Memories can feel like a fiery dart
Pastor Al Jones, New Life Assembly of God, Cokato
Our memory is a wonderful thing. It is a part of our mind that we rely on each and every day.
From the time we were an infant, our memory has been developing. It is full of information and experiences that are very important to our survival, and also things that seem to serve no purpose whatsoever.
Forgetting things as we grow older can be traumatic to us. We can forget faces, names, numbers, and events that were, at one time, important. We even go to others at times when we need help recovering a memory that we may have lost.
In Philippians 3, the Apostle Paul addresses the memory of his life’s events. He says, in verses 13-14: “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
We may wonder what Paul had in mind when he wrote this passage. Certainly, remembering how the Lord has touched our lives in the past is beneficial to us as we walk with Him.
Even in the life of Paul, the past was something that must have held failures or shortcomings in his commitment to the Savior. We know from the Bible that Paul was not proud of some of the things he had done, even though he thought he was doing the right thing. After his conversion, Paul told us that he “died daily” to the sin in his life.
One of the greatest tools the enemy, Satan, can use against us is the reminder of the things that we would sooner forget. The idle word of gossip, the lie to another, or perhaps a deed that we knew did not line up to the Bible or the convictions that the Lord put in our heart to observe.
All these things can feel like a fiery dart when we want to do something good for God, even after we have asked the Lord to forgive us. When reminded of the ways we have failed the Savior, our stamina to continue for Him may falter and Satan counts on that.
It’s vitally important that we give our past over to God, and allow His forgiveness and grace to cover us in our inadequacies. In Hebrews 8:12, the author says: “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.’’
If God, Himself, is willing to forget our shortcomings, why should we allow them to affect the life lived for Him?
It is after we have given over our past that we can truly live verse 14 in Philippians: “I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Allowing God to release us of our past can equip us to move forward for His high calling, pursuing the things that we have yet to do, for which God can receive the glory through us.
Let the Lord give you the strength and freedom to live for Him, because He, Himself, said, “Therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”