The Past? What’s That?
“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” – Philippians 3:13
“Forgetting those things which are behind”
In general people find it difficult to forget the things in the past. Our minds are plagued with memories, both good and bad, of things we’ve done, things we’ve said, people we’ve met, places we’ve been etc. Now in no way am I saying that having memories is bad, it’s what we do with them that matters. The person who dwells on things in the past simply cannot move forward into the future. For example:
Genesis 19:24-26 says “ 24Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; 25And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. 26But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.”
Lot’s wife is a prime example of someone who dwelt on what was behind. She was so attached to their home, their friends and their possessions that she disobeyed God and looked back to the things they were leaving behind and for that reason she died. It’s when we start looking back at things we’ve left behind – friends, activities or possessions that we enjoyed before salvation that we start to get dragged down. We should forget the things in the past.
“Reaching forth unto those things which are before”
Matthew 4:22 says “And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.”
Here we see what we should do; we should be willing to leave everything – our work, our life and even our family behind to follow Jesus.
Matthew 14:29-31 says “29And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. 31And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?”
Here we see a beautiful picture of reaching forth unto those things which are before. As peter got down from the ship he had his eyes fixed on Jesus and was reaching forward to the thing which was before him, but when he took his eyes off of Jesus and noticed the things around and behind him he started to sink. It is when we are reaching forth unto Jesus that we are safe. Even in the fiercest storm as long as our eyes are fixed on Christ we can simply walk through it; but when we take our eyes off of Jesus, when we start noticing the things around, when we start dwelling on our past, that is when we start to sink into the storms of life. However, there is a Saviour within reach! As soon as Peter started to sink he cried out to the Lord and asked Him to save him, and Jesus reached out immediately and saved him. Let me ask you today, what are you looking at? Are you focusing on Christ and looking toward the future as you walk over the storm, or are you looking behind to the past and watching the storm as you sink into it? If you’re sinking today remember that Jesus is only a cry out away and he will immediately save you. Cry out to Him and walk over the storms once more, keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before” – A.