All of us have a past; it's just a normal part of the human condition. But have you ever wondered how to let go of the past so that you are free to do all the things God has called you to do in life? I'm going to share a really practical strategy for renewing your mind, right out of God's Word, that will enable you to let go of the past and truly begin to thrive in all God has for you.
How God Sees Your Past
All of us have done things and have had things done to us in the past that we want to forget. We want to get rid of it, but the enemy loves to continually bring those things up over and over. He uses these images of the past to torment us in order to impede our walk with the Lord. It’s frustrating for many and for some, it can be downright paralyzing.
This may be your current reality, but it's not God’s best for you in the Kingdom!
I'm so glad that Roman's teaches us that:
And that Paul, in 2nd Corinthians, builds on this verse when he wrote:
But as helpful as these two verses are, I love Scripture that gives us real practical strategy on how to walk out a Biblical principle here in the real world. And Philippians 3:12 – 14 is such a passage. Here, Paul lays out a powerful strategy for walking in freedom from the condemnation of the past:
Forgetting What Is Behind Is A Process
That passage is such an excellent strategy for getting rid of, what is commonly referred to as stinkin' thinkin'. I love how this passage starts with, "Not that I have already obtained it or have become perfect, but I press on." Right at the beginning, Paul is letting you know this is a process, that he's still in process himself…
But Paul doesn't camp out there. He continues with, "forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." I love how Paul forgets with intent.
As he is laying things down from his past, it's as if Paul is intentionally saying, "You know, these thoughts, fears, and anxieties over my past that keep playing over and over in my mind, I'm choosing to and take those thoughts captive and forget it!" But he doesn't stop there.
Reaching Forward Is Key
What does Paul mention next? He exercises his faith, believing that God has so much more for him, and he leans into the process. Paul purposefully shifts his attention from the mistakes, hurts, junk from the past and begins to focus on:
Many of us have spent years focusing on the things we have done wrong. It's too easy to be wrapped up in all the ways that we missed it and walk in condemnation over the weaknesses and temptations we've given into in the past.
“Your outer life is the fruit of your inner life.” - Matt Tommey
Yet, if you allow those past failings to define you and dominate your thought life, then your life is going to be a mess. Why, you ask? It's because your outer life is the fruit of your inner life. That's why Paul talked so much about this in the New Testament.
Forget that junk! Press Into ALL That God Has For You.
"Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things." Philippians 4:8
So, I want you to get this concept deep into your spirit today as you read this. If you've been having trouble letting go of the past, there is an easy place to start. Take a moment to reflect on one anxiety, fear, or regret from your past. When you have that thing in mind, find a few quiet minutes and take it to the Lord in prayer…
Listen, friend! That's how you let go of the past. You take those old thoughts captive, you throw them out, and you replace them with the truth of God's Word. You make that vision, God's plan and purpose for your life, a reality by leaning into it. As you do, you'll begin to move forward.
Matt Tommey is an artist, author and mentor who is passionate about empowering artists to thrive spiritually, artistically and in business.