II Corinthians 5:17 tells us, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
God is in the business of new starts. When we get saved, God reminds us that we are a new creature now, and that all the old habits, the sinful addictions, the worldly mindset should be passed away and replaced with new ones.
Philippians 3:13-14 tells us, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”
The Apostle Paul was a man that was fully devoted to Christ and His purpose. He was what we would consider as a “committed Christian”. It seemed that whatever came his way, he found a way to stay joyful. Whether it be shipwreck, or stoning, or prison - he remained joyful. What was his secret? In the passage above, we see one of his secrets was that he learned to forget about the past (negative aspects of it), and reach toward the future. His whole mission was looking forward to what God had for him – pressing toward the high calling of God.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when joining themselves to a new church is to not let go of the past. If we don’t learn this helpful tool of “forgetting”, Satan will be sure to use our vivid memory as a way to get us off track. For some of us, we are still holding onto the horrible decisions we made in the past.
Perhaps, we have been able to move forward and made some positive progression along the way. Unfortunately, maybe we find ourselves often plagued by reminiscing the painful memories from our past that we wish never existed. This negative mindset often is carried into anything new we become part of. This could be demonstrated in a new relationship. Many relationships fail because one or both partners decide to bring things up from their past. Whether from a previous relationship, or painful memories from their current relationship. Those dug up negative memories will only devastate any positive momentum we have going for us.
This is also true for new church members. It is quite possible for us to find ourselves feeling inferior to those in our new church. At face value, it seems that everyone is doing so good. Everyone’s kids are all behaving extraordinarily well. We may ask ourselves, “How could I ever fit in with the past that I have?” Or maybe we ask, “What if people find out the ‘true’ me?”
First of all, the “true” version of us is whatever we choose to make ourselves to be for the Lord. If we want to dwell in a negative past, then sure, that can be the true us. However, it would be far better to focus on the positive future we can have in Christ as well as take the necessary steps to fulfill that positive future – this is a far better depiction of the “true” us.
How many more years need to be wasted dwelling on our past mistakes? How many more opportunities have to be squandered because we refuse to move on?
Isaiah 43:18-19 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
God wants to do something special in our lives and that has never changed. He desires for us to look ahead at the “new thing” He can accomplish in us and through us. Yet, our inability to forget the “former things” will drastically affect our ability to move on to the “new things.” Let us decide to place more value in the hopes of a brighter future for God, then in the pains of an unfortunate past.
MEMORY VERSE OF THE DAY
Ephesians 4:31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:
There are certain things in life that if we truly love them, there will be a counterbalance of hate for what opposes them.
If God gave us the opportunity to have WHATEVER we wanted, what would it be?