In my youth I played football and throughout my career we had some big wins and some hard-to-swallow losses. After each game we celebrated the win or moaned over the loss, but one thing was always certain; there was another game a week away. We would watch the game film of the previous game, then right after that, watch film of the upcoming opponent and begin preparing for that game. Focusing on the last game would not help us prepare for the next game. Learning from the last game would help us prepare for the next game, but dwelling on that game, won or lost, did nothing to help us prepare.
The same is true in the game of life and in our walk with Jesus. What we did, or what was done to us, yesterday, while it might sting for quite some time, cannot be changed. The game film can be replayed and watched over and over, but the outcome of a particular play, or the final score of the game, does not change simply because we replay the game film over and over. We can learn from it, but what happened in the past is unchangeable.
The apostle Paul gives us a good model to follow. In Philippians 3:12-14 we read these words – Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 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. I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
In this passage Paul is saying that he forgets his past and presses ahead. Forgetting does not mean wiping his past from his memory but instead he makes a conscious decision to not allow it to absorb his attention and slow his progress. And Paul had a checkered past, one that would have been easy to let burden him. Before his conversion on the road to Damascus he did everything in his power to persecute Christians. After his conversion he was persecuted, falsely imprisoned, and beaten as he shared Christ with the world around him.
What happened, or didn’t happen, yesterday is in the past. While it might help to set your course for today and tomorrow, it should never hold you back. Yesterday is done and gone.
So we ask you today, are you allowing your past to hold you back, or are learning from it and using it to prepare you for next week’s game? Are you holding onto regrets, hurts, grudges, or feelings that need let go of? Forget yesterday and press on, both in life and in your relationship with Jesus!
New Bern, North Carolina