[Forgetting the Past
and Moving into Your Purpose]
[Published by Spirit of Wisdom Publications
Copyright 2017 Alan Drake
Forgetting the Past and Moving into Your Purpose
Copyright 2017 Alan Drake
Original and modified cover art by CoverDesignStudio.com.
Scripture quotations taken from the Amplified^®^ Bible, Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version^®^. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Thank you for downloading this ebook. You are welcome to share it with your friends. This book may be reproduced, copied and distributed for non-commercial purposes, provided the book remains in its complete original form. If you enjoyed this book, please return to favorite ebook retailer to discover other works by this author. Thank you for your support.
[Forgetting the Past
and Moving into Your Purpose]
There’s a scene in the movie The Bourne Identity that really struck me and has stayed with me ever since. At one point in the movie, Jason Bourne realizes that the police are closing in on him. In this instant, making a split-second decision, he drops his handgun on the sidewalk—which leaves him unarmed—and walks quickly away.
That short scene struck me because that decision, with its life-and-death implications for his future, was made in a fraction of a second; and then he walked away, never looking back. In that moment, he threw away a handgun, worth hundreds of dollars, knowing that it would leave him unarmed. In that moment, he understood—with clarity and finality—that what had been valuable, even vital, to him in the past, was now a liability. If he held onto it, it would be a hindrance to him on the journey he must now face.
At this time, more than any other time in our lives, I believe it is vitally important for us to drop anything that will not help us reach the fullness of our purpose. That may even mean dropping something that helped us get to where we are now. Even if it was valuable in getting us where we are, if it will not help us on the path ahead, we must be almost merciless in dropping it and moving forward. Otherwise it could weigh us down and hinder us from reaching our destiny as we press on to what lies ahead. Some things that got us where we are now could actually become hindrances to us in the future.
If there is one passage of Scripture that seems to be the “Word for the Moment” for me, it is this one from Philippians chapter 3 (AMP):
“I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.”
What lies ahead of us is of such priceless worth that it should totally eclipse concerns about the past. As Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their dead. You come and follow me.” (A paraphrase of Matthew 8:22)
Remember Lot’s Wife
In another time of urgency, many years ago, it became imperative for Lot and his family to leave their home suddenly and face an unknown future without looking back. There was no more time to give to things that had occupied them in previous days. But in the urgent scramble to leave, Lot’s wife was unable to walk away from those things of her recent past without looking back. Consequently, she became a pillar of salt… literally. We likewise become pillars of salt figuratively, unable to move on, if we cannot drop those things of the past that were so valuable and vital at the time, and walk away from them for the sake of the greater purpose that lies ahead of us.
As Rick Joyner says, ““If we are still looking back, we are not ready to go forward.”
In speaking of the days we are living in, Jesus reminded us of the example of Lot’s wife:
“In that day, he who is on the housetop, and his goods are in the house, let him not come down to take them away. And likewise the one who is in the field, let him not turn back. Remember Lot’s wife. Whoever seeks to save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.”—Luke 17:31-33 (NKJV)
The Nitty Gritty
For my life, in practical terms, this means uncluttering my living space. This is requiring a big adjustment for me, and one that is not comfortable, but the prize that lies ahead of me is worth it. Regarding my possessions, this means that I need to get rid of anything that does not have practical value for the journey ahead. I will hold on to things that have priceless sentimental value, like my grandfather’s pocket knife, but for everything else, if it does not have potential to help me on my journey ahead it needs to be removed from my living space. And that needs to happen without delay. If it has significant value, I plan to sell it. If not, then I plan to give it away or trash it. I have spent way too much time providing space and time in my life for things that may have contributed to my life in important ways in the past, but no longer fill a real need. I can no longer afford to spend my time managing things of the past.
I recently had a dream that I had taken my old yearbook to a high school reunion. In the course of the event, I had gone outside. When I came back inside, my yearbook was gone. It was nowhere to be found. The dream ended as I watched people in a line that was not moving. One of the guys in the line had a yearbook in his hands. He turned to me and began reminiscing about fun times in the past.
The yearbook represented memories of my past—some good, some bad. At first I was panicked about losing my yearbook, but after thinking it over, I realized that I never look though my yearbook anyway. It just takes up space on a shelf. In reality, it would be no serious loss if I really did lose my high school yearbook. But it would be a great tragedy to be one of those who continues to live in the past, never moving forward in life, as if trapped in a line of people that are going nowhere.
The message of the dream was not to throw away my yearbook, but to lay the past aside in order to focus wholeheartedly on pursuing God’s great purpose that lies ahead of me.
Uncluttering my life also means cutting out activities that waste my time. The relatively short time that I have left in my life is extremely valuable, and it needs to count for something long-term.
Recently, in my time of prayer, I felt that the Spirit of God spoke this word to me. I certainly don’t give the same weight to prophetic words as I do to Scripture, but I do think that there is some wisdom contained in these words:
“Your life is still cluttered. Your time and energy is being robbed by things that will not matter for eternity. Your time and energy are being given to things that will not reward you in any lasting way. Be discerning. Just as you take every thought captive, be diligent to take every moment captive, making sure that what you are doing at any given moment is the absolute best use of your time in regards to eternal significance, eternal rewards, and eternal impact.”
People are the Exception
Freeing ourselves of clutter does not include people. There is a false teaching advocated by some ministers that says that we must remove people from our lives if we feel that they are holding us back or hindering our progress. Jesus, who is our ultimate role model, never cut anyone off. He never cut anyone out of his life; in fact, He promised to never leave us or forsake us—no matter what! He is the friend who sticks closer than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).
If anyone ever had a reason to cut someone out of his life, it was Jesus. Even though Jesus knew from the beginning who would betray him, he never cut Judas out of his life, but instead kept him as one of his chosen twelve… even entrusting him with the responsibility of being the treasurer for the group! Knowing all the while that Judas would eventually betray Him to death, Jesus loved Judas until the very end. Jesus never left Judas and never cut him out of his life. They finally parted ways when Judas abandoned Jesus in order to betray Him.
Boundaries May Be Needed
That being said, there are many times when boundaries need to be established in relationships with some people who might try to use us or treat us inappropriately. I have even had to tell some people that I would never travel with them again, but even then, if they needed me, I hope that I would still be there to help them.
People who believe in cutting difficult people out of their lives are very short-sighted. They don’t realize that God brought those difficult people into their lives for their own growth! If we learn how to deal with difficult people and difficult circumstances in ways that please God, then we will grow and advance in maturity and responsibility. The circumstances of life are God’s training program for us. If we reject these difficult people and circumstances, then we doom ourselves, like the children of Israel in the desert, to wander around and around, never entering into all that God has promised us.
Runners who are serious about winning a race will go to great lengths to improve their speed. They will often refuse to wear or carry anything that might increase wind resistance and slow them down, hindering their chances of winning. Like those athletes, we’re in a race. It is a race with life and death consequences for those whose lives we may impact. For our sakes and theirs, we cannot afford to carry anything with us that is going to slow us down or hinder our chances of successfully finishing the race.
There is an old proverb that says, “The good is the enemy of the best.” That may be truer today than it has ever been. We really don’t have time to waste on anything that is less than the very best use of our time and energy. We may have to forgo the enjoyment of many “good” things simply because our time is limited.
“So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12 (KJV)
I urge you.
Forget what lies behind.
Press forward with a single focus on the narrow path ahead.
Shed anything that hinders, weighs you down or distracts you from your highest purpose.
Keep your eyes on the prize.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” – Hebrews 12:1–2 (NKJV)
About the Author
Alan Drake is a professional educator, with over 25 years of experience in public education. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Dallas Baptist University and a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from East Texas State University.
Alan is an engaging speaker and teacher. He has taught courses and led workshops, meetings and conference sessions in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. He currently resides in Dallas, Texas, USA.
Also by Alan Drake
[Doing the Works of Jesus
Book 1: Becoming a Disciple Who Loves]
Keeping First Things First
Seven Priorities of Life
The Scattering of Babel and Why Your Church Needs It!
For More Information
Connect with the Author
c/o Spirit of Wisdom Publications
PO Box 180216
Dallas, TX 75218
Facebook: [+ www.facebook.com/SpiritOfWisdomMediaAndPublications+]
At this time, more than any other time in our lives, it is vitally important for us to drop anything that will not help us reach the fullness of our purpose. It may even mean dropping something that helped us get to where we are now. Even if it was valuable in getting us where we are, if it will not help us on the path ahead, we must be almost merciless in dropping it and moving forward. Otherwise it could weigh us down and hinder us from reaching our destiny as we press on to what lies ahead. Runners who are serious about winning a race will go to great lengths to improve their speed. They will often refuse to wear or carry anything that might increase wind resistance and slow them down, hindering their chances of winning. Like those athletes, we’re in a race. We cannot afford to carry anything with us that is going to slow us down or hinder our chances of successfully finishing the race to fulfill our life purpose. There is an old proverb that says, “The good is the enemy of the best.” That may be truer today than it has ever been. We really don’t have time to waste on anything that is less than the very best use of our time and energy. We may have to forgo the enjoyment of many “good” things simply because our time is limited. Forget what lies behind. Press forward with a single focus on the narrow path ahead. Shed anything that hinders, weighs you down or distracts you from your highest purpose. Keep your eyes on the prize!