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  • Tyrel Denver

Let the Past Go

Dear Friend, Is something from your past weighing you down? Does it impede your relationship with Jesus—keeping you from moving forward? Have you found it hard to let it go? Making progress in the Christian faith can be an uphill climb for each of us. Life carries its share of hurts and barriers, and dealing with them is a tough job. Nevertheless, because Jesus calls us onward, our obedience to His will often requires us to let the past go.

Simple, Yet Profound

Recently, my wife, Cindi, and I had a wonderful reunion with Erik and Cynthia Krueger, dear friends we hadn’t seen for over 30 years. During the course of our lunch conversation, Erik commented that some people find it hard to free themselves from their pasts. He made a simple, but profound observation. “You know, in Romans 8, the question is asked, ‘Who can separate us from the love of God?’ It says that the present or the future can’t. But what about the past?” He went on to say that from his own experiences with people, many believers allow their pasts—both the good and the bad—to interfere with their progress in the Christian faith. This was a new thought to me. When I later referenced the passage, it absolutely confirmed what Erik had said. In verses 38–39, Paul says, “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come… shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Even the Good Stuff

“Nor things present, nor things to come.” The present and future may not be able to stand between us and God’s love; but seemingly, the past can. Is there anything in your past holding you back, blocking the path of your ongoing relationship with Jesus? You and I would probably attest that past hurts and sins—many of which sting our hearts to remember—can be recurring hindrances to moving forward in Him. However, the Apostle Paul lets us know that even past accomplishments which seem noteworthy or commendable can have the same hindering effect upon us. That’s a new thought, isn’t it? In Philippians 3, Paul begins by admonishing us to put no confidence in the flesh—sharing reasons why he, of all people, should have reason to boast, including his Jewish heritage and his zealous work in line with his convictions. Even so, verses 7 and 8 show his perspective on such past achievements: “But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ.” Even the good stuff: Paul knew he had to let the past go.

A Deliberate Action

Whether good stuff or bad stuff, it is up to us to take deliberate action to deal properly with the past. Is it easy to do so? Not in the least. But God wants us to let the past go. I sometimes enjoy watching war movies, and recently saw one originally released in 1996 called “Courage Under Fire,” themed on the Gulf War. In the climax of the movie, a commanding officer played by Denzel Washington tearfully reveals the truth to the parents of his closest friend, who had been killed in action. He admits that their son had been killed by “friendly fire”—and even worse, that he himself had been the one to mistakenly give the order to fire on their son’s tank. This officer had come to set the record straight and to express his profound sorrow for the erroneous order he had issued in the heat of battle. When he told them he had come for only one reason—to beg for their forgiveness—the father responded, “I know that, but it’s a burden you’re going to have to put down sometime.” Like the officer in the movie, you and I must learn to let the past go.

Ridding Ourselves of Hindrances

In much of his teaching, Derek Prince focused on this need to resolve our past and move forward into God’s destiny for us. In the following excerpt from a radio message entitled “Objective for Living: To Do God’s Will,” Derek acknowledged that sin and failure can keep us from God’s will. But really, it can also be anything else that blocks our way.

For our first picture of the Christian life and its objective, let’s turn to Hebrews 12:1 NIV: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” There are many important truths there. First, the Christian life is a race—a race marked out for us. We don’t have to mark out the course—that has already been done for us in advance. What we have to do is run the race—and it’s not a dash or a sprint. It is much more like a marathon—a long race. The particular quality that is emphasized here is perseverance or endurance. We have to see the course in front of us, and throw off everything that would hinder us. This passage speaks about sins and other hindrances. Some activities are not sinful, but they nevertheless hinder us from running the race. For that reason, we need to eliminate them from our lives. That is an important point to grasp—there is a race marked out ahead; it’s a long-distance race; and it’s going to take perseverance or endurance to finish.

The Step We Can Take

What Derek outlines above is not at all complicated. So, let’s not make it more difficult than it needs to be. There is a race before us; to run that race, we must strip away anything that pulls on us from our past. Would you like to pray together now to do just that?

Father, please let Your Holy Spirit move in me now to highlight any unresolved issues from my past. I confess all my past sins to You, and I also humble myself before You regarding what I have accomplished in life up to now. Whatever there is that needs to be thrown on the rubbish heap, I want to take care of it today. I place all of my past in Your hands, to be disposed of forever. Lord, through the power of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, I release myself from anything—whether good or bad—which stands in the way of my ongoing relationship with You. In the Name of Jesus, I now take the deliberate step to let the past go. By His blood, it is forgiven and forgotten. Through Your strength and mercy, I will now move forward in Your purposes for me. Amen.

Help for the Future

When a burden is lifted, it brings an exhilarating sense of freedom, doesn’t it? It also makes you aware that you may need some help and encouragement in the days ahead. Please allow us to come alongside you as you run the race God has set before you. It would be our greatest pleasure and privilege to pray with you and for you. If you will stay in touch, we can supply you with helpful materials that will encourage you along the way. A good beginning point on the topic of this letter would be the message from which Derek Prince’s quote was taken, “Objective for Living: To Do God’s Will.” It is a great first step on the path you and I have just entered through our prayer together, and it is yours—totally free of charge. Just use the download link below. We provide it in gratitude for your ongoing prayers for DPM, and for your loving generosity that enables us to continue this ministry. Thank you!

His Great Love

The future God has planned for you and me stretches ahead of us. He has promised that nothing in our present or future will separate us from His great love. Through the prayer we offered above, you and I have now cut off the hindering impact of our past. Let’s run the race together, believing that the Lord will lead us into His destiny for us. Because of His mercy, we can move steadily forward, knowing we have let the past go.

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