Let Go of the Past to Move into the Future | Short Sermon Series
You can’t drive life’s road without sometimes hitting bumps like regrets, disappointments, and tragedies. When you do, it’s easy to get stuck there, gazing back into your rearview mirror at the past. But God wants you to move on toward the future He has planned for you. It’s a future filled with hope – but to get there, you’ve got to turn your focus forward and look through the windshield at the road ahead.
Realize that you have a choice. Understand that you’re not a victim of your circumstances and that no one but yourself can tie you to the past; you can decide whether or not to move on. Ask God for the courage to choose to break free of whatever is chaining you to the past.
Recognize the difference between learning from the past and letting it control you. Understand that it’s healthy to look back as long as you’re learning from your past and remembering how God has worked in your life. But beware of becoming so preoccupied with your past that it begins to dictate your present and future. Don’t let your past define you; that’s God’s job.
Seek deliverance from parts of your past you’re struggling to let go. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you mentally take those past experiences and lay them in trust at the foot of the cross for Jesus to handle. Acknowledge that holding onto the past is sin because it keeps you from obeying God’s call to move on. Repent of making the past an idol in your life. Make whatever changes you need to make in your life to reinforce your decision, such as discarding past possessions. Surround yourself with people who support your decision to move on. Seek God with all your heart and be excited about His plans for you. Read and meditate on Scripture as a new perspective gradually emerges for you.
Seek healing for a broken heart. Know that God understands and feels the pain of your heartbreak over a broken relationship with someone you’d loved. Understand that, no matter what happened to wrest your loved one from you, God can transform your pain into positive growth for you. Realize that everything that happens to you plays a part in God’s greater purposes for your life. Give up trying to change the past; it’s futile. Instead, ask God to help you learn to trust His sovereignty in your relationships. Don’t waste time and energy trying to numb a broken heart with drugs or alcohol, denying your feelings, starting a “rebound” relationship, or trying to distract yourself with busyness. Know that God wants to heal you. Pursue healing by repenting of any sin that was involved in your lost relationship, carrying your feelings and shattered dreams to God, saturating your soul with Scripture, and being patient as He gently guides you through the healing process. Trust God to bring something good out of your pain. Understand that God brings some people into your life briefly for a specific reason, some for a longer season, and some to stay your whole life. Ask Him to help you discern which people are which, and to recognize when it’s the right time for some people to make their exits. Remember that, while some people may leave you, God never will.
Get rid of the poison of bitterness. Realize that holding onto bitterness after someone has hurt you will only continue to hurt you more by poisoning your soul. Know that there is only one antidote to that poison – forgiveness. Decide not to allow people who have wronged you to keep controlling your life and distancing you from God. Remember all that God has forgiven you for, and let your gratitude and love for Him motivate you to obey His command to forgive others. Always be willing to forgive, even when people repeatedly offend you, don’t ask for your forgiveness, refuse to reconcile, or are deceased. Understand that forgiveness doesn’t depend on what you consider fair, reasonable, or just – it’s a matter of being faithful to God...
Don’t wait until you feel like forgiving someone; you probably never will. Instead, decide to do so and trust God to help you. Expect God to clear bitterness out of your life as you forgive.
Fulfill your potential. Remember that your past doesn’t determine your future. Invite God to help you understand His purposes for your life and give you a vision for the new adventures He has in store for you. Realize that your greatest potential can only be realized in and through Jesus. Ask Him to help you fulfill His highest potential for you. Step boldly into your future!
Sermon Article adapted from "Let Go of the Past to Move into the Future" crosswalk.com