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A New Start for the New Year, part 3
First… if you want a new start in the New Year; then you must choose to forget the things which are behind. Listen again, to Paul’s wisdom in vs 13, “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind…” If you really hope to change, there are some things in the past that, quite frankly, you need to forget.
There are two things in particular you need to forget:
You need to forget about your failures. You need to confess them before God and then move on. If what you have done is under the blood of Christ (and if you've asked God to forgive you, then it is) then QUIT obsessing over it. God has promised forgiveness to us on the basis of our union with Jesus. And the Apostle John reminds us that “… if we confess our sins, HE is FAITHFUL and JUST to FORGIVE us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness” 1 John 1:9 ESV. The Apostle Paul said this, in Romans 8:1, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus” ESV. And God told Peter in Acts 10, “… what God has made clean, do not now call common.” Why? Because as the Psalmist declared in Psalm 103:12, “… as far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us” ESV.
Please understand: I am not in the least bit attempting to diminish the awfulness of sin – however, I am here to remind you that according to God’s Word, 2 Corinthians 5:17, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun”NLT.
Do not let past failures define you, today or tomorrow. When Paul looked back he saw a lot of things he was ashamed of. He saw how he had blasphemed the Name of Jesus… how he persecuted the church and opposed the Gospel message. BUT, he was no longer that man – he had been forgiven. He refused to allow his past failures to define who he was in his today or in his future. God no longer saw him that way. And neither does God see YOU that way.
Sometimes it’s good to look back. In fact I believe at times we need to look back; to remind ourselves of the greatness of God’s grace. It keeps us humble – it causes us to be thankful. But listen, to dwell on the past… is dooming you to repeat it. As I have said before, look at the difference between the windshield and the rear view mirror of any car. The rear view mirror is much smaller because it is designed for us to briefly glance at not to stare at or try to get our directions from. You cannot maneuver your car around a curve, on the freeway, by focusing on the rearview mirror. Safe driving requires you to focus on what is in front of you, not what’s going on, or has happened, behind you. And the same can be said of life. If you want to succeed… you’ve GOT to let go of the past.
And friends, past failures are not ALL we need to forget – we need to forget past successes as well. In fact, when you read what Paul says in this chapter, you hear him telling us about all the things he left behind. How he would not allow his previous successes to prevent him from being all that God wanted him to be NOW. Past victories can lead us to be satisfied… nostalgic – and virtually useless for today.
I know a good number of Christians who are virtually useless in the work of the Kingdom of God today because all they think about is what they did yesterday – how they USE to do this… how they USE to do that… – they are now just coasting toward, or into, retirement without any regard to the work of the Kingdom of God that needs to be done TODAY.
Medication: A Merry Heart:
NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
2014: I will get my weight down below 180 pounds.
2015: I will follow my new diet religiously until I get below 200 pounds.
2016: I will develop a realistic attitude about my weight.
2017: I will work out 3 days a week.
2018: I will try to drive past a gym at least once a week.
St Mark’s Community Church, Janesville
New Beginnings Church, New Ulm
Verse of the Week: Philippians 3:13-14 ESV
Today’s readings: Genesis 8 – 11