Forgetting Those Things Which Are Behind

By David J. Stewart | January 2015

Philippians 3:13-14, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

       The Apostle Paul had accomplished much for the Lord, yet he says he does not think that he has “arrived” so-to-speak. Paul's attitude was that whatever good the Lord had done through him in the past, he was only concerned about reaching forward and working even harder in the future, lord willing.

This is the attitude that every believer should have. Whatever we may have done yesterday for the Lord, we did that which was out DUTY to do . . .

Luke 17:7-10, “But which of you, having a servant plowing or feeding cattle, will say unto him by and by, when he is come from the field, Go and sit down to meat? And will not rather say unto him, Make ready wherewith I may sup, and gird thyself, and serve me, till I have eaten and drunken; and afterward thou shalt eat and drink? Doth he thank that servant because he did the things that were commanded him? I trow not. So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do.”

I'll never understand healthy preachers who retire. There's more work to be done than ever. People are still going to Hell. Families are still hurting, struggling and suffering more than ever. A pastor may feel the need to retire due to health problems or that of his wife, but there are many pastors who retire simply because they feel like they've done their part, they've paid their dues. The Apostle Paul didn't think that way. In fact, Paul thought the exact opposite. Paul's attitude was that he chose to forget whatever accomplishments he had made in the Lord, being even more determined to serve God diligently as he moved forward.

May I say, although this Scripture passage is speaking specifically about past accomplishments in the ministry, it certainly applies to one's past sins, faults and mistakes. So many people allow the failures of the past, and worries over the future, to rob them of their joy in the Lord today! Yesterday is a cashed check. Tomorrow is a promissory note. Today we have cash, and it's our choice how we spend it. Don't allow worry over things that haven't happened yet, keep you from enjoying your life now. Whatever horrible circumstances you may be enduring, make the best of it. Life is not about avoiding the storms; but rather, learning to sing in the rain.

The Lord tells us not to worry about tomorrow. Matthew 6:34, “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” God's plan for our Christian life is to live for right now. Pray now! Abide in the Word of God now! Love others as yourself now! Love others with God's unconditional love now! Do right now! Do what you can to serve God now! Share the Gospel (good news) with lost sinners now! So many believers exhaust much mental energy by worrying over things that haven't even happened yet. There's no guarantee of tomorrow. We can only live life the way that God gives it to us, which is JUST ONE DAY AT A TIME!!!

Whatever inexplicably painful memories and emotional scars are in your past, forget them in the Lord and move on. Place everything into God's hands. Let it all go into God's omnipotent hands!!! Lose yourself in serving God. Every Christian believer needs to have a ministry. There are gifts and resources that every believer has from the Lord. You may be completely broke financially, but there is still something that you can do for the Lord. You may have no talent at all, but there is still something that you can do for the Lord. Or better said, there is something that God CAN DO THROUGH YOU TO HELP OTHERS!!! Are you willing to be used by God?

Yesterday is gone, water under the bridge. What's been said was said. What's been lost is lost. What's been done is done. What's been wasted is wasted. What's been accomplished is accomplished. Philippians 3:13-14, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Here are some powerful words of advice from God for every Christian believer . . .

1st Corinthians 7:29-31, “But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.”

God is saying that if you don't like the way things are, hang in there because things always change; and if you like the way things are, don't get used to it, because things always change. Nothing ever stays the same, this world will pass away! There were a billion beautiful young people alive 150 years ago, but every single one of them are DEAD NOW! There are approximately 7,000,000,000 people alive upon the earth in 2015, and if the Lord tarries His return, every single one of them will be dead by 2150. How many people live to be 100? Not too many! This earthly life will be over before we know it.

1st John 2:15-17, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.”

What a convicting passage of Scripture. The sinful world loves all the wrong things: money, sex, fame and pleasures. As Christians, the Bible tells us not to live for this world, but for eternity. Colossians 3:1-3, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

“Nobody can love God who doesn't love sinners!”
(a quote by Dr. Jack Hyles classic MP3 sermon, “The Happiest Man” (happiest is the man who will not impute sin to others!)

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