// Kenneth W. Hagin
IT'S A NEW YEAR. And we have a decision to make. We must decide whether we will hold on to the past and go backward, or focus on the promises of God and move into the future He has for us.
The Apostle Paul chose to focus entirely on his future with God. In Philippians 3:13–14 (NKJV) he wrote, "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus."
Though Paul wrote this late in his life, he was still "reaching forward." He said, "I do not count myself to have apprehended." "I have not achieved" (NLT). "I can't consider myself a winner yet" (GW). Paul recognized that there was something more in front of him.
We, too, must recognize that the future is in front of us. And we must prepare ourselves right now to do what God wants us to do. You see, a farmer doesn't wait until harvest time to plant the seed or get his equipment ready. He knows that preparation time is critical, because it will affect the performance of the harvest.
It's the same in our lives. How we look at today matters. It's not just another day. It's a time that we have been given to get ready for tomorrow. Today, we prepare for the opportunities coming our way. Today, we prepare for the adversities we will face. Today, we get ready for eternity.
Forget the Past
Today is important because there are things we haven't achieved yet—things that are in our future. But in order for us to achieve those things, we've got to do as the Apostle Paul did. We must forget our past.
Remember what he said? "One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind." Paul knew that dwelling on the past could weigh him down and keep him from accomplishing more in the future. He decided he was not going to lug around an old suitcase filled with past baggage. And he had a lot of baggage.
Paul had held the coats of those who stoned Stephen, the martyr (Acts 7:58). He had traveled all over putting Christians to death. After he became a Christian, he built the first megachurch in Ephesus. But Paul chose to forget all of this—the good, the bad, and the ugly.
What does it mean to forget? According to Strong's concordance, the Greek word translated forgetting means "to lose out of mind; by implication, to neglect." Another definition says, "to willfully neglect."
That means we choose to forget. Someone may say, "I can't forget." Yes, you can. You can't change the past, but you can decide to get it out of your mind. You can choose to neglect the thoughts. Don't dwell on them. If you keep looking back and holding tightly to yesterday's baggage, you'll lose sight of the promises of God.
Choose to let go of the baggage of mistakes, failures, and circumstances. Let go of the baggage of negativity, bad self-image, and regrets. And even let go of the baggage of success and achievements. Let it all go and focus on your future with God.
The decision is yours. The future is in front of you. Begin preparing yourself right now to do what God wants you to do. Don't just settle down. Stretch yourself. Believe that God has a future for you and that what He promised in His Word will work.
You see, God will meet us when we step out in faith. And if we want tomorrow's opportunity, we've got to decide to capture today. We've got to believe God one step at a time.
King Solomon was a wise man. He said, "The end of a thing is better than its beginning" (Eccl. 7:8 NKJV). As we begin this new year, believe that. Decide to look forward, focus on God's promises, and walk into the future He has for you.
Neglect the Past
I want to give five reasons why we should choose to neglect our past.
1. We can't change the past, so why allow it to clutter our minds? Cluttered minds will keep us from moving into what God has promised and into our future.
2. Our past is not an accurate measuring stick of what is in our future. Actually, what happened in the past should propel us forward to accomplish more in the future.
3. Dwelling on the past will keep us from stepping into our future. We can't be in the past and in the future at the same time. We're in either one or the other.
4. Dwelling in the past will give us the wrong picture of what the future is. Just because something was in our past does not mean it will be in our future as well.
5. The best moments of life are in front of us, not behind us. Our past is history. We can't change it or rewrite it. But with God's help, we can do something about the future!
FAITH IN ACTION
6 Keys to Help You Step Into Your Future
D—DISCOVER God's promises for your future. Your future is wrapped up in what God says.
E—ENGAGE your mind to think on the plan for your future. What you focus on is what you will eventually end up doing.
C—CONNECT with the right people—people who will move you toward your future.
I—IDENTIFY the next step for your future—both spiritually and naturally.
D—DARE to take the step. Dreams without action are nothing more than wishful thinking.
E—ENDURE until you experience your future. If you won't quit, you will experience the promises of God.