How do you put your past behind you? The Apostle Paul wrote that he was forgetting what was behind and straining to the goal in front of him. So, obviously he was learning how to put his past behind him.
Now, think about what was behind Paul. A life of rebellion against Christ when he actually was the enemy of the Lord, persecuting and killing Christians for their faith before his conversion. After that, he had other things in his past to forget: failures, for one. All of his plans for serving the Lord had not succeeded as he wanted them to. He had been prevented from going certain places and doing what he planned to do.
Relationship problems also were in his past. He had a disagreement with Barnabas over Mark, and some of the other Christians were suspicious of him and his conversion. But he determined to forget what was behind him in order to attain the heavenly goal which was before him.
Can you name the things in your past which are still hanging around your neck? Are there times when you are living in the past instead of pressing forward for what God has for you in the future? If so, and if you would like to be free from that past, will you begin by telling God that you are willing to put the past behind you? You may not believe it’s possible to do, but your part is to be willing to let God do it.
Now, think hard and long about that, because sometimes we hang onto our pasts on purpose. We don’t want to let go of the hurt feelings; we don’t want to let go of our martyr’s syndrome; we don’t want to let go of the bitterness. To be willing to put your past behind you, you must be willing to let those things go and allow God to work something new in you. But God can’t do that until you give him permission to do it—with all your heart. Frankly, that’s the hard part particularly if you’ve been wallowing in your past or burdened by your past for a long time.
In Jeremiah 32:27 we read: “I am the Lord, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?” That’s the question you have to answer. Is this too hard for God? If you believe he is the God of the Bible, with all power, wisdom, knowledge and strength, then the answer has to be “No.” So, are you ready to do your part and give God permission to help you put your past behind you?