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Dear friends, if we are to be successful in our Christian life and ministry, there is one thing we must do—and it's a lesson Paul learned: We must learn to forget.
Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Brethren, 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, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
(Phil. 3:12-14)
There are two things I want you to notice about this passage Paul wrote to the Church at Philippi: "forgetting those things which are behind," and "reaching forth unto those things which are before."

Before you can go on with God, you must forget about the past. Paul, once known as Saul of Tarsus, had to forget about his past as a persecutor of Christians in order to minister effectively.

Let's notice something Paul said about himself in writing to Timothy:
According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust. And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;

Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.

This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting.
(1 Tim. 1:11-16)
The Word of God tells us that Saul was present at the stoning of Stephen:
And cast him (Stephen) out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.
(Acts 7:58)
And Saul consented to Stephen's death:
And Saul was consenting unto his death....
(Acts 8:1)
Turning further in the Acts of the Apostles, you can read an account that Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote about Paul:
And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, and desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.
(Acts 9:1-2)
But thank God, God's great mercy reached Paul! That's one thing he was talking about when he said, "Forgetting those things which are behind...I press toward the mark."

It would have been a terrible thing for Paul to continually remember the havoc he had wrought in the Church by consenting to the death of Stephen and persecuting believers.

Dear friends, if we are to be successful in our Christian life and ministry, there is one thing we must do—and it's a lesson Paul learned: We must learn to forget. If we don't learn this lesson, we'll be handicapped the rest of our life in living for God.

Remember this: The Lord Himself said in Isaiah, "I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions...and will not remember thy sins [iniquities]" (Isa. 43:25). If He doesn't remember them, why should you?

God didn't say He wouldn't remember yours sins or iniquities for your sake (although you get the benefit of it); He said it was for His sake He'll not remember your sins.

Why? So He can bless you. So He can help you. So He can demonstrate His great mercy and love on your behalf.

Learning To Forget
Looking further at that 26th verse, we realize it is an invitation from God to come before Him and state your case. It's talking about prayer: "Put me in remembrance: let us PLEAD together: declare thou, that thou mayest be justified."

A marginal note in some Bibles says, "Set forth your case." And you can do that only when you learn to forget.

Coming over to the New Testament, we see a similar verse in Hebrews 8:12:
For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.
You can see that Paul had to forget his past in order to walk on with God and to stand in the full potential of the office and ministry God had called him to.

May we do the same.

Source: Learning To Forget by Kenneth Hagin.
Excerpt permission granted by Faith Library Publications

Author Biography

Kenneth E. Hagin
Web site: RHEMA
Rev. Hagin served in Christian ministry for nearly 70 years and was known as the "father of the modern faith movement." His teachings and books are filled with vivid stories that show God's power and truth working in his life and the lives of others.

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