The Apostle Paul was telling Christians, in so many words, “Don’t look back!” Paul writes in his letter to the Philippians, ”Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
This has been a favorite scripture of mine for years. Recently I was thinking how we can look to the future without considering the mess of our past, knowing that Jesus died for our sins on the cross.
Thinking about why many of us don’t forget the pain of our past, I heard it explained; we need to understand that we do not have permission to look at our past apart from the cross. We have to see our past through the cross, see it through what Jesus did on the cross. How things are bought and paid for by the cross and how the kingdom of darkness was disabled and disarmed at the cross. How now in Christ we are a new creation with a new identity and authority. We are righteous and holy, and these belong to us because we are one with the One who died on the cross. So, whenever we go and look at the past, we have to see it in light of the One who’s going to be travelling with us to simply unravel, breakthrough, break-off, undo the effects of a past event.
We counteract the pain of the past through joy, God is the giver of Joy and we need to have our joy capacity enlarged. In our capacity to walk in joy and to return the joy is the key to going through any trauma and pain and this joy is obtained through a relationship as a friend of God and life-giving relationships with people and our community.
Be encouraged to press on toward the goal for the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.