Links Daily Devotional

Forgetting the Past

No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead. (Philippians 3:13, NLT)

Over the years of playing competitive golf, one of the hardest things for me has been the mental discipline of forgetting the bad shots I just hit. I cannot tell you how many times I have sent a drive left off the tee on one hole, and then shoved the ball way right off the next tee, or vice versa.

A key to my becoming a better player over the last couple years was learning how to forget the past on the golf course. I had to figure out how to put the last shot behind me and only focus on my routine and positive swing thoughts, rather than trying to correct the previous shot. In many areas of life it is important to learn from our past, but in golf there is a tremendous benefit to forgetting it.

In addition to golf, there is a tremendous benefit to forgetting the past in our spiritual lives. The apostle Paul wrote about this in his letter to the Philippians, where he talked about his goal of reaching perfection through Christ Jesus. Even though he had not yet attained it, he knew that he must focus on forgetting the past and looking ahead in order to accomplish his goal: receiving the heavenly prize for which he was called (Philippians 3:14).

I believe Satan wants us to stay in the past. The enemy does not want to see us grow in our sanctified walk, becoming more like Christ. If he can keep the mistakes of our past in front of us, then he gains small victories through the spirit of fear or timidity he instills in us. This is exactly the opposite of what God wants for us (2 Timothy 1:7).

To turn toward God’s goals for us, we can apply the same mental discipline that all great golfers exercise on the course. This is the same discipline that Paul understood and communicated to encourage the Philippians in their walk with Christ—that in order to reach our goals, we must focus on the positive things of which we are capable. Therefore, we do not dwell on the things of this world that have tripped us up and caused us to fall short of our spiritual goals. Rather, we must claim victory over those things through the redemption and grace we are given through our Savior and “look forward to what lies ahead:” the completion of our righteousness!

Josh Nelson

September 19, 2011

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