Forget It • Devotion #2: Forget the Past
Gareth Volz | 55+ Ministry Director
What do you think of when you hear the term, “Skeletons in the Closet?” For me, that term speaks of things in my past that are hidden away, things I am not proud of, and things that remind me of scary and ugly times in the past. It is those things that still trouble me, and I do not want others to know about them.
In John chapter 4, we read of a divine encounter a woman of Samaria had with Jesus. While Jews routinely went around Samaria to get to and from Jerusalem because Samaritans were half-breeds and considered unclean, John tells us Jesus had to go through Samaria. He waited by the city well for her to come and draw water. She did not come first thing in the morning with the rest of the women because she had a bad reputation, and she was ashamed of her past. However, Jesus knew all about her life and still wanted to meet with her and reveal to her who He was, and what He could do for her to overcome her past life. After meeting with Jesus her life was changed, and she could not wait to share with others that He was the promised Messiah and tell what He had done for her.
God used a woman who was married and divorced five times, and she was now living with a man. This showed me that in spite of my past and some of the ugly, sinful things I have done, God still loves me and can use me if I surrender my life to Him. Even though I have been a Christian for over six decades, I still struggle at times to do what I know is right. I am encouraged by what Paul wrote in Philippians 3:12-14, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Paul forgot his ugly, sinful past, and surrendered his life to Christ and committed himself to do what God wanted him to do. He forgot his past and strained to do what God had for him in the future so that he could realize the “prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” If he had not done this, he would not have been able to do the work Christ had for him.
Paul is not the only one. Consider the failure of Peter and the other disciples who abandoned Jesus in the garden when the crowd came to arrest Him and demand His death. They had to forget this failure in order to do what Jesus commanded them to do after His resurrection – to take the Gospel everywhere (Matthew 28:16-20).
In the Old Testament we read over and over again how those who loved God, fell into temptation and sinned, and when they repented were used greatly by God to fulfill His purposes – Abraham, Moses, Samson, David, and Jonah.
I am reminded of the chorus I learned as a child:
You ask me why I’m happy, well I’ll just tell you why,
It’s because my sins are gone.
And when I meet the scoffers who ask me where they are,
I say my sins are gone.
They’re underneath the blood on the cross of Calvary,
As far removed as darkness is from dawn.
In the sea of God’s forgetfulness that’s good enough for me,
Praise God-my sins are gone!
Like the Apostle Paul, forget the skeletons in your closet and strain forward for what God has for you to do. When Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future. We have victory in Jesus, our Savior forever.