Jeremiah 29: 11 “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you hope and a future.”
I’m sure you have a past. I have a past. Your neighbor has a past. Your spouse has a past. Your pastor has a past. We all have a past. In fact, everyone on this planet has a past.
For some, their past is wonderful and full of great achievements, great successes, and great times. These folks take great pride in what they’ve done. They can tell you about scoring the winning touchdown in a high school game 20 years ago. They will tell you about who they used to know, where they used to lead and what car they used to drive. Their past has defined who they are.
For others, their past is full of heartache and turmoil. Their past is littered with failure, pain, abuse, and horrible memories. Maybe there was molestation or rape. Quite possibly, their past included being rejected by parents, friends and others. They speak of the past as in “what could have been”. They view the past with regret and sorrow. Their past has defined them as well.
The problem with both of those individual or types of people is that God never intended for them to live in the past. You see the past is very limiting. The past is the past. To continue to live in the past is to limit the potential that God is placed in you. Unfortunately, too many people allow their past to define just who they are. It’s the reason that pro sports players sometimes have a difficult time making the transition to retirement. Because for so long they have been defined as a star player and now in retirement they are having difficulty being just a person with all the limelight and stardom that comes with it. It’s the reason that married people will continue to act as if they are single because they have not learned to deal with the change from the past. It’s the reason that new converts have a hard time staying saved.
The world itself is overly concerned with the past. We ask each other, “where did you grow up” or “what school did you go to”? Companies ask us for resumes to tell them what we have done in the past. We go to high school reunions to remind each other of stories from 10, 15 and 20 years ago. We listen to old songs and remind ourselves of what we were doing when we first heard that song. We do all of these things, yet none of them match up with what God has intended for us.
According to Jeremiah, God has some plans for us. He has some desires for our lives, some things that will bless us and prosper us. But here’s the key thing… His plans, his designs, and his will for us are not in our past. The things they God has for you are not wrapped up in what you did 20 years ago, 10 years ago, or even last year. God has some things that he wants to accomplish in you and through you. But you will never walk into to them if you are constantly looking backwards to the past.
Not only does God want to accomplish some things in and through you, but His plans are designed to give you hope. The word “hope” is defined as the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best or to look forward to with desire and reasonable confidence. God wants you to have something to look forward to because His plans are the best for us.
Simply put, if you are stuck in the past regretting past mistakes and reliving past successes you can not move forward. Even Paul, who was in a former life the chief accuser of believers had this to say,
Philippians 3: 13, 14 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Make today the day that you let go of your past and press on towards where God is leading you. The past happened…get over it. Let go of what happened and move into what God has planned and designed for you.