We as a people spend an inordinate time thinking about the past. Some even spend their days living in the past, desperate to recapture elements from their youth. For disciples of Jesus, I have a word of admonition: forget the past. Forget everything you’ve done. Instead, I want you to focus on what you will do both at this moment, and from this moment. It’s a lesson I am still learning but desperately want to master.
What we’ve done up until this moment matters little to our life going forward. Sure, we may have laid the groundwork for future work. There’s definite value in this. But with the knowledge every second may be our last, I submit focusing on what we will do from this moment forward is far more valuable than what we’ve done before.
Looking at the past can be both heartbreaking and comforting. We’ve all got a bit (or a lot) of each in our memories. Forget the past. What’s done is done. What has happened to you happened and cannot be changed. By the same token, what you’ve accomplished, no matter how grand, was done under different circumstances than those in which you find yourself now. What we have is this moment in our hands. We have the possibilities of moments to come. Your past does not define you. The only One with authority to define you is the One who created you. We should always be finding our identity in Jesus and in no one or nothing else.
If you’ve lived an exemplary life, on mission and glorifying to God, in the past, I’m not trying to minimize such a worthy accomplishment. Nothing is more important than furthering the mission of Christ and bringing glory to His name. What you must recognize about the past is no matter how close you’ve drawn to God, it does not guarantee your future devotion to Him. Satan is crafty, and none are immune to his deception and temptation. We must forget the past and focus on the moment at hand. Ask yourself, “What will I do with Jesus right now?”
Right now means more than today. Each day is full of moments and each one can be used to God’s glory or to glorify ourselves. The goal is not to make a name for ourselves. The goal is to glorify God alone. The goal is to glorify Him in this moment. Trust me, nothing else has a longer-term payoff if we do or longer-term consequence if we don’t.
Are you willing to forget the past? It means rededicating ourselves to the mission of God in every moment throughout our days. It means resubmitting to the Lordship of Jesus over and over and over again. Ultimately, focusing on the moment requires us to live in total abandonment to God. What we do doesn’t matter, only the One for whom we do it. Circumstances don’t matter because circumstances will change; God won’t. So forget the past. Forget the good, the bad, and the indifferent. We have this moment. It doesn’t care what you did or didn’t do. This moment only cares about what you will do with it right now.