Letting Go of the Past
Philippians 3:12-14 – Forgetting the past and pressing toward the future
The present and the future are tied to the past with a rope of remembrance. The way we handle remembering will determine if that rope becomes a hangman’s noose or a swing by which we are projected into the future.
Should we remember the past? Certainly, but we cannot allow the past to control us.
§ Let us learn from its mistakes and not be haunted by them;
§ let us remember the hand of God in all of our past experiences, the successes and the failures.
§ But most of all, let us take the lessons of the past into our future lest we repeat our past mistakes.
1. Letting go of the past is only good when one is turning toward the future
ü Have you ever asked, “Why do I feel this way?” or “Why does this always happen to me?” The answer is that what happens in my life today is often the result of my past.
ü The key to getting away from the negative influences of your past is to change the direction you are looking. - Instead of looking back – look up!
ü Colossians 3:1-2 – Since then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set you minds on things above, not on earthly things.
2. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of the past and its effect on our present and future.
ü Our lives are formed by our experiences of the past and how we responded to those experiences.
ü When we come to Christ he takes the burden of our past upon himself.
ü You can never forget your past, especially the bad and the ugly past – but you can change the way the past affects you.
ü "The past should be a springboard, not a hammock." -- Ivern Ball (a poet)
ü “How do I change the way my past affects me?” you ask. By changing the way you remember it.
ü The way we remember our past is a big factor in what we believe about ourselves.
ü How we remember the past affects how we think of God.
ü In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 We are given tools to change the way our past affects our present and our future: “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
ü The way you remember the past is what produces arguments against the knowledge of God:
Whatever negative argument your past presents to you remember this; God has a truth which negates every false argument.
YOUR PAST SAYS: You are insignificant and unworthy
BUT GOD SAYS: Psalm 139:14 – I am fearfully and wonderfully made Eph 2:10 – We are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus.
YOUR PAST SAYS: I was born with bad genes and I can never do better
BUT GOD SAYS: John 1:12 – To those who believed in his name he gave the right to become the children of God.
1 John 3:1 – How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God.
YOUR PAST SAYS: I am a broken vessel – a house beyond repair
BUT GOD SAYS: 1 Corinthians 3:16 – Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?
YOUR PAST SAYS: I am so affected by my past that I can never become any different
BUT GOD SAYS: 2 Corinthians 3:18 – We… are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
3. Today is all you have – Live it to the full – John 10:10
4. Living in the past or the present – the choice is yours.
ü Right actions in the future are the best apologies for bad actions in the past.
ü Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future.
ü "If you are carrying strong feelings about something that happened in your past, they may hinder your ability to live in the present."-- Les Brown (Motivational Speaker)
ü You must choose to think God thoughts.
ü We must re-program our thinking to align with how God thinks of us.
5. The Call: Surrender your past, Trust God for your future; serve him faithfully today.
ü One reason God created time was so that there would be a place to bury the failures of the past.
3. Regardless of your past here are some things God says about your present and your future:
Ø John 3:16 tells just how much God loves us
Ø You are no longer separated from God – but Romans 5:1 says that you have been justified through faith and that you have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Ø Colossians 1:28 tells you that you are complete in Christ
Ø Colossians 1:22 tells you that you are holy before Him, without blemish and free from any accusation.
Ø Romans 8:37 calls you more than a conqueror.
Ø 1 John 5:4 tells you that in Christ you have overcome the world
Ø Romans 8:1 tells you that you are free from condemnation.
Ø Philippians 4:13 tells you that you can do all things through Christ
Ø Jesus Said: Remember the words I spoke to you – John 15:20
God’s hope for you is to free you from the negative affects of your past and release you into a blessed and prosperous future – but the choice is yours:
Ø You can continue in a life dominated by the past and cast in a mold to repeat the mistakes of the past
Ø OR: you can be freed from the past by fully surrendering your present and your future to God
Ø Remember this: Scripture says, “He who the son has made free is free indeed”