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Leave the past behind and press onward

by Pastor Rich Lammay

Many people are bound by their past or worried about their future. On New Year’s Eve, some people write down the things that are weighing on them and burn the paper to symbolize how they’re going to be set free from those things. Those ceremonies, although well intended, often have little effect when someone’s past issues or future worries haunt them.

What can we do when we have some huge regrets from our past? How can we handle the anxiety of an unknown future? The bible has some great wisdom and powerful promises for dealing with the pain of the past or fear of the future.

In Philippians chapter three the Apostle Paul shares about his past, and how he had been set free when he was made righteous in Christ. He says in Verses 13-14 “…One thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Paul had some huge regrets from his past, he was a man who hated Christians and caused many problems for the church, but Christ appeared to him and he was converted to faith in Jesus. Then Paul became the foremost voice for the church and said; “I haven’t arrived but I’ve learned some things.” What did he learn? First, to leave the past behind. If you’re a Jesus follower, your past sins are forgiven, you are a new creation, born of God and filled with the Holy Spirit. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says; “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

Being a new creation in God means your past sins and failures are gone and now you can forget what’s behind you. Then Paul said; “There’s a second thing I do.” “I press on toward what God has for me” (ultimately that’s the prize of heaven).

When life brings worry about the future, God brings comfort that whatever happens to his child is within his will, and in the end, there’s the promise of eternal life for those who trust in Jesus Christ. What comfort knowing that God is in control and he has a plan and a purpose for his children!

Are you burdened by your past or worried about your future? When the pain of your past comes back, even if someone else caused that pain, you can trust that Christ will carry those burdens. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus said; “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Rest for your soul comes from the one whose burden is light.

When worry of the future is heavy on you, if you’re a follower of Jesus, we can say with Paul; “I press on toward whatever God has for me, and I’ll keep pressing on until the day I’m with the Lord.” The bible tells us; The Lord directs our paths when we trust in him with all our heart. There’s the challenge for us all, to trust in Christ and turn over our past hurts and future worries to him.