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Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

Sometimes I'm haunted by my past blunders, the times my feet slipped, and the times I missed the mark. As I talk to other Christians, I find that some share the same grief. The apostle Paul encourages us to leave the past behind and move forward to the things ahead.

The apostle Paul spoke from experience when he said to leave the past behind, for he had to bear the memory of threatening and imprisoning innocent Christians. Rather than be a prisoner of his past, he accepted God's forgiveness and moved forward to reach his potential in Christ. The former persecutor of Christ took the message of salvation to the Gentiles, authored 13 Epistles in the New Testament, and was a preacher, teacher, church founder, and missionary who shaped the history of Christianity.

Some ask, "How is it possible to forget the past when I'm reaping the consequences of my sins?" Paul's exhortation to forget the past does not mean all memory of the past is erased. Paul never forgot his former life and called himself the chief of sinners (1Timothy 1:15), but it did not stop him from moving ahead. He encouraged Christians to press on in their faith and to be all they could be for Jesus. Through forgiveness in Christ, we can look ahead and not be held back by wrong choices, sins, or failures. Faith moves forward and paves the way to blessings and new beginnings. The sins and blunders of the past do not have the final word--grace and forgiveness do.

Father, thank You for forgiving us and for new beginnings in Christ. Give us Your strength to press on, to reach our potential in Jesus, and to bring glory to Him. In Jesus' name. Amen.

SUSAN FERGUSON

Susan Ferguson is a freelance writer who lives in Madison, Mississippi with her husband. She is an accountant by profession and works during the day and writes at night. She is a member of Faithwriters and participates in their daily devotional. She likes to read, travel, and cook for family and friends.