December 30, 2015
The writer of Philippians talks in chapter 3 about “forgetting the past and reaching forward to the future.” This reminds me of where we are today – letting go of 2015 and anticipating 2016. I have been pondering what this involves.
The “forgetting” is not so much a memory lapse as it is a turning loose of what we have experienced. The past year included many learning experiences, a number of challenges, some mistakes and an abundance of blessings. I am a different person today than I was on January 1, 2015 – not only a year older but hopefully a bit wiser and definitely more grateful. I do not want to forget any of this.
But past experiences will not carry me through the future. A victory in the past is good, but it will not sustain me during a challenge in the future. A defeat in the past need not limit my ability to excel in 2016. I need to remember past events, but I must not dwell on them as though they are sufficient for today and tomorrow.
My mental picture is of a relay race where each runner does their part and then hands the baton to the next person. But in this case, I am both runners. Hopefully, I did my best to run the race of 2015, and now there is a new race to run. Last year’s successes and failures cannot be changed. Ahead is a new opportunity to run with confidence and diligence.
The Apostle Paul had plenty of reasons to carry regrets from his past. Although schooled in the Old Testament, he failed to realize that Jesus fulfilled its prophecies. He even tried to eliminate followers of Messiah Savior Jesus. But after he met Jesus during his journey to Damascus, he spent the remainder of his life telling Jesus’ Story. He did not forget his past, but he let it go in order to focus on the present and future. Apparently, he kept that outlook to the end of his earth life.
We are the product of our past, but we do not need to let it prevent growth, change and usefulness in the future. Letting go and reaching ahead is the life journey God intends for us. I am grateful that Creator God designed our life on Planet Earth to follow a calendar. It provides a planned reminder to review and evaluate while anticipating and believing.
Pastor Bill Ehmann