. Don’t let sin get a foothold in your life as Lot’s wife did. The word of God admonishes us to “Remember Lot’s Wife.” (Luke 17:32) She had left home, ungodly family and friends. She was on her way to deliverance and freedom but stopped to take one long last look at the sin and turned into a pillar of salt.
Why forget? Because God Has!
Psalm 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, so has He removed our transgressions from us.”
Hebrews 10:16-17, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the Lord, I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.”
Also read 1 John 1:7-9.
What a great, mighty, marvelous, and merciful God we serve!
Forget past achievements:
Don’t worship at the shrine of self-importance.
I used to be very wealthy, a business man, a Sunday school teacher, I was a soul-winner, I was a handsome men, I was a pretty model. It doesn’t matter what or who you used to be. What matters is, who you are now!
God says His grace is sufficient for you. Don’t you think that you have arrived, because we haven’t arrived yet, until we walk through those glorious gates of heaven and see Him face to face we have not arrived!
So what are you doing today? What will you do for our Heavenly Father this year?
It’s time for you to make some real changes in your life, some life changing decisions and take the next step of faith that will encourage you to help advance His kingdom here on this earth. Self-pity will not help you become the one God has called you to be. You need to decide right now, are you a Christian or not. Will you accept the fact Jesus did it all, everything, just for you!
2 Corinthians 8:9-10 and 1 Corinthians 15:58
Remember our test:
“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14