We all have a ‘past’. It’s filled with hurts others have done to us, mistakes that got us into trouble, and things we’re so ashamed of we wouldn’t dare talk openly about them. What to do? There are only two things you can do with your past: focus on it, or forget it and move on. If you need forgiveness, ask God for it, receive it by faith, learn from your mistakes, and try to do better next time.
Paul wrote: ‘One thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on towards the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.’ (Philippians 3:13–14 AMPC) Note the words ‘my one aspiration’. Before Paul met Christ, he routinely imprisoned Christians and shut down churches. And what’s more, he was so keen on continuing that he applied for the job of persecuting them in a foreign country! Maybe that’ll make you feel a little better about your past.
Now, however, Paul had only one aspiration: ‘straining forward to what lies ahead’. When you fail by sinning, you compound your failure by obsessing over it and wallowing in guilt. Why? Because God has provided forgiveness for you! So whether you sinned twenty years or twenty minutes ago, there’s nothing you can do about it except to ask God for forgiveness, receive it, put it behind you, and move on. You must let go of yesterday’s mistakes in order to grasp today’s blessings. When you learn to do that, you will enjoy life the way God intended.