forgetting those things which are behind
forgetting those things which are behind

Forgetting Those Things which are Behind

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The concept of remembering is interwoven throughout our cultures and religion. We are admonished to remember the tragic events of history, so that they do not repeat themselves. Unfortunately, considering current events, we see that such a concept does not guarantee success. If we look at scripture, we are asked to remember the Sabbath day, and to keep it holy. God knew it would be the commandment trampled on the most, and so He gave us extra emphasis on its importance as a critical part of our relationship with Him.

Inherently, we know the power in remembering, even if we don’t always get it right. Yet, in Philippians 3:13-14, Paul tells us to forget. He wrote:

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I 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.

This kind of forgetting isn’t about letting go of lessons learned, or significant memories. It’s the concept of leaving behind what is meant to stay in the past, so that it does not block us from experiencing what God has ahead. We may have to let go of people or circumstances, but it could also mean our flaws or past mistakes. Ultimately, God wants us to be focused on the call of Christ Jesus, but life has a way of pulling us in directions we did not intend to take. We also know that the past impacts our here and now – so how can we forget those things which are behind, when they still feel very present?

Give yourself the permission to move forward.

There is a misconception that the only way to move forward is if resolution has been achieved. Yet we know there are many times, when we are in the face of trials, and the time in the in-between is longer than we expected. It’s important that we acknowledge our experiences and the difficulty of our trials, but we have to be careful not to let the dark emotions consume us.

Darkness seeks to destroy light and holds no space for joy or gratitude. If we allow the darkness to stay, it chips away at the good in our hearts. Without even realizing it, we hold onto malice, become more vengeful, and sit too long in the space of anger. In this state, we may feel as though God isn’t hearing us, but honestly, do we want to hear from one who beckons us to let go of our pain, when we’re insistent on holding onto it?

Peace is achievable, without diminishing the significance of our situations or the emotional depths of our struggles. We can honor our experiences while accepting such a gift from God. We must be mindful, however, that if our prayers are only focused on outcomes, we’ll be waiting for the peace that God is trying to give us now. Outcomes can change our situations, but it is God who changes us. Nevertheless, I can understand that we may not want to accept the idea of peace during the chaos, because inherently, this means the chaos still exists. So how do we give ourselves the permission to move forward when life feels quite unresolved?

We Accept the Chaos

Paul said in Philippians 4:11-13:

Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

We do ourselves an injustice when we fight against the duality of this world. Paul understood the power of being content no matter his current situation, while still pressing forward in Christ. Too often we’re waiting for a particular win, as life passes us by. We miss the joys that God inserts into our pain to lighten the load. It’s easy to forget that God sees us when we’re waiting on Him to answer some of the deepest desires of our hearts. But He does. And He sends reminders to let us know – I am present, and I am with you.

The Role of Resilience

It’s hard to accept such a response when it seems like God is showing up everywhere but where you want Him to be. I think many of us could share experiences of God being present, but our needs still feeling unmet. Is it a lack of gratitude that makes us feel that way? I wouldn’t be that hard on you or myself. Instead, it’s a question of resilience. Can we survive the darkness? Can we not let the distractions get the best of us, even when the next steps are unsure?

To help answer this, I’d like to take us back to the book of Genesis. I’m always fascinated by Abraham, when he was known as Abram. In Genesis 12:1 God gave Abram the following instructions: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.” Although Abram left with very little information, he had enough trust and faith to carry him through the unknown. Abraham didn’t always get it right, but with resilience, he kept trying and was committed to his relationship with God.

In Closing…

Abraham’s journey gives me the hope I need for today – that with enough trust and faith, I will have the strength needed to overcome broken dreams, heartbreak, struggles, and bad habits. I will be able to press forward, not letting the past keep me in place. And even if my current circumstances aren’t always what I want them to be, I’ll keep moving ahead because I know that God is with me.

He has a purpose for my life, and to Him, we all matter. He hears us, and He’s working on our behalf to see us through. I know there are times when it’s hard to imagine light at the end of the tunnel, but with God, there is no need.  There is light exactly where you are – and it is His light that will carry us through if we make the choice to rely on Him. So trust God for the journey, even if you’re unsure of today.  As Paul said, we can do all things through Christ because He strengthens us.

God Bless. #lovesanaction
  1. Love it. Encouraging! Thank you. 😃🙏🏻 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
    ‭‭James‬ ‭1:2-4‬ ‭ “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
    ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭

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