Exit Your Past; Pursuing God’s PlanDr. Jipson Lawrance 11-Mar-2019
Exit Your Past; Pursuing God’s Plan
If you want to fulfill God’s purpose for your life, you must first understand that you have a divine destiny. You will never fulfill what you don’t know you have, and you must learn to leave the past behind.
Our generation enjoys technological, scientific, and physical conveniences such as the world has never before known. But no other generation has had as many cares of life as we do or faced the perplexing problems that we face today. Despite all of our advances, mankind, as a whole, stands in dire need.
Although the devil tries to fill our lives with pain and sorrow, we can alter his plans through faith in God. We hold the key to our own destiny, because God has already made a way of escape. Through the blood redemption of Jesus Christ, we can enjoy all that God has for us.
You and I have two choices: We can either succumb to complacency, or we can fulfill our divine destiny! You may have been unconsciously choosing the first one, but you can decide to follow after God’s plan for your life.
Once you realize that you have a divine destiny and make a decision to pursue God’s plan for your life, you need to take care of some things before you begin the task of fulfilling your destiny.
The first thing you need to do is to leave the past behind. You will never be able to move forward in life until you let go of the past.
Paul says in Philippians 3:13–14: ”Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended [or obtained, or excelled]: but this one thing I do, 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.”
I want you to see something in this passage. The Apostle Paul said, “I count not myself to have excelled.” He then went on to say that he forgot those things which were behind him. That’s an interesting statement for this great man of God to make, because not only did Paul have to forget success, he also had to forget failure!
As Paul penned those words, I’m sure his mind went back to the day he held the coats of men and encouraged them as they stoned, Stephen, one of God’s chosen servants (Acts 7:58–8:3).
In addition to forgetting his mistakes, Paul also had to forget his successes. In Athens, he met with learned Greek philosophers and proclaimed the “philosophy” of the Gospel. Many believed and were saved. Their salvation was a great success for Paul. Here was a man from Tarsus, an outpost of the Roman empire, standing on Mars Hill with the greatest philosophers in Greece—and he matches them word for word and argument for argument through the power of God (Acts 17:16–33). That was a great success. But Paul had to forget it in order to move forward in his divine destiny.
Paul also had to forget that he started one of the largest churches in history—the Church at Ephesus. If you will study the Bible, you will find that this church had between 20,000 and 40,000 members! That’s a pretty good-sized church!
Yet Paul said, “I count not myself to have accomplished anything, but this one thing I do—forgetting those things which are behind, I press toward the mark.” Paul forgot success. He forgot failure. He forgot everything that happened to him in the past, because it was history.
Too many of us want to live in the past, but it’s time to move on to the greater things God has for us in the future. Doing that will take commitment.
Too many people do not realize what commitment means. Paul showed his commitment when he wrote, ”Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and REACHING FORTH . . .” (Phil. 3:13). Reaching forth involves effort, and that is spelled w-o-r-k.
Are you still interested in following God’s plan for your life and fulfilling your divine destiny? If so, it means you have some work to do. You have to reach forth, strain, and strive to obtain ”the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (v. 14).
Paul said, ”I press toward the mark.” Well, when you’re “pressing” to get something, you’re putting forth a lot of energy and effort.
You’re going to discover very quickly whether you want to exert the effort it takes to be this kind of Christian because the devil is going to fight you. You’re going to have to choose between running back to your comfort zone or pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. But when you make the decision to go with God and you plant His Word in your heart, there isn’t any place for you to go but over the top!
Make the commitment today to forget both the failures and successes of your past. Decide today to leave the past behind and start pressing toward your divine destiny!