We should not be boastful about our successes. That doesn’t necessarily mean we must forget the great projects we have completed. We are to work and live with excellence unto God, and He takes pleasure in our successes when they are offered to His glory. But we should forget past successes if they have defined our identity or caused us to be complacent, smug and self-congratulatory. We’re not to fondle the past, dwelling on past glories.
Similarly, we must make sure our stories of God’s work and grace in our lives are not all old. If we can only point to instances of God’s faithfulness from five years ago but none from the last few weeks, our connection with Christ isn’t very current. Paul warns the Philippians against those who would put their confidence in human criteria and accomplishment: ‘If someone else thinks they have reasons to put confidence in the flesh, I have more.’ (Philippians 3:4 NIV), he said, citing his power that many in his day would have coveted.
But his focus wasn’t on his past: ‘Whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ… But one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 3:7, 13–14 NIV)’ The good news is that God doesn’t analyse your past in order to determine your future. He says, ‘Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!’ Learn from the past, leave it, and don’t look back!