Forget the past, look to the future

We did it. We made it through another year. 2016 is now a part of history.

Today, we stand on the threshold of a new year. That’s 12 months of potential, 52 weeks of possibilities and 365 days filled with opportunity. What will you do with all of that time? It will be over before you know it. Remember how quickly 2016 blew by?

This is typically the time of year when people think about making resolutions. A resolution has been defined as a firm decision to do or not to do something. We often resolve that in the coming new year, we will make some positive changes in our lives.

That is a good thing. We pledge to do things like eat right, lose weight, exercise more and be an all-around better person. We commit to getting rid of some old bad habits and start some new good ones.

If we are interested in keeping any of our resolutions this year, we would be wise to listen to the Apostle Paul.

Paul had resolved to forget what was behind. He chose to forget the mistakes and failures of the past. It is good to forget those things that could paralyze you with guilt and despair. (See Philippians 3:12-14.)

As a former persecutor of the church, I’m sure Paul had a lot that he wanted to leave behind. There were things of which he was undoubtedly ashamed. These things were a part of the past he intentionally chose to leave behind. But not everything that needs to be left behind is negative. Sometimes, we need to forget past successes.

Not only did Paul choose to put aside his negative past, he must have also chosen not to dwell on how far he had come from where he had been. Past successes might tempt us to become content.

Paul was not content with where he was. He was not satisfied, and he wasn’t about to coast in his spirituality. He realized he still had a long way to go if he wanted to know Christ fully and completely. He was ready to press on to an even brighter future.

I have heard that eight out of 10 people won’t keep their resolutions for more than a month. Some estimates are even worse than that. Maybe your failure to keep past resolutions is what makes you cynical or skeptical about making any new resolutions for 2017.

Why don’t you listen to Paul’s admonition to forget about all that is behind … even those broken resolutions?

You may read Steve Greene’s blog at pastorgreene.wordpress.com or you can email him at steve@gotothepoint.com.