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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Forgetting What Is Behind

Quick- what did you have for lunch yesterday? Where are your sunglasses? How about your car keys?

If you're like me, you had to pause and think... I'm still thinking! I actually can't remember what I had for lunch today, muchless yesterday. And let's just say it's a good thing I have several pair of sunglasses! But, boy can I remember other things. I can readily recall things I feel really guilty about, past sins, or hurtful things people have said to me. I can immediately call to mind things I've done that made me feel proud or accomplished- even if just for a moment or a season in my life.

"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." Philippians 3:13-14

"Forgetting what is behind." Sometimes that's so hard, isn't it? I find it interesting that Paul doesn't say we are just supposed to forget the bad things. We are to forget "what is behind," anything from before this moment that might hold us back from pressing ahead. Sometimes those are negative, painful events. It might be past sins we have committed. But it might also be our past righteous acts done in service to the Lord, the "works prepared for us" that we've already done (our "track record") in which we might be tempted to rest instead of seizing fresh, new opportunities to serve Him. Regardless, if we keep holding on to the past, it's harder to "strain toward" what is ahead.

But, some things are so hard to forget! Here are three steps on how to do that, from one of my favorite resources, Loving God With All Your Mind by Elizabeth George. Her advice is so wise and it has really helped me to forget what needs to be forgotten, or to as she puts it, "remember to forget."

Find the Gold. When prospectors would pan for gold, they would scoop up dirt, rocks, sand and silt, and look for what had value. If God has allowed certain events in your life, it must be because it has value. Perhaps it was a character quality it brought forth in you, or an attribute of Himself He wanted to reveal to you. Without become bogged down in the dirt and silt of your past, dig down and look for the gold. Keep what is good and let the rest go. I have felt such joy in "finding the gold" in past situations and circumstances. It truly is like finding treasure! Sometimes I want to celebrate as loudly as they must have during the Gold Rush! But it doesn't stop there:

Find Forgiveness. If some of what you are "digging up" involves sin on your part, ask forgiveness for the sins and for the resulting bad that happened. As 1 John 1:9 promises, God is faithful to forgive. What a promise!

Forgive Others. Once we have found the gold in our situations, and have come to God for cleansing and forgiveness ourselves, we must extend forgiveness to others. To fail to do so is to choose a life of bitterness, which will surely hold us back from "pressing on toward the goal." If, after all, the goal is becoming like Christ, then we must forgive as He did.

Mrs. George says, "With the gold gleaned from the past, and forgiveness both extended and received, you can now reach forward and tackle the challenges of the present with all your energy."

Oh, how I pray this for all of us in the days to come.

Press on!

Please visit my personal blog, One Day More.

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Blogger Denise said...

Wow, what an awesome post, truly blessed my heart. Thank you dear one.

June 19, 2007 at 4:01 AM  
Blogger Laurel Wreath said...

This is a powerful message, because unfortunately I spent two years living in deep regret. Such a waste of my life. Once I was able to break free from that stronghold of guilt what freedom there is.

Great message.

June 19, 2007 at 10:39 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

I always learn so much from you Cyndi. It isn't that I haven't heard these things before, but it always helps to have things put together in such an understandable and easier to remember way. I will think of panning for gold when I am tempted to lie in bed and night and rehearse all the things I've done wrong and that I so deeply regret. For some reason that forgiveness of self is the toughest one for me. It is hard to let some things go or to find even a tiny nugget of gold there in all the goop and mess.
Thank you for this Cyndi. You are always such a blessing.

June 19, 2007 at 11:44 AM  
Blogger Darlene said...

This is one of those posts that I need to keep a copy of and read it often. In fact I will. This is really something I need to apply to my life--big time. Cyndi, thank you so much! You have no idea how this spoke to me.

June 19, 2007 at 9:49 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

I love the idea of forgetting our rigteousness as well as our many times i am tempted to rest on past victories when God is wanting to do a new thing...

This was wonderful...I've been behind on my reading, so forgive the late comment! :))


June 23, 2007 at 8:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is my first time on this website and it is just like God to guide me to something I REALLY needed to see. Thanks for allowing Him to use you to write this message for me! God bless!

November 18, 2009 at 10:31 AM  

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