“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.” (Philippians 3:13, 14)
In my work as a nurse with seniors, I’ve sometimes witnessed the power of a past sin that keeps robbing my patient of present blessings. Although the incident happened many years ago, it’s being rehearsed as though it happened yesterday. How sad!
Is it possible to erase all memories of the past? No! Paul never forgot past activities he was now ashamed of. Yet, the past did not have a stranglehold on him. He did not cling to it in senseless rehashing. Why? He had released the past to God. How can we do that?
Admit past wrongs and let Christ forgive us and clear us of all guilt.
Forgiveness is immediate upon a contrite confession. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross paid for the entire sin-debt. “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong” (1 John 1:9 NLT). “The blood of Jesus, His Son, purifies us from all sin” (1 John 1:7 NIV).
Paul embraced this fact with joy. Likewise, we must accept Christ’s gracious offer of forgiveness and begin to think and act forgiven.
Depend on Christ for daily righteous living
Instead of hanging onto energy-sapping remorse, Paul used past failures as a powerful motivator to live for God in the present. “I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven” (Philippians 3:14 NLT).
Paul majored on God’s grace and forgiveness, not on his failures.
God is bigger than our failures. When we give our failures to him, he will weave them into his perfect plan for our lives. After Chuck Colson’s release from prison, he founded Prison Fellowship, an international ministry to prisoners in many countries of the world. “God used my greatest failure to bring about His greatest good,” he writes. In my own life also, God has used failures, my own and others, to bring about his good purposes.
Although we can’t undo past failures, we can let go of guilt and remorse. We can turn our failures over to God and watch him make something beautiful out of them. The choice is ours.
Father, thank you that You remember my sins no more. I also want to let go and think and live as a forgiven person.