• The Encourager

Forgetting in Order to Remember - August Edition

Updated: Jan 26, 2019

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended but this one thing I do, forgetting those things, which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things, which are before. (Philippians 3:13)

“Forgetting” refers to failure to either recall or retain information into present consciousness. It also means to put out of one’s mind and/or cease to think about or consider. My former pastor often would say, “The mind cannot contain a multiplicity of things.” I find this to be a true statement. The mind plays a vital part in our lives. When we attempt to overcrowd it, we become confused, frustrated, and sometimes we forget the very thing we should remember.

As I grow older, I am aware that it is much harder for me to keep my focus. Therefore, I had to establish a coping plan for my present stage in life in order to keep my mind engaged on the positive things in life, rather than on the negative. In order to succeed in the present, I had to let go of the negativity of my past. Is this always easy? Of course not. But I had to prioritize my thoughts. Yes, I have come through some tough times in my life. Many unpleasant things have happened to me. However, I cannot afford to hold on to old wounds and hurts. I have to desensitize those experiences and concentrate on the blessings of the Lord that I now enjoy. “Forgetting” does not mean that I have amnesia; but rather I cannot afford to let my mind dwell on things in the past.

After we reach a certain age, many things start to happen to our bodies; often presenting physical challenges that keep us from doing the things, we once have done. If we are not watchful, Satan will try to take us back to yester years when we flourished in ministry. He will remind us of all the wonderful works the Lord “use to” perform through us. If we allow these thoughts to linger, we can become depressed and feel as though we are no longer needed or useful in ministry.

In my younger years, I was very busy in ministry. The Lord let me accomplish many good works. He allowed me to touch many lives. However, I cannot afford to dwell on what used to be, but now my thoughts and prayers are on where do I fit in the kingdom of God where I am now? It’s not about what I’ve done in the past, but what I’m doing when He calls me home. Therefore, I use the tools available to me now.

Let me encourage those that might have become discouraged in ministry – do not get hung-up on what you have done in the past and unable to do now. God wants to use you right where you are! I know the road gets rough and the hills are hard to climb. If you trust God, He will not change your ministry, but He will give you a better way to do it. I admonish you to let go of the past, including the bitter and the sweet and move forward!

Getting back to our lesson text. Paul had an interesting track record. He testifies of his accomplishments in Chapter 3 in four verses 5-7. Circumcised the eight day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee. Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, I counted loss for Christ. He further states: …I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ. He had to let go of his accomplishments to proceed further in his ministry.

The chosen text: Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before. Paul realized in order to move forward he had to break loose from his past. This included the good and the bad. His focus was on where he was going in the future. His life was too complicated to spend time on his past history.

Not only was it important to forget; he had to move forward…Paul was called to action. He said, “I am reaching forth to those things which are before.” He also added to his testimony, “I’m pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.”

Just as Paul refused to think about or put more emphasis on his past than his future, we must do the same thing. We must be moved to action, reach forth and press with all our strength toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. God is calling, are we listening? When we hear Him, what will our answer be? Jesus will meet us right where we are. He has not changed His mind concerning what He has for us to do. He deals with us where we are in our lives today. Yes, sometimes He changes the way we do ministry, but He never changes the call. It is high time to rise up and be about our Father’s business!

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