“Forgetting What Is Behind And Strain Forward”

“Forgetting What Is Behind And Strain Forward”

Sister Miki Terayama - 6 June 2021

Weekend Devotion: "Forgetting What Is Behind and Strain Forward"

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Philippians 3:13 says “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”
Now, our past has a kind of hold on us. Our past carries with it a chart of our experiences in life, our choices, our successes and even our mistakes. Because of this, it can bring about a lot of after effects, because these memories or feelings may stay with us or affect certain perspectives we have on present or future things. These may cause us to go into 2 states.

Wounded Or Crippled By Our Past

Firstly, we may become wounded or crippled by our past. This is the most common state for many of us to go through. Many of us may have past experiences where we may have been hurt or disappointed with someone, causing it to leave behind some unresolved hurts, distrust or becoming oversensitive within us. It could be the time where someone in church said a harsh comment to us, someone being critical to us when we bare our weaknesses before them, or being forsaken by another. We may also have experiences where we are the ones who have hurt someone or made a mistake. For example, making some bad choices, not being able to minister to someone better, falling into deep sins, and so on. All these can cause us to have chronic accusations throughout our lives when we recall or interact with others. For example, I was struggling with shepherding my youths at times because of my past failures in this area and dwelling on thoughts of my limitations. So you see, our past has a crippling effect that flows into our spiritual confidence in relationships and situations. It causes us to pull out a bad section from the past to look at our present and encaging us. These are, in fact, strongholds that have taken root in our lives and not something we can fight off by our own will, because we live a lot by our memories. And memories will always come back to us from time to time. So even if someone has hurt us before and changed for the better, once they start showing small signs of familiar behaviour, we will be triggered and recall all the bad things the person has done before. This is how our past can oppress us, regardless of how old, how spiritual or how positive of a character we have. 

Prideful Or Complacent Because Of Our Past

Secondly, we could also go into a flip-side reaction where we turn prideful or complacent because of our past. This basically means being overly confident and absolute on certain areas where we have succeeded in. As 1 Peter 5:8 says, “Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Now, the devil is especially skilled in this department of making people proud because of past successes. Because usually, this comes with us slacking off in spiritual vigilance and reliance on the Lord. For example, we can be very good in making conversations with people in church and we settle at seeing that God is pleased with us. But we must not stop there, because the devil is always working on God’s people, to steer them away from the Lord’s leading. So if we become complacent about just one area of success we have, we may start to be blinded by God’s ongoing leading in other areas. Like other than just small talks, how about deeper conversations, interceding for each other’s real needs? Or may we have been neglecting those who are more introverted and may need to be ministered to more, with hidden problems? So pride stemmed from the past can be a pawn for Satan’s influences and a dangerous barricade for our faith.

Become One That “Strains Towards What Is Ahead”

Now that we have seen how our past may lead us in these states, we must go back to the verse in Philippians 3:13. That is to become one that “forgets what is behind and strain towards what is ahead.” It is true that our past may have brought us some pain or pride, but those are all but tools to shape us into the precious vessels we are for God’s kingdom. Our hurts and weaknesses reminds us of men’s inability and the need to keep relying on the steadfast and stable hope in God instead. Our successes reminds us of the gifts that God has given us and how we are should continue running this race for God with what we have because of God’s faithfulness on us. As we confirm these truths of the past, instead of dwelling on the past, let it be a spiritual strength for us to continue acting on our present by the wisdom of God’s word. That is, if we are unable to do the things in our roles, let it be a spiritual need for us to keep coming to the Lord, the Church and the fellowship to receive guidance and comfort in the right, blessed environment. And if we are able to do many things in our fields very well, we must learn to humble down and continue to be vigilant in seeking God’s counsel in the way we manage our work, school, family and relationships with others. If not, very easily, we will meet with temptations and fall. That is why, “forgetting what is behind and straining forward” is important. Because instead of paying too much mind to our past, we need to give our all to praying unceasingly and receiving the Lord’s conviction to fulfil His will in different areas of our lives. God has much in store for us in our present and our future. So let us keep in close communion with the Lord, do not let our past hurts or success have a hold on us and move ahead with faith and conviction of God’s enabling power. God bless.
Miki Terayama

Miki is a full-time ministry staff at The Blessed Run Ministries. She is a sister who shares a natural, God-given affinity with children and youths. She is married to Randy (NET Group Youth Leader) and has two little ones of her own, Liora and Jude. She is involved in the children, youth and social media ministries.

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