No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. Philippians 3:13 NLT
Our goal was thirty-eight miles and five days away.
Backpacking through thirty-eight miles of wilderness with a twelve-year-old daughter frightened me, but my daughter had decided that’s how she wanted to spend her spring vacation from school. We were both new to hiking and backpacking, so I was nervous. I laid out our food and equipment, trying to bear in mind the weight we would carry on our backs.
But preparing our supplies and equipment was only part of the preparation. We had to physically prepare. My daughter ran track and cross country. I knew she could handle the trip. Me on the other hand? I was a little worried. I walked daily, but I was much older and didn’t have the upper body strength I thought I needed. Could I carry a fifty-pound pack eight hours a day for five days?
We made the hike—and it was the best hiking experience we ever had—but we had to strip away everything that would slow us down. As I looked over the supplies lying on the living room floor, I selected only what we had to have and did everything possible to lessen the weight of the essentials.
I’ve set many goals during my lifetime, but the most important one entails what Jesus classified as the greatest commandment: loving Him with my entire being. Examples that spur me on fill the pages of the Bible and Christian history. But I’ll only reach the goal by laying aside the weights that slow me down—among them past sins and failures.
Intentional and unintentional sins litter the pasts of every believer. We can’t undo them, nor can we relive our lives. But we can do what Paul suggested: forget what’s behind and strain towards what’s ahead. Forgetting is impossible unless we’ve had brain damage, but we can refuse to dwell on past sins and failures.
When we confess our sins, God wipes the slate clean. He wants us concerned with the present and the future. The past only defines us when we allow it. God defines us by our present and future intentions. The same applies to past failures. The only permanent failure is when we give up and refuse to try again.
Don’t let past sins and failures determine who you are today and tomorrow.
Tweetable: Are you letting past failures hold you back?
Prayer: Father, thank You for forgiving our past and giving us a bright future.