Understanding that you are not what you did in the past.
|How do we break away from the past?
I had to look at the definition of break to better understand the question. Break is to separate. Things that separate don’t do so without something causing it too. It doesn’t happen automatically. For example, if I accidentally hit the glass cup and knock it over, it breaks. My force/push caused it to move and it breaks. There is something that causes something that was once whole to separate.
What would cause us to separate from our past?
“Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize the upward call of in Christ Jesus. “
This verse will help us understand that we move from our past but not remove it.
Paul starts by warning the Philippians to stay away from false teachers.True circumcision (cleansed of sin by God) is by faith in Jesus Christ.
Paul’s testimony- If it were based on works, then I was the perfect example of following the law. Doing what the law required but it’s about outward circumcision but inward change. He had a good standing before because of his works. He had works but not God.
Now that I know, Christ, I gained a personal relationship and a better understanding of God.
As a result of this personal experience, Paul wants to know God more.
• That I may Know Him
• The power of His resurrection
• The fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death in order that I may attain to the resurrections from the dead.
• Matthew Henry describes what Paul is wanting, "He was as desirous to know the power of Christ’s death and resurrection killing sin in him, and raising him up to newness of life, as he was to receive the benefit of Christ’s death and resurrection in his justification. 4. That he might be conformable unto him, and this also is meant of his sanctification. We are then made conformable to his death when we die to sin, as Christ died for sin, when we are crucified with Christ, the flesh and affections of it mortified, and the world is crucified to us, and we to the world, by virtue of the cross of Christ. This is our conformity to his death."
III. When some desires to move from there past? Two things come to mind
• The wish that we hadn’t done certain things in our past(regret)
• The desire to want to be different because we know God.-sanctification
Our past regrets lead us to repentance(change), causing us to want to be different.
This what happened to Paul in the verses. He gives his testimony to indicate that when He came to know Christ that caused him to change.
Based on the verse what is Paul’s goal?
To be Christ-like
He examines his life and understands that there are things in which he is not yet mature but his goal is to mature into Christlikeness.
In him explaining his previous understanding of God, he shows the Philippians and us that change has happened as a result of knowing God more. However, he is not satisfied with everything because more change is needed. He wants to be more and more like Christ. He is saying Christians should reach that level of maturity or desire it.
I am not there yet but I look to the goal and continue to work toward it.
How does he continue toward the goal?
By not focusing on the past, not dwelling on what he has done. To dwell is to live in a certain place not physically but in mind, in thought, in emotion. Paul is saying I don’t focus on what I was. I focus on the new creation that I am because of Christ.
Paul could live in the regret because of his past. Living in regret isn’t beneficial.
What does regret do to a person?
In the article Are You Burden By Your Regrets, the author defines regret as" carrying shame or sorrow regarding past actions or decisions."
Because God called me in Christ, He wants me to have this new life. This include not dwelling in the past of our actions and decisions. Instead, let us focus on who Christ says we are not on who we think we are.
It is normal to remember the past. I have made mistakes. I will learn from them to be better because I desire to know Him more and that others may see Christ in me.
When you dwell on the past you begin to believe that you are that person from back then.
When those memories come to mind, remind yourself that you are forgiven by God and you are not that person.
Don’t live in regret and don't live in the past. Regret is good because it is a reminder that you desire to do better. What is not okay is to live in it. What is done is done. But move past it.
1. Remember that God has forgiven you.
Your past is your testimony and tells of where you came from because of Christ.
Don’t let your failures define you and or those thoughts of being a screw up to define who you are. A book that helped me understand how God saw me is Victory of Darkness by Neil T. Anderson. The book tells us who we are even when we don’t feel that we that person.
2. Work /Continue a pattern that will lead you to your goal.
Start with short term goals to help motivate you.
For example, what is a goal in the Christian life you would like to achieve? Please don’t say Maturity because that takes several steps. Work on one thing at a time. Galatians 5:22-23 states, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” When achieving a goal, take small steps. For example work on one of the fruits of the Spirit at a time. Once you have developed one characteristic, move on to the next one. Having mastered one is a motivator to develop the others.
Do the opposite of things you dislike about your past or your current state.
The past serves a purpose but it not to dwell on it. Instead, look toward the goal of becoming mature.
I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. Romans 7:15
I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection! But I keep working toward that day when I finally be all that Christ Jesus save me from and wants me to be. Philippians 3:12
Let Paul's words help you as you become more Christlike.