13 Brothers, 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, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
One of the greatest pieces of advice my father-in-law Weldon Davis ever gave me was: “You can’t plow a straight row looking back.” A farmer doesn’t look back when he’s plowing or his rows won’t be straight! The past is behind you; don’t focus on it, or as Paul said – forget it. Paul learned much from his past, but he didn’t allow it to control him in any way. He didn’t totally forget his past; he mentions it in other letters to churches in the New Testament. However, he lived with a future focus and didn’t dwell on his past. The past was past! Paul’s focus was on the future; on the goal that Christ had for him.
I don’t know what your past holds. I’ve shared on many occasions that my past wasn’t pretty; I was very rebellious. However, when I trusted Jesus Christ my past was forgiven; I’m clean and free from all my guilt. Because of my position (my standing) in Christ, I no longer allow my past to control me. I have an incredible dream of what God wants to do in and through me, and my focus is on this future not my past failures.
You can choose to repent (turn from) your sin and experience God’s forgiveness. Then with God’s help and power, you can release your past and focus on the future God has for you. Satan would like nothing more than to keep you weighed down with your past. God wants you to experience the true freedom that comes from knowing and living for Christ and His purpose for your life. The choice – the focus – is yours.