Forget the Past And Focus on Your Goals Instead

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If you want to grow, then you must stop focusing on your past and focus instead on your future. Don’t focus on what happened. Focus on what you want to happen.

“I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.” (Philippians 3:13-14 NCV)

Your past is past. You are not your past. Your past influences you, but your past does not define you. What matters today is not your past. I don’t care what you’ve done, who you did it with, or how long you did it. That’s not you. Satan will tell you it’s you, but that’s not the truth. What matters today is what direction your feet are headed right now. 

If you want to grow, you must stop focusing on your past and focus instead on the future. Focus on what you want, not what you didn’t want to happen to you. Focus on your goal, not your habits. This is why diets don’t work. When you’re on a diet, what are you focused on all the time? Food. You think far more about food on a diet than you do when you’re off the diet.

Or take the smoker who wants to quit and says, “One of these days I’m going to give up smoking because I know it’s bad for me.” But the whole time, he’s focusing on what he doesn’t want to do. That keeps you stuck in a rut. You’ve got to focus on something else.

This is what Paul talked about in Philippians 3:12: “I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal, but I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that, which is the reason he made me his”(NCV).

But also notice what the next two verses say: “I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.”

Don’t focus on what happened. Focus on what you want to happen. If you insist on driving while looking in the rear view mirror, you’re going to crash. So stop it! It’s over. If you want to finish the race well, you need to commit to a daily time with God so that you can fill your mind with God’s Word and focus on his goal for your life, not your past.

Talk It Over

  • What is it from your past that you find it difficult to stop thinking about and dwelling on?
  • With what thoughts can you replace those memories so that you can move forward in faith?
  • Spend some time today thinking and praying about the goals you have for your life and the direction God wants to take you.

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