July 30th

Forget the Past and Press Forward 

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV

As soon as they had brought them out, one of them said, "Flee for your lives! Don't look back, and don't stop anywhere in the plain! Flee to the mountains or you will be swept away!" But Lot's wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt. Genesis 19:17,26 NIV

But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. Brothers, 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus  Philippians 3:7,13-14 NIV 

In our journey out of sex addiction, we’ll undoubtedly face the challenge of letting go of the past.  The past can contain many delicacies of our former lives that can be major obstacles for the renewing of our minds in Jesus.  When we allow our minds to wander back to our cherished sex memories or our favorite porn pictures, we’re sabotaging the progress we’ve made in becoming a new person in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).   

The fate of Lot’s wife is a good illustration of what can happen to us spiritually when we dwell on our sinful past.  Dwelling on the old sin hardens our spiritual heart and revives the “old self” that we are trying to put off in order to live as a new person (Ephesians 4:22-24).  When sin hardens us, we are less able to move forward with God because our heart resists God.  We can become stalled like a statue, or a pillar of salt! 

Paul practiced forgetting the religious junk in his past and straining toward his future in Christ.  He had excelled in living the letter of the Law as a Pharisee.  He was well educated, had Roman citizenship and a preferred pedigree among the Jews.  Though at one time Paul counted all of those things gain, God showed him how all those things were rubbish compared to the surpassing value of knowing Christ (Philippians 3:8). He pressed on and did not look back.  He pressed on toward the goal for the prize of the “upward call of Christ.”  He fixed his mind on good things: 

8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8 KJV

Likewise, when we decide to let go of the past, we must practice setting our minds on our future in Christ and on pure things.  This can be difficult at first, as we may be accustomed to allowing our minds to wander in fantasies about our “glory days.” But, as we take the sinful thoughts/memories captive and make them obedient to Christ, it will become easier to keep our thoughts trained on Jesus.  We do this in partnership with the Holy Spirit, who will guide us in truth and convict us of any sin that needs to go.  

Questions for further thought:

Prayer:

“Lord Jesus, Thank you for the plan that you have for my life. Thank you that you care for me and have made me for a special purpose for your glory.  Concerning my past, Lord, I ask for healing of any unhealthy attitudes I have toward the things I’ve done or that were done to me.  I confess any sin (or the memory of it) that I have been cherishing (take a moment to specify the sin).  Please forgive me and cleanse my conscience from that sin.  I release the past right now to you, Lord.  Please renew in me a healthy grasp of my memories and help me to shift my focus to Jesus and my thoughts to pure things.  Thank you, Lord!  I praise you!  In your holy name I pray, Amen.”