The year 2021 has come and gone and 2022 is coming to an end. What we have done cannot be undone. What we have won will still be with us and can be improved upon in 2023. We need to have the mindset of the future not the past.
Isaiah 65:15 (KJV)
16 That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes.
There was once an absent-minded professor who became so absorbed in his work that he forgot the simplest details. One morning his wife said, “Now Henry, remember, we are moving today. Here, I’m putting this note in your pocket. Don’t forget.” The day passed by and the man came home to his house. He entered the front door and found the place empty. Distraught, he walked out to the curb and sat down. A young boy walked up to him, and he asked him, “Little boy, do you know the people who used to live here?” The boy replied, “Sure, Dad, mom told me you’d forget.”
It’s not to cool to be that forgetful.
But the Bible encourages us to be forgetful in at least one area.
Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently that too God will make clear to you.
Paul says that the first step in pressing forward is forgetting what is behind. Why?
Because It’s hard to move forward when you keep the past in the present.
As we move forward from the old year to the new year, think of it as leaving the old you and starting a new you. The new you should be stronger in Christ that it was last year. As Paul told the people of Corinth:
2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
Your entire attitude of mind changes. Even though you are still tempted, you have a new heart and mind that God has given you, and your desire now is only for the good. Instead of pursuing your old habits and interests, your interest is in the kingdom of heaven and you seek the things which are above with Christ. You no longer have to be a slave to committing sin just because you are tempted.
“Do not remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
Sometimes our past is filled with some huge hurts. You may have been physically or emotionally abused. You may have made a serious mistake and hurt someone. You may have lost a loved one in a tragic accident. Sometimes these hurts don’t get resolved like they should. Pain gets tucked away instead of dealt with. Offenders are not forgiven. Fears go un-confronted. Conflicts go unresolved.
As we look at keeping the past in the past, you don’t need to dredge it up because you have dealt with it. So, do you know how you can tell if you have dealt with it? By how you deal with current issues.
22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.
No matter how painful our past may have been, not matter how bad the addiction was, for some strange reason we often choose not to let go. In order to get on with our future and simplify our lives, we must choose to make a clean break and leave the past behind.
Charles Dickens said:
Reflect upon your present blessings, of which every man has many; not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.
Like Gideon, if you put your faith in the Lord you will defeat not only God’s enemies but your own demons of addiction and move on to a new and improved life in Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior.
Sure, you can be living for material things and that can give some people a sense of determination, a sense of satisfaction, some sense of purpose. But is it a lasting satisfaction, a lasting sense of purpose?
“If I can get this, or if I can buy that then I have achieved my goal.” Whoop tee do… Where’s the purpose for God?
Everyone is driven by something. Things like guilt, resentment, anger, fear, materialism or the need for approval…. What’s missing here? God.
These same forces, and others, can drive your life, but they all end in the same dead end; unused potential, unnecessary stress, and an unfulfilled life. The life of an addict.
Although God promises the tools and strengths we need, we often make excuses. Don’t spend time making excuses. Instead spend time doing what God wants. And we can find what God wants in Scripture. Through scripture we find that if we are faithful to Him and confess our sins, we will be forgiven and cleansed. Through prayer and spiritual growth, we can more easily put our past behind us and move forward to achieve the great things God has planned for us.
Make Jesus your foundation! Make Jesus your rock!