Philippians 3:12-16- Not that I have already reached the goal or am fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I have also been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue my goal as the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. Therefore, all who are mature should thing this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you. In any case, we should like up to whatever truth we have attained.
I think this lump of scripture is huge, it causes us to come to grips with the fact that once we accept God’s forgiveness, we are no longer our past. All of our yesterdays may have gotten us to today, but they are not the composition of who we are. This passage also tells us that we are not going to do a 180 and change overnight but that it takes time. Once you accept salvation, you are supposed to grow in faith daily. Some days you will be making progress in baby steps, and you’ll have leaps and bounds as well. Other days you will stumble, and that is all okay.
No one’s journey to salvation, and after that no one’s faith journey is the same. If God made us all unique and different with different purposes, surely it makes sense that our journey to Him and our life path and story would be different and unique. He’s right there, and has us by the hand like a parent with their toddler. He will guide you if you let Him, but you have to let go of the burden of your past.
Take a few minutes today. I’ve written a few times about how you are worth the cross. Grab a slice of paper and draw a large outline of the cross on it. Fill up the whole page. Write down what you think makes you unworthy of the cross- write it all down right inside the cross. I do this when I’m anxious- I write down words like “fear, anxiety, judgement.” If I were to do this exact activity I would still have those words. It’s scary to let go of your past and become a new person, even if that new person is protected by God’s love.
I have spent years dwelling on my past while saying I wanted to trust God. I was stuck. I was trying to move forward in Christ but literally couldn’t go too far because I was still holding onto my past- mistakes, hurts, regrets, fears, all of it. Once I was finally willing and emotionally able to let God take it, that was when I was able to take baby steps again, and walk, run, and stumble towards Jesus. It’s a messy, beautiful journey that I take everyday free from the fear of my past catching up with me because it’s so far behind me. It’s still a part of who I was because I can not change my past, and someday God may choose to use that part of who I was to help others. As the character Anne said in Anne of Green Gables: “Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?” Tomorrow isn’t promised, but you can look forward to a new tomorrow in life and more importantly in Christ.
Challenge yourself. Between telling yourself “I am worth the cross” and having a picture of the things you think you can’t give to God that Jesus already died for, you can do this. Lay it all down, let it all go. Follow Jesus. Forgive yourself and allow His merciful forgiveness to cover all your sins.
Linger (Warr Acres)
Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been (Relient K)
Healing Rain (Michael W. Smith)
Nobody Else (Warr Acres)
The Arms of My Savior (Lincoln Brewster)