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, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded: and if in anything ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. (Php 3:13-15)
This is one of the most important passages of Scripture on living the Christian life we’ll ever find. Relationship with God and relationship with people is in the mind. That’s why we are told to forget the past. Your future depends on what you do with your past. When you obey God, if something is still in the way, God will reveal it to you. You have His word on that. Read it again.
Living the Christian life always begins and maintains itself with attitude and that has to do with the mind.. The altitude of an airplane always depends on the attitude and power of the plane. That is, whether the nose is heading up or heading down. When I get on a plane, I want the pilot to gain speed and lift the nose up and clear the trees at the end of the runway. At Greensboro, I was always a bit uneasy because of the fuel tank farm located not far beyond the runway. There is also a cemetery alongside the path of the plane. “Get the nose up!” We’ve got to rise above all of that if we’re going to make it to Atlanta!
I always felt so much better when I heard the clunk of the landing gear being swallowed up into the belly of the plane. That happened just before we passed the cemetery and we nosed up at a steep angle with full power for a steep climb to gain altitude. Every time it was the same. I felt so much better when it was all behind me and the bell went ding and the pilot said we could unfasten our seat belts and gave us the weather in Atlanta.
That’s like it is on our journey to Heaven. I like to forget the troubling things that threatened us in the past and hear the Pilot talk about the weather in Heaven. He’ll tell us refreshments will be served and we are to enjoy our flight.
However, if you will let him, the devil will beat you to death with your past. And if the devil doesn’t care to bother you right now, your conscience will do it for him. Either way, your past may be the biggest thing you must wrestle with. It doesn’t have to be that way. The flowers spend their beauty and bow to their death. But, they’ll be back next spring in dazzling beauty! Hasn’t the Lord demonstrated for us His intentions for us to rise above our failures and blunders to bloom where we’re planted?
A visiting preacher said today at our church that the reason there is not more praising of God among Christians is that there is too much complaining going on. We don’t feel like praising God when we forget how many things God has done for us. Job said: Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. (Job 1:21)
Barbara and I are still visiting with Job and his “friends.” We’re doing about two chapters a day and it is a chore to try to imagine what that poor fellow went through. But, everyone should go through it a dozen times and mark the verses that seem most meaningful to you. He says things we don’t want to hear. Why he didn’t run off his mouthy friends, I don’t know. It reminds me of the song: Am I A Soldier of the Cross. A passage says: “Is this vile world a friend to grace to help me on to God?” And the answer is: No! It is not!
Sometimes the reason we cannot forget the past is that we may be holding a grudge from back there and we have nursed that grudge until it has become a root of bitterness. Oh yes! It goes on big time among Christians, many who are carrying wounds from the past. Wounds that never healed. Some are mad at their mama or daddy and they are dead now. So, how are you going to talk it over? Well, there’s no Bible for this, but you might try setting a chair in front of you and pretend you’re talking to them, like they’re alive. Talk it out. Tell them you’re sorry for your part. Tell them you forgive them for the way they hurt you. Don’t mark me off as weird until you deal with it.
Please listen to me. I have listened to my part of really sad stories and have seen the baggage people drag around with them. Some people in our churches were saved out of some terribly messy situations. If you had a good childhood, don’t try to understand where these people are coming from.
Sometimes the wounds open when a person is getting saved. I stood by the bedside of an old army veteran who was weeping his way to God. It was like he was vomiting. I did his funeral in a few days. He was so full of pent-up bitterness of soul. When we bump into people at Walmart, we never know what they’re carrying around. Be patient with people who act like the devil because they may be driven by him. In Tallahassee, Florida I knocked on a door and talked to a man and the next day he committed suicide. I guess the pastor and I were the last people he talked to. He wouldn’t let us in.
There are so many people walking around waiting for someone to care about them. But we can’t help someone else if we are full of bad memories we won’t let go. Write these memories on a piece of patter and put them in your Bible. Go to the Lord and read your list to Him. Give them to Him, one at a time. If you are holding a grudge, you may have to tell the Lord the same thing every day for a month. If it is tangled up inside of you it may not be so simple to get rid of. Go back to the Lord again and again, day after day.
Start praying for that person, asking God to bless them When you can pray for God to bless them and you feel good about it, you’re getting there. Forgiveness is taking place. Forgiving is often a process and not an event. That is, you may have to do it day after day for a while.
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. (Eph 4:32)
Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. (Col 3:13)
You don’t need to ask the Lord if you need to forgive. He has already told you to do it. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MARCH 6, 2017 – MONDAY
A.M. Deuteronomy 1-2 P.M. Mark 11:1-19
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Memory Verse This Month:
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. (Psa 19:14)
Song for Today:
Acap. Quartet (2:25): Keep On the F. Line (Cal. Mem.So.Pines,NC)