It is my privilege to do a great deal of travel.  Through the years I have learned it is best to travel light.  Luggage slows you down and weighs you down.  Especially on airplanes!  The journey is much more enjoyable with as little baggage as possible.  This principle is true in all of life.Image

The Apostle Paul wrote, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: 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” (Phil. 3:13-14).  Perhaps you think the man who wrote these words had no terrible thing to haunt his memory, no past recollection to discourage him.  Not true.  Paul had a past.  We all have a past.

The great problem with people is not that they have no future, but they have a past – a past they have not gotten over.  You cannot “reach” if you cannot “forget.”  You cannot appreciate what is “before” you if you are consumed with what is “behind” you.  You cannot do the “one thing” God wants you to do if you are weighted down with “those things” in your past.

When Paul looked at his past he saw: failures (Acts 9:1-2), injustices (Acts 16), disagreements (Acts 15:36-41), difficult days (Acts 21-28), criticism (1 Cor. 9:1-6), and disappointing relationships (2 Tim. 4:10,14).  Perhaps even as debilitating he saw his own successes (Phil. 3:4-6) in those things which did not matter to God.

He chose to get over it.  To move on.  To forget.  Those things which are in the past will no doubt be faced again in the future.  We can choose to wallow in it, to grumble and complain. Or we can move on.

God, in His grace, has made a way to get past your past.  Remember, it is the accuser, Satan, who brings up the past.  God is more concerned with our future.  And we should be too.  My pastor is fond of saying that our God is “a God of new beginnings.”

Today is a good day to get forgiveness and a new start.  It is also a good day to give forgiveness.  Most people are stuck at the last thing they refused to get over.  It is time to move on.

If you keep picking up luggage from life eventually you will not be able to carry it all.  Many a traveler is stuck carrying burdens they were never meant to carry.  Lay it down and move forward with confidence that God can handle it all much better than you can.

As we approach the end of a year it is important to take time for reflection and prayer.  Christians should use times like these to examine themselves.  I have been prayerfully making a list this week of areas of my life, family, and ministry that I want God to help me to move forward in this year.  May God help us all to lay aside every thing that would hinder us from advancing with the Lord!