Summary: Often we complain about our forgetfulness but forgetting plays a major part in living a Christian life. Let’s see how.
FORGETTING: THE GOOD AND THE BAD OF IT
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14 (NASB)
Often we complain about our forgetfulness but forgetting plays a major part in living a Christian life. Let’s see where forgetting is a blessing and where it is not.
I. THERE IS MUCH ABOUT OUR PAST THAT WE NEED TO FORGET.
A. Some need to forget past successes. These could lead to pride and give us a feeling that we have already “attained” the goal. So keep your “press clippings” in the drawer and keep on serving the Lord. When it comes to our service for Christ, there is no place for retirement. The place for a Christian is not in the grandstand but on the field of battle for the Lord Jesus Christ.
B. Some need to forget past failures in your Christian life. Satan can, and will, use your past mistakes and sins to cause you to give up serving Christ.
C. All of us need to forget past grievances. This is difficult to do but here are some suggestions as to how to “put them behind you” and keep from developing new grievances or resentments.
Make a written list of your grievances against your fellowman! Specify in particular; write down how long you have felt this way; list the things you have done to reconcile the underlying cause of your grievance; develop a list of things you can do to resolve the issue. It is our responsiblity, as Christians, to take the initiative in removing this stumblingblock from our lives.
…Do you resent some action on God’s part? Enter into a “prayer closet” experience with God and tell how what you are feeling. God will not punish you for telling Him you about your feelings of resentment. But one thing you need to keep in mind: ”Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (James 1:17 NKJV).
Be mindful of the fact that all sickness, disease and death are the product of sin. Although there may be a trillion different varieties of DNA, one basic characteristic that is common to all of them is that they all contain a trace of the DNA of Adam. Bad things happen to good people because sin is endemic to the human race. Scripturally stated, “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
II. ALL OF US NEED TO FORGET OUR FEARS. More than 70 times in His Word God tells us to “fear not”, or some derivation of it. It is an act of unbelief for the Christian to fear anything that God has told us not to fear.
Jesus told us not to fear the future: "So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34 NASB).
Hebrews 13:5-6 tells us not to fear what man can do to us. The writer references Psalm 118:6 when he wrote: Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you." So we may boldly say: "The Lord is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?"
Jesus told us not to fear the storms of life. We read in Mark: Now a great windstorm developed and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was nearly swamped.
But He was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. They awakened Him and said to Him, "Teacher, don’t you care that we’re perishing?"
So He got up and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Be quiet! Settle down!" Then the wind stopped and it became perfectly calm.
And He said to them, "Why are you cowardly? Do you still not have faith?" Mark 4:37-40 (NET)
Now I recognize that this was a violent storm on the Sea of Galilee but I think that it can be used to typify the storms that we often face in our daily lives. With Christ in our boat, we have nothing to fear.
Paul tells us not to fear death: "O death , where is your victory ? O death , where is your sting?" 56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 15:55-57 NASB)