Embarking upon a new year means having the opportunity to start the year with a clean slate. Regardless of what last year brought—whether it was a good year or a challenging one—it is now history, and history cannot be changed.
It doesn't profit us to live in memories of the past. We cannot move forward by looking back, which is why so many Christians live below what God intended. They constantly allow the devil to remind them of past mistakes.
The Apostle Paul knew from experience the importance of "forgetting those things which are behind" (Phil. 3:13). He had a lot to forget. I'm sure the enemy regularly reminded him of how he had persecuted the Christians before his conversion. Those thoughts could have tormented him, but Paul chose to leave the past behind and "press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:14).
If you have asked the Heavenly Father to forgive you of wrongdoings, those were removed from your account, and you can "press toward the mark" too. According to First John 1:7, and 9, the blood of Jesus has cleansed you from all unrighteousness. So don't allow the enemy to keep you in condemnation regarding your past. When thoughts of condemnation come knocking at your door, remember Philippians 3:13, "Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching for unto those things which are before." Keep pressing forward!
It is important to forgive ourselves. Some people never progress in life or fulfill God's plan because they choose to dwell on past mistakes.
I don't want you to be one of them. I encourage you to let go of the past. Let go of any bitter feelings toward those who have offended you. Let go any hurts you may be experiencing because of past abuse in your life. Forgive the parents who may have abandoned you as a child. The Lord cannot forgive them for you. You must willingly choose to forgive and to let go of grudges and bitterness. It is the only way to experience healing from your past.
When you begin a new year—a new day, a new month, a new season of life—with a clean slate, as one who has forgiven, you can experience a peace and joy that you have not known before. You can expect the wall of hurt and disappointment that may have been built around you to crumble. And you can look for contentment, unlike anything you've experienced before, to encompass you. Life will have new meaning as you begin to enjoy the abundant blessings that God has for you!
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This article was adapted from Lynette Hagin's Seed Thoughts Devotional. Visit rhema.org/store to purchase it and all Faith Library Publication products at discounted prices. Offer ends January 31, 2020.
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