16th October 2021

Don’t be imprisoned by the past

…But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV)

Have you ever cringed at the recollection of an event in your past? Particularly if it revolved around a sin of commission or omission on your part? I certainly have. Sometimes I audibly groan at the lack of judgement displayed at various points in my past life. And these have occurred in many different areas: employment; family life, especially child rearing; and attempts at fostering better relations with others, and failing.

L.P. Hartley, in his book The Go-Between, opens with this much quoted statement: ‘The past is a foreign country. They do things differently there.’ This certainly resonates with me and many others. Sometimes I can scarcely believe some of the things I have done and said in the past. Did I really do or say those things? All too often the answer is a resounding – yes!

However, we should not allow these shortcomings to shackle us to the past. The Apostle Paul certainly had a controversial past, yet, he was able to write the following in Philippians 3:13-14: ‘…one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.’

That message is echoed in Romans 5:8,10: ‘But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us…For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!’

Let Jesus, therefore,‘cleanse our consciences’ (Hebrews 9:14) and free us from the chains of our former sins and shortcomings, and let us press forward in serving our gracious Lord with all joy and gladness.

Prayer
Thank you Father for your wonderful gift of grace, through Jesus Christ, in forgiving our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness to serve you in sincerity and truth. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Study by Bob Beggs

About the writer:
Bob Beggs is a Minister in the Lisburn congregation of Grace Communion International, Northern Ireland, where he also serves on the Pastoral Council.

Local congregation:
Grace Communion Lisburn
Ballymacbrennan School House
129A Saintfield Road
Lisburn
Northern Ireland
BT27 5PG

Meeting time:
Sunday 11am

Local congregational contact:
Bob Beggs
Email: bobbeggs@hotmail.com

Word of Life contact:
wordoflife@gracecom.church