Posted by: Jo | June 6, 2014

Forgetting What Is Past

“Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining forward to what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13 – 14)

image As I grow older, forgetfulness is becoming an increasingly annoying part of my everyday life. I constantly leave one room for another, to retrieve an object, and within a few minutes what I was looking for has totally escaped my mind. Remembering names and places seems to tax my brain and is an increasing problem even disturbing my sleep until deep into the night the name I have been trying to recall all day, springs into my mind. Strangely enough some things do stay in my mind and these are usually things I regret. Over and over again I can go through in my mind my thoughtless remarks that when I look back on them should never have been said. Sometimes my foolish decisions and the outcome of them will not leave my thoughts. I ask the Lord to forgive me, but somehow cannot let go of the thought that I failed God somehow. Other thoughts that plague me are remembering slights from others and some hurtful comments that for some dreadful reason replay over and over in great detail. God uses the prophet, Isaiah, to give these beautiful words of advice to his children and as I read them I realise I need to take them to heart.

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:18 – 19)

When we dwell too much on those former things that plague us we may miss that exciting new thing the Lord wants to reveal to us. He tells us it is there, if we are looking back we may miss it.

imageWhen Paul is writing to the Philippians he urges then to look forward, not to waste time on former things that might hold one back from growing closer to the Lord. There was a very graphic description of the folly of looking back in the old farmer’s advice to the young ploughman, just beginning to learn how to plough a field. This was the warning,

“Don’t turn your head and look back once you start, you will lose track of where you are going and go off course”.

What wise words for us even today. We may not be ploughing a field, but we certainly want to stay on the path that leads us heavenward (Philippians 3:14)

After I began to think more deeply about Paul’s words about straining forward to what is ahead I began to grasp the graciousness of God’s forgetfulness.

“…For the past troubles will be forgotten and hidden from my eyes.” (Isaiah 65:16)

I realised I too have to be gracious about forgetting what will hinder my walk with him. He not only forgives us our sins, he will banish them like the morning mist and remember them no more. I too have to practice letting go image of what is not helpful.

“I have swept away your offences like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” (Isaiah 44:22)

How liberating it is to forget what is behind and strain forward to what is ahead.


  1. What great insight! You write so well and present awesome truths. Blessings,


  2. Thanks Jo, for the wonderful verses in Isaiah. They indeed are reminders of God’s amazing love for us. They must be hidden in my heart, as well as Paul’s advice in Philippians 3. Great way to start the day!


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