Philippians 3:13-14 (AMP) Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul was a man with a past. Paul (known as Saul) held the coats of those stoning Stephen. He was responsible for persecuting the early church. Then he was the one who was being persecuted. Why? Jesus became real to him and he could not keep quiet about it. He learned first hand what Stephen was going through physically, and he held the coats of those doing it, while cheering them on.

We often wonder what Paul’s thorn was in 2 Corinthians 12, could it be the hurt he caused those that he is now trying to minister to? How he wished that they would forget like God has forgotten who he was. Paul was not the same man he was holding those coats. He was not the same man who searched the cities with the intent of killing anyone who professed Christ. That did not mean he was trusted by them now.

Paul said that in verse 10 that his determined purpose was to know Him more. That is something you and I have to grow in, just like Paul did. He was humble enough to admit that he did not reach there to completion yet, he had some things he was still working out, but one thing he did know was to forget what lies behind and reach forward.

He had to let go of the baggage of his past. There are some areas that we have to get to the root cause of. Those areas are rejection, hurts, orphan spirit, victim mentality, etc.. The area I am talking about is our mistakes. Like us, Paul had made some mistakes. He could not put his focus there. We can carry it around like baggage and let it way us down. If we try to unpack it, we eventually put it on and identify with it.

Have you ever flown and your luggage was too heavy? Instead of paying the surcharge to check a heavier piece of luggage. you take out items and put them on. So now you are wearing two pairs of pants and three bulky shirts. That is what it is like when we identify with our mistakes because we tried to unpack them and examine them. How comfortable is that flight going to be? The seats are already tight enough. Don’t you think a little bit of anxiety is going to set in? We sit there long enough like that and depression gets a hold of us. Then you do not want to move. You would rather hide in your bed than face the world because you have identified with your mistakes. Relationships start to suffer and now you have isolated yourself.

The biblical word for baggage is strongholds. It is the one area that always stays with us. Always trips us up.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 (NIV) For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.

The definition of stronghold here is: a prisoner locked by deception. Living life by something that is not true.

This is why Paul said forgetting what lies behind. God chose to forget our sins. We have to choose to forget our past. The Hebrew words for “forget,” shakach and nashah means to cease to care or to ignore. It is has not dropped from the mind, but it has dropped from the equation.

Still think it’s too bad? You have been through too much?

This is when you need to stand on Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. Paul fought with his flesh, the human nature to do things with self concern. The inability to walk in forgiveness and not letting go of who we use to be, has to do with us. We need Jesus.

Ephesians 4:22-23 (AMP) Regarding your previous way of life, you put off your old self [completely discard your former nature], which is being corrupted through deceitful desires, and be continually renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh, untarnished mental and spiritual attitude].

I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

How? By forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead. Drop it. Your mistakes do not have to form your future. There may be consequences. Like Paul, the people had to watch and see the character change that happened. There is not need of convincing. Take off that old self and let them see the true you, the you that was made in His image. Glorify God with where you are right now. We are all still progressively growing. We are going to make more mistakes. None of us have perfected this, not even Paul. Jesus has been the perfect one. Keep going. Keep focused on Jesus. Get to know Him more through the Word, through prayer, through the Holy Spirit and through showing love (the unselfish concern for others). We are His, let Him work through you today.

Father, I thank you that you are the God that sees me. You know my every thought and action. Yet, you sent your Son to die for me. Please help me in the areas that try to weigh down my mind. I know you have forgiven me for my past, please help me not to live there any more. You say we can come boldly before you in your grace and mercy. I know you do not identify me by past and I am not asking you to control the thoughts of others. Please help me to not see them as my enemy and not ones who bring condemnation. Let your love flow through me. I desire to be close to you and glorify you in all that I do. In Jesus Name, Amen.

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