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Forgetting: Key to a Proper State of Mind and Reaching Ultimate Goals

It’s easy for many, even genuine Christians, to swing between over-confidence and rosiness to morbid introspection and discouragement. The Apostle Paul gives a perspective that cures those extremes in Philippians 3, that keeps a believer in his or her right state of mind. This relates to having goals and accomplishing them. It is in verse 13, which says, “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.”

To fulfill goals or even the purpose for human existence, the ultimate goal, one must forget those things which are behind. That means forgetting both victories and defeats. This also ensures a forward looking sight and leaning. I’m not saying that we don’t look backwards at all. You consider what occurred in the past, you learn from it, and then you move on.

Parking on past victories can and does result in pride. It hinders righteous ambition, luxuriating in the thoughts of good past actions. It will also keep one from one’s ultimate goal or goals. Forgetting the past defeats helps avoid depression. God expects you to move on from those once properly assessed. The Lord also forgives for past actions for the repentant.

The alternative is “reaching forth unto those things which are before.” This helps keeps a proper state of mind. The whole epistle to the Philippian church repeats a theme of joy. Joy comes from looking unto Jesus, not unto yourself. Continuing a focus on past victories and defeats keeps the focus on you and not on Him.

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