“One thing I do; FORGETTING what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I PRESS ON toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”- Phil 3:12-14


An elderly lady once told me, “There is no future in living in the past.” She was right when it comes to looking back and wallowing and beating yourself up over past sins. We read in Scripture – “FORGET THE PAST, DON’T DWELL ON IT ANYMORE.”- Isaiah 43:18- He has wiped away your sin, for His sake. He has erased it completely.


Paul wrote about “pressing on” to Know Christ in Philippians 3:12-14; But before you can “press on…pursue…” you need to read the first part of the verse which says, “FORGETTING what lies behind…” The word “Forgetting” does not mean- you never remember or you can somehow “will” yourself into forgetting. What happens the more you try and “forget’ something? The more you think on what you are trying to “forget” the more you think about it! “I MUST forget…, I MUST not think about it….” And you end up thinking and thinking and thinking about it. It‘s like when a song gets stuck on the same word and plays over and over and over! It is self defeating!

So what exactly hinders us from “pressing on… pursuing … Him?” For some people it is their past failures, past sins, past shame. The playing over and over and over of an event, or events from the past that now as Christians we are ashamed of and indeed if we could do it over, we would choose a different action! I remember a young believer who would go into a cow pasture to be alone with God and pray for people and for their souls. This would be fine, but then a few days later, something from his past would come to his mind and he would stop praying and start contemplating, meditating, dwelling on past failures and sins…and do you know what happened? He became so introspective and disheartened, he would stop praying for others, for days! It would take days for him to get out of the spiral! What happened? The evil one had shot some “fiery darts” of “condemnation” at  his mind and he began to accept them and dwell on them,and he was “hooked!” – And he stopped doing what he knew God would have for him, namely interceding for lost souls- {Read 1 Tim 2:1.}


Near where I grew up in Ireland is the beautiful river Shannon and several gorgeous lakes which when I was younger men in small boats would go up to the lakes at the weekends competing in fishing competitions. Imagine if you were in the boat of the man who was catching the most fish and you suggested to him to change the “bait…fishing lure” he was using. He would look at you in disbelief, why would he change when what he was using was working- the evidence been the number of fish that was in his boat! One of the lures…baits, the evil one uses is “the bait of past failures and sins…” he flashes the thoughts back before our mind’s and now that our consciences are changing as we are renewing them with the Word of truth,{Read Rom 12:2}… and our desires are for the Lord Jesus- he flashes the thoughts before our minds throwing up the past before us, to dishearten us and that we may quit being about God’s Business- {Read Neh 6:9;} and we by choosing to meditate upon it and embrace these thoughts we have just been caught-“hooked!” and stop witnessing, praying, reading His Word as we flounder around in “condemnation!” Does this sound familiar? Or am I the only one who has been there and got a boat load of t-shirts to testify to it!

 “FORGETTING WHAT LIES BEHIND;”- What does it mean?

The word “Forgetting” Paul uses in Philippians 3 means “to willfully neglect.” It means “to cease to be affected by.” Do not allow yourself to be influenced by it. Let me give you an example. Imagine and for many of us this is not too much of a stretch for some of us men- Imagine with me in your home in the corner of a room there is a potted plant. It is there- that is a fact. You see it- that is a fact, but you do not expose it to sunlight, you do not give it water, you do not give it any nutrients to help with it’s growth, as a matter of fact- you choose to ignore it- You choose to “willfully neglect” it- you do not give it any of your time, attention. You do not dwell on the plant! So in the spiritual realm- the fact is we all have past’s, sinful pasts, failures. Things we are deeply ashamed of- not because of what others would think of us if they found out {though some of us may have that fear of man- which is sin!} but that we have sinned against God and this new heart we have – and tenderness to the Lord that is now part of who we are and we no longer take delight in sin! “Neglecting, no longer caring for,” past sin, failures, achievements, don’t care and feed your soul with them. For if you and I do, we cannot press on to know Him. We become “stuck,” by choice! For we have the power to choose to no longer allow the past failures, sin, attainments rule us,”By His Divine power He has given us everything pertaining life and Godliness… precious and magnificent promises,” to dwell on instead!-{2 Peter 1:3-4}.  You have Divine Power, Divine Promises and the DIVINE Teacher living within to teach you.You have the indwelling Holy Spirit to “…guide you into ALL TRUTH.”-{John 16:13 },

“Forgetting is in the present tense indicating that he was continually forgetting. This was his pattern. Not perfection but direction is the idea! Forgetting is also in the middle – voice which means that the “runner” initiates & participates in benefits thereof. Paul is saying in essence that to keep one’s focus “Don’t look back.”

How many times we’ve watched in dismay as a lead runner looks back over their shoulder only to get passed on the other side or to slow them just enough to allow the opponent to pass them by. Don’t look back dear saint. Make a break with the past. Nothing is happening back there is relevant. Yes it’s fine and biblical to make memorial stones of remembrance but avoid making the stumbling stones of past memories. To grow toward Christlikeness, face up to your failures, then focus on Christ for the future.”-{preceptaustin.commentaries.} 

Expositor’s Bible Commentary notes that…”Forgetting did not mean obliterating the memory of the past (Paul has just recalled some of  these things in Php 3:5, 6, 7), but a conscious refusal to let them absorb his attention and impede his progress. He never allowed his Jewish  heritage (Php 3:5, 6, 7) nor his previous Christian attainments (Php 3:9, 10, 11, 12) to obstruct his running of the race. No present attainment could lull him into thinking he already possessed all Christ desired for him. (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor’s Bible Commentary 6-Volume New Testament. Zondervan Publishing)”



1. God has taken care of your past so you need not be taken up with it- But taken up with HIM!

2. Take the past into the Light of God’s Word and sees what He says about your and my past!

* “As far as the east is from the west so far I have removed your sins.”

* “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins.”-{Isaiah 43:25}

* “Your sins and iniquities I will remember no more {will not hold against you.}-{Heb 8:12}

*  “…For You have cast all my sins behind Your back.”-{ Isaiah 38;17}

*   ” If we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” – {1 John 1:7}

  3. Train your mind to think Scripturally;

“Whatsoever things are TRUE, LOVELY, PRAISEWORTHY… LET YOU MIND DWELL ON THESE THINGS.” -{Phil 4:8.}. The word “dwell” is a command and to be  continuous, a new life style, way of thinking, evaluating, considering. The first thing to think on is TRUTH! When the thought comes take it into the light of the Scripture. Is it TRUE of God, His Word or of who He declares you to be as His child, “In Christ?” What does the Bible say is true about “ALL” OF YOUR SIN? The above verses show you what is true. We are also to gauge the thought by asking, “Is it lovely and praiseworthy for you to dwell on? Your constantly occupied with past sins and failures and LEAVING THE LOVE OF GOD, THE WORK OF JESUS CHRIST and HIS PROVISION Out of the equation? That does not bring praise to Him, does it!

 4. Live in the now – WITH A PRESENT TENSE SAVIOR!

 5. Talk to yourself, Believe and say what God says is TRUE about you.

This is why it is IMPERATIVE you hide His Word in your mind. {Read Psalm 1:2; Matt 4:4;Phil 4:8-9; Col 3:16,}


Your past success’s or failures are no longer an issue, what is important is the “NOW.”  This moment and the master passion of Paul’s life was the pursuing after knowing Jesus Christ better and pursuing Him and the things of God.

Living in the past failures and sins HINDER you from living in the “now,” and there is absolutely no point or virtue in wallowing or being occupied with past failures or sins EXCEPT to say what God says about them-“FORGIVEN…NOW NO CONDEMNATION” {Rom 8:1}, and let it produce gratitude in your hearts to the FATHER for His salvation-{Colossians 1:12-13.}

The evil one will shoot “fiery darts” to seek to remind you of past sins and have you OCCUPIED with them, to such an extent you become SIN CONSCIOUS and not CHRIST CONSCIOUS nor KINGDOM CONSCIOUS nor GOSPEL CONSCIOUS NOR LOVING GOD WITH – ALL –OF YOUR MIND- {Col 3:1-3; Matt 6:33; Phil 1:12; MATT 26:37-39.}-


The enemy will remind you of past failures and sins seeking to dishearten and deject you and tempt you to quit being about God’s business

BUT he will never remind you of God’s Solution- His Son, His Blood, His death, His Resurrection and His Love for you and His design for you to “NOW”- Live Condemnation free!



Does God want me taken up with these or to “willfully neglect….to cease to be affected by,” the past and presently live in the NOW-no longer allowing the past to have influence over me or you! Looking away FROM ALL ELSE, to Jesus-{Heb 12:2-3.} “ALL” of Your sins have been borne by Jesus Christ on the cross.

How many sins has He forgiven- erased against you? Colossians 2:12-13 tells us –“ALL.”  Do you know what the word “ALL” means in the Greek?… “ALL.” Everyone of them- there is no EXCEPTION, PAST,PRESENT, FUTURE, He has taken care of “ALL ” of them. There is no  record in Heaven of sin against you. Listen to His Word- Jesus says “ to Him who {continually} loves us and HAS RELEASED {FREED} us FROM our Sins.” “there is therefore NOW no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”-{ Read Rev 1:5-6; Rom 8:1.}


IMAGINE WITH ME an Olympic sprinter as he or she takes their place on the line to run, everything they have done in the past is immaterial, all that matters is focusing on the “NOW.” “Forgetting what lies behind” because it is of no benefit to them. A top golfing friend once told me, that what does some golfers head in is- when they hit a bad shot and land in the sand.  They get caught up about thinking about it. How did they get there, how could they hit it there… etc. What to Do? Get the appropriate club and hit it out of there, and don’t give it another thought as when it comes to the next shot if you are thinking of the past failure it will hinder the present shot! There is no future in dwelling On your past failures! The issue is FAITH in GOD. HE says “ALL” your sins are forgiven… for His Names sake… there is NOW- {Present tense } NO condemnation for you because you are in Christ Jesus.

Here is a key word “NOW”- LIVE IN THE “NOW”- don’t live in the past… where the enemy will throw up past failures and sins. Live in the “NOW” and as long as it is “NOW” He says there is no condemnation for you- NONE. And Nothing can separate you from the Love of God in Christ! -{Read ROM 8:1,38-39}


 * KNOW THE BATTLE IS FOR YOUR MIND;Who and what will you allow your mind to dwell, continuously choose to think on? Why is the battle for your mind? Because the purpose of your mind is “to love The LORD your God with all of your… mind.”-{Luke 10;27}. So if your mind can be distracted, then you will not focus on loving Him with your thinking. Our thinking shapes our motivations and choices, that is why it is imperative to “let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly…”-{Col 3:16}.”Man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God.”-{Matt 4:4}; “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mindThen you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”-{Romans 12:2.} Theses verses and more show us how imperative we become people immersed in His Word so we can learn to love what God loves, and know what is honorable thoughts of Him and discerning our circumstances through the lens of truth so we may make decisions pleasing to Him. Also so we can detect the’ fiery darts ‘ of the evil one seeking to separate us from truth to cause havoc and despair in our lives, or to have us pre-occupied with the things the world system values and cherishes to detour us from being about His business, “No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer” –{2 Timothy 2:24}

* KNOW TRUTH IS YOUR WEAPON; What does God say- is the only issue! Not how you “feel” but the FACTS OF God’s declaration concerning your past! “And I will forgive their wickedness, and I will never again remember their sins.-{Heb 8:12 NLT}. It does not mean God has amnesia but that He chooses based on the perfect sacrifice of his Son to satisfy His Righteousness and on your behalf chooses to never hold them against you again as He held them once and forever against His Son! “For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.“-{2 Cor 5:21 NLT}. “If you continue in my WORD Then you are My disciples and you will KNOW the TRUTH and the TRUTH will set you FREE.”-{John 8:31-32}.

* THINK ON TRUTH – Phil 4:8 – “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthyDWELL {Continually THINK } about such things.” Note the Six “whatever’s” and let your mind constantly think on these things!  Renew your mind  so you see life through His Word and develop a mind that is loving God.– “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” -{Rom 12:2-3}. Note the word ‘your.’ We are each responsible to renew our mind . This we van as we have Divine Power to help us, and ‘precious and magnificent promises’ to assist and encourage us so.- {Read 2 Peter 1:3-4} . Read His Word, Take a verse and meditate on it , word for word, verse for verse and sentence for sentence.As you do, your re focusing your thoughts and mind on things above where Christ is seated.-{Col 3:1-3}. As you do so the HOLY SPIRIT can bring to your remembrance  specific truth that is appropriate in a specific time for you. Write out a verse place somewhere you can see it and read, perhaps on a bathroom mirror. For example if you read it each time you brushed your teeth for a month, think how often you would have read re-read and before you know it, you are memorizing without trying . In my own battles with chronic illness over the years, in particular one tough spell of over three years in bed, His bringing back to memory verses I long thought I had forgotten to help me think on them through excruciating pain in my body is what sustained me. As He says. “This is my comfort in my affliction, That Your Word has revived{preserved} me.“-{Psalm 119;50}. This is a precious verse to me in the nights I could not sleep from excruciating, debilitating pain.


Know– God has taken care of your past so you need not be taken up with it But with Him.

Look at it and say about it what God says, “FORGIVEN… NO CONDEMNATION… FORGETTING – WILLFULLY NEGLECT THE PAST… DON’T ALLOW IT TO INFLUENCE YOU…. AND PRESS ON- in the realization there is No record in Heaven of your sin held against you and revel in Jesus Christ who has “paid the price” to free you – and whom the SON SETS FREE IS FREE INDEED! You are FREE IN CHRIST- So Christ has truly set us free.

We have a PERFECT STANDING With God,

Now we need to grow in our UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT He has done and who we are “In Christ!”- God’s Forever pardoned people!

Now make sure that you walk in His freedom for you and don’t get tied up again in slavery…”For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters…, use your freedom to serve one another in love.”-{Read Galatians 5:1,6}


Does your dwelling on past sins put you under “Bondage?” Sure it does. What Honor does God receive from you “willfully refusing” to believe His Word? Why live condemned when you have been LIBERATED TO LOVE GOD and serve others through Love.-{Read Luke 10:27}

When the thoughts come to condemn you ask yourself this question, in light of the two greatest commandments to love God and love others- “How do these thoughts cause me to focus on loving God and Loving others more?”

The answer is they don’t, therefore recognize they are but the evil one “fishing with his lure…bait” to seek to distract you! Cut bait- Believe the Word- act on it and make Knowing Jesus Christ- pursuing Him and being about His business the master pursuit and passion of your life.

There is no future on living in the past- as that dear elderly lady once told me- and I now tell you! You can’t press on to pursue Christ if you are now choosing to live in the past! What’s holding you up? You are! Believe God- take Him at His Word- and act upon it! SAY TO YOURSELF WHAT GOD SAYS IS TRUE OF YOU! Don’t live by your “feelings” but by Revealed Truth in His Word!



Speak the truth to yourself-








The Illinois Medical Journal Article – Why We Must Learn to Forget the Past: There are two days in every week about which we should not worry—two days which should be  kept from fear and apprehension.

One of these days is , “Yesterday,” with its mistakes and cares, its aches and pains, its faults and blunders. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. All the money in the world cannot bring back  Yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed; we cannot erase a  single word we said. Yesterday is gone. The other day we should not worry about is “Tomorrow.” with its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise and poor performance. Tomorrow is beyond our immediate control. Tomorrow’s sun will rise either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds—but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in Tomorrow, for it is as yet unborn. That leaves only one day—Today. Any man, by the grace of God, can fight the battles of just one day. It is only when you and I add the burdens of those two awful eternities—Yesterday and Tomorrow—that we break down. It is not the experience of Today that drives men mad—it is remorse or bitterness for something which happened Yesterday and the dread of  what Tomorrow may bring. Let us, therefore, journey but one day at a  time. (John Lawrence, Life’s Choices, Multnomah Press, Portland, 1982, pp. 111-112).


For the follower of Christ we can choose by the Power of Christ to no longer allow the past to hold influence over us and we can willfully forget those things behind and press on to Know Jesus Christ and be about His Business!

Think about it, how well would you do if you got into your car and began to drive and looked in your rear view window as you tried to drive forward- you would head for a major crash and why? You – chose- to -continually – look – what was behind you!


 “This ONE thing I do….”- You cannot think on two things at one time- You will give yourself to one or the other…to attempt to do otherwise will cause you to be “double-minded” and as James wrote, “unstable in all of your ways.”

To live in the past and try and walk with the Lord in the present is impossible.

You have to choose where you will “live- in the past or in the now?” God has taken care of your past so you can live and pursue Him – Now!


“One thing I do; FORGETTING what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I PRESS ON toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”- Phil 3:12-14