Is the past holding you back?

I’m sure there are (many) things you’ve done that you’ve regretted in life. As a human, mistakes are inevitable in our life. We can’t avoid them. While we need to be repentant of our mishaps, we cannot allow them to keep us from moving on and succeeding in the things that God has planned for us. Some people have the tendency of wallowing in their mistakes and getting stuck in the mud pit that they are. I know because I’ve been there.

When I was going through such a time in my life, I headed to God’s Word. Through it, He revealed a scripture passage to me that encouraged me and reminded me of His amazing love.

As a teenager, I made many decisions that, like most people, I later regretted, and as a result of these shortcomings, my mistakes, I felt like I could not move forward in life. The feeling that God was done with me dominated my thought patterns day and night. How could God use me? I had made way too many mistakes in life. I had ignored Him earlier. Now, it was too late.

Daily, I struggled over my regrets. One day, I was reading in the book of Philippians, one of my favorites of Paul’s epistles. As I was reading on this particular day, a verse stuck out to me: “Brother’s I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 3:13-14.

Most likely, I had read that verse hundreds of times in my life, but the weight of its significance hit me especially hard on this day. The details of Paul’s life came to mind. When we meet Paul in the Bible, he is Saul overlooking the execution of Stephen, a man preaching about Jesus Christ. Through God’s amazing love and mercy, Saul is transformed into Paul and becomes one of the most prolific missionaries of all time. Despite his past of persecuting those following the Way of Christ, God used him to do many great and wonderful things. What if Paul had told God he could not preach to people because he had once persecuted Christians? What if Paul had never moved on from his former life? He would have greatly missed his calling! How many people would have been affected had he ignored the call of God?

This encouraged me beyond words! I was reminded that God can use anyone no matter what their circumstances are as long as they have a willing heart. It is never too late!The verse in Philippians reminded me that I must not let things of my past hold me back. My mistakes had to be surrendered to God. Without forgetting the past, I could not strive forward toward the goals of Christ; I could not press on toward the prize of the upward call of God. This verse truly changed my perspective on my life and made me see God in a whole new way. I couldn’t wallow in my past. By doing so, I was being held back from all of my potential. After reading this verse and allowing God to manifest it in my life, I have truly been able to move on and press forward toward the call of Christ Jesus, my Lord and Savior. Ever since, it has been amazing to see how God works. By letting go of my mistakes and refocusing on Him, my life has been so much richer. Praise God for His word and praise God for working in my life!

So no matter what you have done rather big or small, rest in peace that God will forgive, and you can most definitely move on. Harboring feelings of low self-esteem and unworthiness is only holding yourself back from the amazing plan that God has for you. You must let go of the past, and you must move forward! If Saul can become Paul, you too can become someone great in Christ Jesus!

But first and foremost, we must let go of our past. We can’t run forward at full speed if we are constantly looking back over our shoulder! Truly, then we are going to stumble. We must keep our eyes focused on the road ahead. WE must keep our eyes focused on Christ, and the amazing future He has in store for us.

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