Allow God to renew your mind and to accomplish His purpose through your past. Examine your past through godly lenses.
As we come to Jesus and begin to understand who we are in Him, a major task before us is to examine our past, see it through Godly lenses, and put it behind us so we can excitedly and productively start marching forward. Paul makes it clear in today’s scripture that he is on a journey. He knows he is not perfect. But he determines to forget what used to motivate him—his past achievements. He reaches forward to become all Jesus wants him to be. He is moving in the right direction, toward Jesus, and he is intentional about not turning back.
That’s where we need to be, too, taking one stepping stone at a time on our journey toward Jesus, living out and accomplishing His purpose for us. In today’s verse, Paul talks about forgetting. But what does he really mean? He is not talking about having amnesia.
Now, listen closely, because this is a very important point. It seems clear and silly when I say it. But it is a powerful point to me and hopefully to you, too. It’s one with many ramifications that clarify journeying for the prize. Here is it comes: When you accepted Christ as your personal savior, you didn’t get a brain transplant. Think about it! If we had been totally transformed at the point of salvation, we would never have sinned again. How sad that as believers, we do still sin. We must have to do something so that the perfect Holy Spirit can complete His job—perfecting us. Well, there is something very specific.
It all comes down to decision-making. Decision-making, or exercising our God-given gift of free will, is our responsibility. We are to be good stewards of our decision-making opportunities. In order to allow the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us, one thing we need to do is examine how the past adversely influences our everyday decision-making. We need to forget the old motivations, goals and pursuits we once had, and thus, stop conforming to the world’s system.
The past is what God allowed in our lives so we would draw close to Him. One outcome of the past is that it prepares us for the good works He has planned for us. God uses both good and bad situations that occurred prior to my commitment to Christ to shine His light to others. This is what God intended. Forgetting my past would cause me to miss opportunities to learn about God’s grace, forgiveness and love, and to turn what Satan intended for bad into something God can use for His glory.
When we look over our past, we do need to process it with a very specific focus on Jesus, the Cross and God’s plans and goals. That will transform our lenses so we can take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ and allow God to come into those old areas of hurt. Then, lasting healing will occur. Truth will replace the ripples of distortion that fog our lenses. The new creation will be moving toward completion.
Today, don’t ruminate about your past. But don’t ignore it as if you’ve had a brain transplant. Your past constantly affects your moment-by-moment decisions. So examine your decisions today to understand how your past affects them. As you reflect, you will identify what is at the center of your heart. Your past will reveal why other things are at the center of your heart instead of God. Whether you will have a renewed mind, a true brain transplant with God as the surgeon, or your mind stagnates as you conform to the world’s system, it’s your decision, so choose well.
Dear God, thank You for Your healing and forgiveness. Help me to use my past hurts for my growth. Do not allow them to interfere with the growth You have for me. Show me how to keep my eyes on Jesus as I move forward along the path You have for me. Help me to practice this skill regularly. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who has made everything right, Jesus Christ. And all God’s children say AMEN!
“Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:12-14