Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thingI do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. Phil 3:12-15 (NKJV)
You hear people talk about others who are "living in the past." I know what they mean when they say that; however, it is actually impossible to live in the past and unlike the character in "Back to the Future," we do not have a rigged DeLorean that can actually take us back in time. We can be preoccupied with the past--but, in truth, we cannot live there. For everyone, we can only live in the moment, and right now--this very moment we are making decisions that "shape" the future.
The Apostle Paul stated that he was "forgetting those things which are behind." I wonder what was included in "those things" that Paul was determined to forget? Perhaps, even more relevant, what should be on my list of things that I "need" to forget? There is no doubt that we can learn from our experiences of the past, but even that can be detrimental if through our emotional weaknesses we have drawn the wrong conclusions--and have let those wrong conclusions influence our decision-making process. (Wow--the past really can complicate things)
Maybe...just maybe, we should let loose of the past and press on--embracing all that God has in mind for us. If we believe that God is intellectually superior to us, maybe we should give Him a chance to work all things for our good and stop interfering with the process. Perhaps, we should press toward the ultimate goal without carrying all the baggage that we have accumulated through our experiences. Just maybe, we should consider a complete surrender to His will for us. I am convinced that complete submission to God would accomplish two things: 1) It would make my past mistakes irrelevant. 2) It would insure a better future--and that is an understatement!
Author's note: I can think of many failures in the past. I think that the failures that cause me the most pain are the relational failures. I have three choices in front of me: 1) Live in regret. 2) Continue to make the same relational mistakes. 3) Learn and move forward. What is relevant to my life is to forgive and ask for forgiveness for the sin of the past; and with great joy and anticipation of what God has in store for me, charge into the future. Free from the guilt of the past, but wiser for the experience. RJ