Leaving the Past in the Past

Read: Philippians 3:7-16

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. (v. 13)

In a little more than a month, we will celebrate the start of 2022. As the New Year dawns, millions of people will resolve to make a life change.

A quick online search reveals the top annual resolutions almost always center on losing something—unhealthy habits, excess weight, or poor spending practices. The hard part is that losing the bad in order to gain the good brings with it the task of re-prioritizing. An inability to do that difficult work often results in broken resolutions.

What if we didn’t need to make a whole bunch of changes for the year ahead to be brighter? What if we could set aside the weight of poor decisions, past hurts (even self-inflicted), and dashed hopes? The beautiful thing is we can, with God’s help.

The apostle Paul, formerly called Saul, is a clear example of a life completely changed for the gospel. If Paul had chosen to sit in regret or wallow in guilt over his past deeds, he never would have impacted the world the way God intended. Nor would we continue to draw encouragement from his conversion story today.

What do you need to hand over to God now to experience more joy, more fulfillment, and more zest for life? God can handle any of your baggage. Release it to him, and join Paul in pressing forward, not looking back. —Joy Petroelje

As you pray, ask God to help you release what’s holding you back, today.

About the Author

Joy Petroelje is the director of a nonprofit human services organization. She and her husband Steve have three sons and live near Grand Rapids, Michigan. In addition to family time and her work in nonprofit administration, Joy enjoys reading, writing, and running.

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