God speaks a word of hope to all who trust in him when he says, “Forget the past.” There is no one else in all the universe who can deal with our past and give us hope for the future. God speaks about making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. He speaks about doing something new:
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18, 19 NIV).
It is amazing how people get chained to their past. This happens because they do not realize that when they accept Christ he or she is a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17). God has dealt with your past sins by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore the old has gone and the new has come. And you begin a new life.
This realization that the blood of Jesus is sufficient is vital to forgetting the past. When Satan accuses you, as his character is (see Rev. 12:10 ), the only thing you need to do is point to the cross. Your past has been taken care of there. There is nothing else you need to do or you can do. That is why Jesus cried out in triumph on the cross, “It is finished (John 19:30).”
Therefore leave the past behind. It is to those who cannot do so that Jesus reminded to remember Lot’s wife (Luke 17:32). Even though she came out of Sodom and Gomorrah, the evil influence of the place was so much in her heart that she looked back. And she became a pillar of salt. Do not look back. Leave your past behind and walk in the newness of life.
Another important aspect is to forget the glory of the past. Paul had great things to claim about. Yet he counted them all rubbish compared to knowing Jesus Christ. Our traditions and great family history can all come as a barrier to knowing Christ. Paul therefore said he will go forward and press on towards the goal, “Forgetting what is behind” (Philippians 3:12—14). Therefore you too should forget the glory of the past and look to Christ.
Then you will know the power of God in your life. He will do something new. It doesn’t matter how long the answer to your prayers have been delayed. God “calls things that are not as though they were” (Romans 4:17). He can create opportunities where none existed. Our God is a God who changes times and seasons (Daniel 2:21). When your period of darkness has passed, he will exalt you to inherit a position of honour he has kept for you.
All this cannot happen if you cling to your past. Leave it behind. Instead let there be an eager looking forward in anticipation to what God is about to do in your life. Remember that Sarah laughed in disbelief when she heard God’s promise (Genesis 18:12). But she rejoiced when Isaac was born saying, “God has brought me laughter (Genesis 21:6)” The past years of barrenness were then forgotten. For the child of promise had come.
Likewise, God is promising you that he will do something new in your life today and now. He is asking you to leave the past behind. Will you?
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