Copyright © 2011-2018 | Esther Joy Fajoye
As we go through our lives, travelling on our different journeys, we are occasionally met by hauntings or reminders from our past to shake us up, and try to delay us from going forward and reaching our prize at the end.
But God is always there to motivate, encourage and strengthen us to keep moving forward, but we can sometimes miss these cues and get threatened by the obstacles which come to trip us up, slow us down or cause us to give up. Every step we take is precious, but these precious moments can be missed if we keep thinking about the last step we just took, or thinking about the steps we took 20 miles back.
We must remember that God knows the beginning, the very start and the end results of our journeys, and he promises that our future glory will be greater than our past glory (Haggai 2:9). Our best glory is yet to come. It's in front of us, not behind us. So why do we keep looking back or thinking about past outcomes, what we could change or what could have been. When we question our past, we won't get a response, because it remains behind us and can't be brought into the present or into our future.
God doesn't question or hold on to our past. He doesn't hold anything in our past against us and he doesn't allow it to hinder our future, and neither should we. Even when we fall, God is merciful and forgives us each time and no longer remembers them (Jeremiah 31:34). He keeps it in the past and doesn't allow it to affect our future blessings.
When we progress, we must keep moving forward and forget whatever happened in our past, no matter how dark or painful the memories may be.
We must let go of all former things in order to keep moving. Philippians 3:13 tells us we must 'Forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead.' There two conditions there. It says to 'Forget the former things, AND strain toward what is ahead.' This means that in order to move on ahead, we must first, forget what is behind us. We all want to strain ahead, but we often find it hard to let go of everything behind us. We often hold on to things or look back sometimes. Dwelling on the past can bring fear, doubt, confusion, grief and dissatisfaction which blocks our paths when we try to move forward.
If we want to move forward and keep seeing success and glory, we must 'forget the former things and stop dwelling on the past' - (Isaiah 43:18). This includes a variety of things. It could be things that we have done, which we aren't proud of. We could be holding on to pain and hurt or difficulties we have been through. We could be holding on to things that people may have done or said to cause us offence. We could also be holding on to strong feelings and emotions, such as anger or unforgiveness which can stop us from moving forward. No matter what we have done, experienced or been through, it stays in the past and will not have a place in our future. Even our problems and present suffering cannot compare to the victory we will see at the end (Romans 8:18).
But it takes patience and endurance to keep our focus and gaze ahead of us, and not be distracted by our past or present sufferings.
When we do, we will be blessed greatly. Job managed to persevere and keep focused on the prize, because he remained faithful and trusted completely in God to fulfil his future and show him his glory. And God did, he gave Job an even bigger blessing, a double portion. 'The Lord blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first.' - (Job 42:12). The word, 'latter' has many synonyms. It means second, final, end, last. In the end, Job got a huge reward! The blessings he received was much greater than what he had before, and it far outweighed every difficult thing that he went through. Even if we had a really rough and difficult past, God promises to turn it around. He promises that our latter will be bright and so much greater than our past and every previous period.
We shouldn't let our past rob us of our future, but instead keep straining forward in life, which is a continuous renewal process.
God makes us a new creation, meaning brand new with a righteous spirit to carry on with our work. We can refresh and restart at any time. When we let go of what is behind us, then we can continue to press on toward the goal to win the prize God called us for (Phil 3:14). This allows us to stay strong so that we can stay in our race and not give up. We will receive blessings much greater than what we have received before, and much greater than what we have ever imagined.