“I admit that I haven’t yet acquired the absolute fullness
that I’m pursuing, but I run with passion into His abundance
so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to
fulfill and wants me to discover.
I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this;
however I do have one compelling focus.
I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead.
I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal
and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus.”
Philippians 3:12-14 The Passion Translation
Our lives are made up of a past, a present, and a future which are constantly changing on a sliding scale. What was once the future quickly becomes the present, and it seems, even more quickly, to become the past. Sometimes we fasten our attention on a certain event or crisis that we anticipate with either dread or hope. As it approaches and becomes a present reality we find that it rarely meets our expectations whether for better or worse. When we look back on it later, it can seem different again. Memory and perspective may change how we look at it and what we take away from it.
We can learn a great deal from the past, whether it is our experience, our observation of someone else’s experience, or an unrelated historical event. Even Scripture encourages us to remember the accounts of God’s faithfulness as a method of building up our faith for the present trials and unknown future we face.
The past, however, is not where we are to place our hope or our investment. Our past is filled with sin, with mistakes, and with pain caused by ourselves and others. When we focus our attention there we become slaves to things we can never change. We harbor negative things like unforgiveness, regret, shame, jealousy, and bitterness, to name a few. We begin to anchor our identity in human genetics and traits we claim as our own. We value days gone by over days to come and find ourselves complaining about everything that we feel has changed.
That is no way for a child of God to live. We have been made new. Even though we have a human geneology, our true identity is rooted in the reality of God as our Father. His is the likeness we bear. In fact, He gives His very own Spirit to live in and through us providing everything we need for life and godliness. He doesn’t just save us to keep us from Hell, He redeems, restores, and recreates His own life within us.
That changes everything involving our past, present, and future. It gives a correct perspective of the past that we can learn from without being held captive in it. Now in the present we keep our eyes on Jesus and trust His goodness and love. We can walk in joy knowing that the hope of our hearts is anchored in the sure anticipation of all that He has promised for the future. Though our bodies may weaken and will someday fail, our hearts can be renewed and strengthened every day we live because of His life in us.
Instead of becoming bitter, complaining people filled with sadness and regret, we should get better with age. We have the opportunity to know Jesus better and trust Him more every day. We should become stronger in our faith and sweeter in our demeanor as we see His face more and more clearly. We should love and invest in people and in the future where He will make everything right. Life can be hard, and some things may not seem fair, but God is far and above better than any hardship we may face. He is our greater reality and the place we should invest our lives and hope.
2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 4:6; 2 Thessalonians 2:16; 2 Peter 1:2-4; Hebrews 12:1-2;
1 Peter 1:3-5; 2 Corinthians 5:1-9; Psalm 73:25-26; James 1:2;