Before there were clocks, the Chinese used a unique method for telling time. They would burn a rope with 24 precisely tied knots. As the cord burned from one knot to the next, it indicated each hour of the day that passed. Every morning a new rope would be ignited, and the people would view the charred remains of the previous day's rope. The vivid imagery would remind them that time passed as ashes and could never be reclaimed.
When we are unable to let go of the past, we cannot focus on accomplishing things in the present and future.
Are you trying to reclaim yesterday's ashes? Are you stuck in the past? As much as we may want to relive moments from the past or wish for things to be the way they were, time passes and things change around us. When we are unable to let go of the past, we cannot focus on accomplishing things in the present and future.
The apostle Paul said, "But 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" (Philippians 3:13-14).
Paul knew the importance of pressing forward. He knew it was impossible to run the race of faith with the chain of the past wrapped around his ankle. He made a daily decision to forget the past and press on toward the future. But moving forward isn't always easy. It takes an intentional will of effort and spiritual discipline.
Paul is saying that we need to forget what lies behind by accepting the grace we can find in Christ Jesus alone and by staying focused on the future. Paul did not allow his past successes or failures to dictate his future work for Christ. Instead, he stayed focused on his future prize awaiting him in heaven.
Prayer: Father, help me not to live in my past. Help me to accept Your grace and focus on the future You have for me. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
"But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, where righteousness dwells" (2 Peter 3:13).
Learn more in Dr. Michael Youssef's sermon It's Contagious . . . Pass It On!, Part 6: LISTEN NOW