The Past – Part 3: It’s All in Your Mind

When I think about how completely God demolishes the devil’s work in our past, I am often reminded of the winter home of my dear friend, Carla.  It wasn’t fancy but everyone enjoyed it.

When you came in through the back door, the mud room would welcome your heavy coats, boots and sweaters. There was a cozy living room with a glorious stone fireplace housing a crackling fire.  It was on top of the most beautiful mountain with a spectacular view of the slopes.

One day Carla decided to sell her beautiful winter chalet, much to everyone’s dismay.  A few months later she called stating the man who purchased “Hilltop Haven” had the nerve to bulldozed it.  What was he thinking? I couldn’t believe it!  The entire house was gone!

That’s the same thing that happened to our sinful, old past.  The blood of Jesus demolished it even more completely than that bulldozer!  In the mind of God, it is gone.

Every old, ungodly thing in your life – including the bad things other people did to you, the sorrows and pains the devil inflicted on you – has passed away.  Those things don’t exist anywhere on this planet – except in your mind.  The only power or reality they have is what you give them.

Why Do We Let the Past Dictate Our Future?

According to 2 Corinthians 10:3-6, we can’t live in victory by just waiting for supernatural forgetfulness to overtake us.  We can’t just sit around hoping that someday God will reach down and wash away our memory of the past.  We must get aggressive about it.  That’s what Paul did.  He declared war on every thought that tried to drag him back to his old life.  He took revenge on every memory, mental image, concept or imagination that contradicted what the Word of God said about him as a reborn, righteous, new creation in Christ.

If we want to enjoy the kind of victory Paul did, we have to do the same thing.  Otherwise, our mind will keep dragging us back into old cycles of sin and defeat because, unlike our spirit, our mind was not made new when we were born again.  It stayed the same.  If we don’t renew it with the Word, it will continually feed us with thoughts and fears from the past.  And since our lives are shaped by what we think (which become what we say; which dictates what we decide and what we do), those thoughts and fears from the past will end up dictating our future.

If we don’t use the power of the Word to supernaturally forget those things which are behind – despite all the promises God has made to us as believers, despite the fact that our lives are truly hidden with Christ in God – we will be doomed to repeat the mistakes and failures of the past again and again and again.

When I say you must supernaturally forget the past, I’m not talking about just keeping it off your mind for a couple of days.  I mean you must forget it the way God forgets something.  Put it as far from you as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12).  Root it out of your memory by the blood of the Lamb and cleanse you consciousness of it permanently by faith.

You must begin to believe that what the Bible says about your past is true.  Every negative part of it is gone!  Everything the devil did to you and through you has been wiped out forever!  “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ…” (2 Corinthians 5:17-18).

NEXT TIME – The Past – Part 3:  It’s All in Your Mind

The Past – It’s Just That

“I wish I were better at forgetting things!”

Have you ever heard anyone make that statement?  It’s our ability to remember, not our ability to forget, that we usually want to develop.  Yet, according to the Bible, forgetting can change our lives.

It can change our environment. It can help take us from failure to success, sickness to health, and poverty to abundance.

In fact, as born-again children of God, we can’t fully enjoy the victory that belongs to us in Jesus until we learn how to supernaturally forget.

If you don’t believe it, look at the life of the Apostle Paul.  He was one of the most powerful believers this earth has ever seen.  He faced more challenges, persecutions and hardships than most of us can even imagine.  Yet he boldly declared, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.  Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ…. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Romans 8:37; 2 Corinthians 2:14; Philippians 4:13, NKJV).

Sometimes we’re tempted to think Paul was able to live in such triumph because he was some kind of super saint.  We don’t even aspire to walk in his footsteps because we figure we’re just ordinary believers and he was something special.  But Paul told us clearly that wasn’t the case.  He said, “I am less than the least of all saints …” (Ephesians 3:8).

What, then, was the key to Paul’s amazing spiritual success?  How did he live such a victorious life?

He answered those questions in his letter to the Philippians when he wrote these powerful words: “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

To get the full impact of those verses, remove the bolded words (which weren’t in the original manuscripts but were added later by the translators) and read them again:  “I count not myself to have apprehended but one thing – forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press …”

Can you see what Paul was saying there?  He was telling us that there was one thing in life on which he knew he had a good grip.  One thing he’d apprehended and developed the ability to do.  He had learned to supernaturally forget his past and press forward into his God-ordained future.  He had discovered the secret of leaving old things behind and moving ahead.

For Paul, that was a particularly remarkable accomplishment because his past was packed with atrocities that, naturally speaking, would be impossible to forget.  Paul had spent years just before he was saved persecuting Christians. He had caught them in church and ordered them thrown into dungeons where many eventually died.  He had actually supervised the murder of Stephen, holding the coats of those who hurled stones at him.  Paul had watched approvingly as the heavy, jagged rocks crushed the body of one of the most beloved leaders of the early Church.  He had personally heard Stephen cry out with his dying breath, “Lord, lay not this sin to their charge!”

Can you imagine how those memories must have tried to haunt Paul after he was saved?  Can you imagine how frenzied the devil must have worked to remind Paul of what he had done – to make him feel unworthy to be a minister of the gospel?

Yet somehow Paul defeated those memories.  Somehow he found a way to supernaturally forget his past.  Clearly, if he could do it, you and I can too.  We just need to know how.

To find out, all we have to do is return once again to his writings.  In 2 Corinthians10, he explained the process:  “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds;) Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; and having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience…” (verses 3-6).

NEXT:    The Past – Part 2:  Why Do We Let the Past Dictate Our Future?

Pray the Promises – PART 4: Agree With God’s Word

God has given us His Word to teach us about Himself, to teach us how He thinks and what His will is, so we can learn to agree with Him.  We will have success in whatever areas we learn to agree with God, both in our words and our actions.  He told Joshua, “This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth; but you shall meditate therein day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written therein:  for then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall have good success” (Joshua 1:8).

Once you find the will of God in a situation, you then know how to pray.  Romans 10:8 says, “But what does it says? THE WORD IS NEAR YOU, IN YOUR MOUTH AND IN YOUR HEART – that is, the word of faith which we are preaching.”  If you need a mountain moved out of your life, it requires believing God with your heart and speaking it out of your mouth.  The spirit of faith says what the Word says (2 Corinthians 4:13).

Faith makes a choice.  Then it stands on that decision, based on the Word, until the manifestation comes.  But when you say, “If it’s Your will,” you have made no choice.

Choose to believe God’s Word and speak the end result you desire – the promise of God for your life.  When you find out God’s will and get in agreement with it, you can pray in faith.  Faith will reach out and grab hold of the anointing of God to change whatever needs to be changed in your life.

Pray the Promises — PART 3: Base Your Faith on the Word

If you try to receive from God without planting the seed of the Word (Luke 8:11), it’s difficult.  You’re like the farmer who sits on the porch and says, “I believe in crops, but I’m not going to plant any see this year.  I’ll just believe, and if it’s God’s will, my crop will come up.”  That farmer will never see his crop.

Faith is a seed.  If you don’t plant it, it will never grow.  And praying, “If it be Your will” won’t produce a harvest in areas where the Word of God tells you what is His will.

“If it be Your will” is a prayer of dedication.  It is for situations in which you don’t know God’s will.  When something is not written in the Word, then you can pray a prayer like, “Lord, if it’s Your will, I’ll go to China.  But it is not a prayer that will change things.

Faith is what changes things in the physical realm.  Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  It takes faith to get substance.

According to Romans 10:17 “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Faith comes from believing the promise of God.

If you don’t know what God said about something, you don’t have any basis for faith.  It’s your responsibility to go to the Word and find out what He said.  Proverbs 4:20-22 says, “My son, attend to my words; incline your ear to my sayings.  Let them not depart from your eyes; keep them in the midst of your heart.  For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.”  Standing on the Word makes God’s power available to you.

NEXT TIME: Pray the Promises – PART 4:  Agree With God’s Word