Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.
The world will tell you that the dominating influence in your life is your past. If you came from a difficult home life, that will determine the direction of your life. If your culture was treated unfairly, that will dictate the condition of your life today. If you were hurt or abused or if your youth was spent in rebellion, the remainder of your life will be spent struggling with your past. The world is preoccupied with the past because it faces an uncertain future.
Christians, on the other hand, live in freedom because Christ has overcome our past. The “old things” have been done away with and “new things” have come (2 Cor. 5:17). God has so totally forgiven the Christian’s sin that He chooses not to remember it (Isa. 43:25). Christians do not forget the past; but we are not controlled or motivated by it. The Christian looks to the future with hope.
The people of the world focus on what they are overcoming. Christians focus on what they are becoming. Christians know that the Holy Spirit is conforming them into the image of Christ. Christians know that ultimately they will stand before Christ to give an account of their actions and will spend an eternity in the presence of God. Christians know that eventually every injustice will be addressed and every hurt comforted. They know that Satan, and death itself, will finally be brought to an end. The Christian’s future is so full and rich and exciting that it supersedes whatever happened in the past.
If you are preoccupied with your past, ask God to open your eyes to the incredible future that awaits you and begin, like Paul, to press on to what is ahead.