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Trapped in the Past
… a new beginning!
Terry R. Baughman
“One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13–14).
The past is no place to live, yet we often find ourselves trapped, reliving the mistakes of yesterday and condemned by the failures of the past. The enemy of our souls would have us feel that we are unique in our shortcomings, that no one else has made as many mistakes, and that we alone are worthy of condemnation. He would have us wallow in self-pity and drown in a pit of hopeless despair.
The prison of the past is a real place and the confines are as tangible as a cellblock of steel. However, this prison is one of our own design and the door is locked from the inside. The key is found in our own mind and release is readily available.
Freedom from sin comes only through a knowledge of God and redemption is made possible through the blood of Jesus Christ. None are unique in their sin or alone in failures. The truth is we are all guilty of transgression. No one is above mistakes and we have all known sin. Paul made it clear that, “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). Quoting from Psalm 14 Paul concluded, “There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10).
Jesus came that we might be free. The contrast could not be more evident, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.” But, Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). Through repentance and remission of sins we have the promise of the Spirit to lead us in a full life of freedom. (See Acts 2:38.) Jesus said, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” And He said, “If the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 8:32, 36).
Yet even after the atonement that Christ made possible for us and all that He has promised us through redemption, we can still be bound and find ourselves trapped in the prison of the past, condemned by the memories of our making. Paul surely referenced this tendency when he said, “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead” (Philippians 3:13).
The key is to forget. Put the past in its place … in the past! Remove it from your present position and release the certain knowledge that you are free in Jesus Christ. Jesus does not keep you imprisoned and it is not His will for you to endure condemnation. The truth is, “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit” (Romans 8:1).
Forget the past. Look forward in the power of the Spirit. It is time to start … a new beginning!
“We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Romans 6:4 NIV).