Many things compete for our attention. If you and I don’t stay focused, we can get off track and miss the blessings God has in store for us. In other words, to achieve your destiny, you must stay focused.
I’m thinking of a book. It’s “The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.” The Book’s core theme is to ask the question,
“What is the one thing I can do such that by doing it, everything else will be easier or unnecessary.”– Gary Keller, “The One Thing.”
I don’t know Gary Keller, but I’ve read his book. It’s a good one. I recommend that you read it, especially is you fit my core audience and mission:
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised…Luke 4:18
I’m telling you that, if you’re poor, brokenhearted, imprisoned, blind or bruised, you need to get focused on…
The One Thing.
You have some lost ground to recover. You have some opportunities to pursue. You have to make up for lost time. You need to focus your life on what is most important.
Although Gary Keller has some good advice for you, God gives us even better advice through Apostle Paul.
Paul, had many regrets resulting from the things he did while known as Saul of Tarsus, his former name. We can be assured that Paul has many regrets. He did many bad things. He had persecuted the innocent. He inspired and endorsed violence. He had innocent blood on his hands.
Everyone has a different story. You may have done different things wrong than what Paul did, but you still I’ve heard a lot of people. You may have missed many opportunities. You may have hurt yourself by making poor decisions. If you have many regrets about your past, I am speaking to you right now.
You and I should learn from Apostle Paul’s example in scripture.
Apostle Paul knew many people. He hurt a lot of people. He did many horrible things…
…but he didn’t let his past slow him down. It wasn’t easy, but he knew that how he handled his past would determine his future
Like Apostle Paul, you need to shake off your guilt and shame and move your life forward. You have dreams to realize. You have goals to achieve. Don’t let anyone – including yourself – hold you back.
What I’m asking you to do…
It isn’t easy.
It’s possible, but it’s not easy. Getting over the past requires an intentional mindset on your part.
The past haunted Apostle Paul. Getting on with life required a lot of effort.
Let’s hear his words from Philippians Chapter Three:
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,Philippians 3:13
More than a thousand years before Gary Keller wrote his book, Apostle Paul was teaching the same thing: You must focus on the one thing that will help you accomplish more and make other things unnecessary.
When Paul talks about his ministry, he didn’t talk about the miracles. He didn’t talk about his survival stories. He didn’t talk about how he met with kings and preached the Gospel to large crowds.
Apostle Paul attributed his successful ministry to one thing.
Forgetting those things that are behind…Philippians 3:13
You can do it!
You and Paul have much in common. You have different situations, but you both have a past that can hold you back.
Also, you have people who want to hold you back. People said that Paul wasn’t qualified because of his past. People say the same thing to you. They say the same thing to everyone who has made poor choices in life.
Guilt also plays a role. You regret the things you’ve done, the ways you’ve hurt people, how you happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Memories replay in your head. Satan, the Enemy wants you to stay bogged down with what other people think and what you think about yourself.
It’s time for you to do what Paul did:
Get over it and move one.
You already know that “geting over it and moving on” is easier said than done.
Apostle Paul also knew that.
…was Apostle Paul’s “One Thing.”
When he says, “This one thing I do,” Paul isn’t talking about “something,” “a thing,” or “one thing of many things.”
Apostle Paul says that “I focus on this one thing.” He says, “I am single minded.”
Paul’s primary occupation in life was forgetting what was behind. It took all his energy. It was the source of his power.
When the Apostle says that he’s devoted all his energy to forgetting the past, he means that his goal is to make his past “forgotten and given over to oblivion.”
Like Paul, you can’t afford to have any of your past in your mind. If you do, you’ll lose focus on what lies ahead.
In fact, leaving the past behind gave Paul the impetus to…
God wants you to forget the past, so you should invest your energy into doing just that.
However, God wants better things for you. He wants you to move forward in life, not just stay where you are right now.
In Exodus Chapter 14, the Israelites feel like you do. They feel like I do. The believed that, because of their circumstances, they could not move on.
Egyptians were chasing down the Israelites to bring them back into slavery.
When you look behind you, Satan will try to convince you that you’re not good enough to be free. He wants you to believe that you don’t deserve to be free. Satan wants you to believe that you are a slave to sin.
He’ll say you’re never going to overcome your past.
Today, God wants you to know that Satan is a liar.
You can overcome your past. You are free from it. In fact, you can forget it!
As you can imagine,
… can seem just as intimidating as the enemy that’s chasing you down.
The Israelites were up against the Red Sea. How can they cross it?
How can they escape their past?
Do you think that you can’t escape your past?
Maybe no one will hire you. Maybe your family disowned you. Maybe your friends abandoned you. Perhaps the church rejected you. Religious people judge you.
When you see the obstacles in your life, you can understand why Israel lost hope.
That’s why you must…
Hear the Word of the Lord.
Listen to what God told Moses to tell the Israelites:
Speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward…Exodus 14:15
This is how God wants you to..
I know you regret your past. I know you feel you can’t move forward.
I want you to realize that there’s danger in looking back.
Scripture gives us a
…about looking back.
Jesus tells us that…
No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.Luke 9:62
You can’t keep remembering your past if you want to be fit to serve God.
Also, Jesus gives us the ominous warning,
Remember Lot’s wife.Luke 17:13
On the way out of Sodom, the angels told Lot and his wife,
Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.Genesis 19:17
[Lot’s] wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.Genesis 19:26
God wants you to “go forward.” Living in the past will only hurt you.
Just as God parted the Red Sea so His people could cross over on dry ground, God has deliverance for you.
Just as guilt, people, and fear threatened to keep Paul from achieving his destiny, God gave Paul the power to overcome.
Today is your day. It’s your turn.
Embrace your “One thing.” Put all your energy into forgetting the past, rather than reliving it.
Leave the past behind. God has freed you from sin, guilt, and shame.
God gives you the power to overcome the judgmental people who stand in your way.
In Jesus’ name, I implore you to follow Apostle Paul’s example:
God wants you to use all your power to forget the past. He also wants you to embrace the amazing future He has in store for you.