BY REV. ERIC HOLDEMAN
SPIRIT LAKE FELLOWSHIP CHURCH
I have pastored for over 20 years now and have noticed a lot about people.
My observations through counseling and speaking to many folks -- and even found in my own life -- are that many of us are choosing to live out our hurts, failures, and poor decision-making based on our past, while living in the present.
I am not denying the fact that many people have gone through some terrible things, including bad parenting and abuse. The thing that saddens me is the past does not have to dictate your future, unless you allow it to.
The best way I can describe this is by what the Apostle Paul told the Philippian church. His advice is so profound, yet not easy, but possible with the help of God. He says these words in Chapter 3 verses 13-14: "Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. 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."
First of all, it comforts me to know the New Testament writer Paul has not arrived yet. This tells me he too is a work in progress. But notice he says "but one thing I do." Here is the key, folks, for us all -- choose to no longer live in the past now!
The one thing he does is "forgetting what is behind."
The Apostle Paul had a past, like living with the thought of persecuting the church and having men, women and children thrown in prison, and beaten for following the way of Jesus Christ. Paul was one that allowed and condoned the stoning of Steven, a deacon of the church, to his death. He had a past. He could have been stuck living his life in the past history; in the present time depressed, downtrodden, defeated like so many people I see around today.
Paul realized he had a new life that was found in Jesus Christ. Paul knew that all his past failures, all his shortcomings, were forgiven by the way of the cross through the life of Jesus Christ.
His failures and his past had been swallowed up in the love and trust of Jesus Christ! Oh, he knew who he used to be, but he chose to do one thing: Leave his past behind him. Paul knew, if God had forgiven him, how could he not forgive himself?
So he lived his new life in the forgiveness of Christ and because he was forgiven, he could live his life in the here and now, with a hope and a purpose.
So how about you, the reader of this article? Have you embraced the one who forgives your past, and promises you a future? Have you given your life to Jesus Christ? Have you received the unconditional love of the one who forgave us all by taking our failures and sins and those that have hurt us, and now says freely you have been given freedom? Now live that new freedom out and never go back and live the pain of yesterday over and over.
Leave your past as the past, ask God to help you live today, and see what he will do through you in the here and now.