Daily Devotion - February 18, 2021 - Forget the Past

Pastor: Connie Belmore

Daily Devotion – February 18, 2021
Reading:
Philippians 3:12-21
Weekly Theme: Unchanging Truths
Today: Forget the Past

If you are reading this devotion, chances are you have a past. Most of us have a past full of great memories that sustain us through difficult times. In fact, one of God’s gifts to us is our ability to recall events from the past. However, there are also parts of our past that we need to forget so that we can move forward in our relationship with Jesus Christ. The following story illustrates this point. There once was a young man who was brought up in church but who wandered away from Christ and Christian teachings during his years as a teenager. He became entangled with drugs, alcohol and sex and turned his back on God. As a young man, by God’s grace, he repented from his waywardness and returned to God who received him with wide open arms. He had put his past behind him and was looking forward to the prize of a life saved by grace. Sadly, the church he was raised in and returned to could not forget his past. They shunned him and turned their back on him.

Today’s passage talks about keeping our eyes on the prize, Jesus Christ, and forgetting the past. This young man had put his past behind him and was keeping his eyes on the prize but the church he returned to simply would not let go of his past. Often when we read today’s passage, we think about our individual need to forget our past, but we also need to forget the past of others who have turned away and in time, return to the open arms of God. The apostle Paul gives us great advice on those unhealthy parts of our past and others’ pasts as well. We forget the past by moving forward in our life with Christ by keeping our eyes on the prize of life with a resurrected Christ and on our hope of resurrection, by following the example of other disciples, and forgetting the part of our past that is based on earthly and fleshly things rather than eternal and godly things. We also move forward from our past when we establish ourselves in a church who is loving, forgiving and has a vibrant discipleship ministry comprised of teaching and holding one another accountable in Christian love.

So, what happened to this young man? As God would have it, this young man found a new church who knew about his past, embraced him exactly where he was in his faith journey, and discipled him. Today that young man is a church leader and is reaching out to those who have never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ as well as those who like himself, wandered away for a season, and are now looking for a church who loves, forgets the past, and will move them forward in their faith.

Where do you see yourself in this story about forgetting the past? Do you need to forget your past? Do you need a church that will help you forget your past instead of constantly reminding you of it? Or do you and I as the church need to be better at helping those who need to forget their past through loving discipleship and accountability? Think about it and pray God will help us forget the parts of our past as well as others’ past that stymie our growth and keep us from moving forward to the prize of life with a resurrected Christ.

Dear God, thank you for the gift of memory that sustains us through difficult times. But God help us to let go of those memories that stunt our own spiritual growth as well as that of others. Help us to engage in loving discipleship and accountability as Your church. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 
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