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Welcoming 2022 – 1: Forgetting What Lies Behind

Welcoming 2022 Day 1: Forgetting What Lies Behind

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… (Philippians 3:13, ESV)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. (2 Corinthians 5:17, ESV)

Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:18-19, ESV)

Each year when the month of December arrives the world collectively begins to look back at what has transpired in the past year. I don’t know about you but one of the things I do is pull out my journal and peek at last year’s resolutions. It’s typically a pretty bleak moment followed by laughter as I realize I didn’t keep any of them. It’s normal to look the last year over and think about the good times and the bad. Now there’s a lot to be said for looking back and learning from the past. It is from these mistakes that we learn what not to do next year and also from where we typically get next year’s resolutions. But the Bible often gives us a different point of view. Look at our key verse for today, for example. Paul’s words here are powerful: “Forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead…” 

Moving on from the past can be a big challenge. The past two years have been really hard on all of us. COVID-19 has radically changed the way we live our lives, and I know that I am ready to put another disease-ravaged year behind me and dive into whatever is next. I think we can loosely say that is what Paul was getting at: leaving the past where it belongs and constantly looking forward to how we can serve God better tomorrow, next week, and next year. 

The beauty of a relationship with Christ is that we do have the ability to put our past behind us and become something new. Our second verse above tells us just that: “the old has passed away.” We can look back at the strife and trials and leave them there. God has made us new creatures in Him, and He is ready to use us. One of the words gospel preachers like to use is regeneration, which is just a fancy way of saying being reborn or made new. Ephesians 2:5 says, “Even when we were dead in our trespasses, [God] made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved.” Being made new in Him is the greatest gift because it means we can say a final goodbye to whatever sin and strife we encountered the past hour, day, week, month, or year. 

Our final passage for today, Isaiah 43:18-19, is particularly special to me. These were my verses for the year 2021. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how God works in our lives, and how He takes our brokenness and failure and somehow turns them into something worthwhile. This new thing He is doing isn’t slow in coming but rather it springs forth! 

As you look over your shoulder at 2021, I encourage you to make peace with whatever good and bad it held. I encourage you to look at the words above both from the Old and New Testaments and remember that it is our future that matters. God never ceases working in and on us.

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