12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own.
13 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,
14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. - Philippians 3:12-14
This verse highlights a difference between secular counseling and biblical counseling - secular counseling dictates in order for us to move forward, we must dredge up the past. The world teaches us we must relive the difficult moments in our lives, looking for deeper meaning, if we are ever to find meaning. There are Christians today engaged in programs that have us diving into our pasts, or engaging in activities that help us to release the hurtful “energies” from our past. This philosophy comes to the church from the world, not from His word.
While it is important to reflect on the things we have walked-through, we are clearly instructed here to leave the past behind us. Reliving hurtful moments brings us to a dangerous state of mind, and opens up an opportunity for the enemy to attack. Sins we have moved past or hurts we have forgiven suddenly become larger than life again, and we can develop a victim mentality focusing on all the things that have gone wrong. Many secular counselors like to bring up the past as a way to encourage their patients. They believe it’s supportive to help their patients feel justified in their emotions or their response. This give people the wrong perspective of their trials - it’s a “me” focused strategy rather than a “Him” focused belief, it’s horizontal living instead of vertical living.
There should be a balance between reviewing your past and leaving it behind. When you look back, you should view your past through the lens of His Word, and leave it at that. What was God trying to teach you through that trial? How was He trying to grow you more like Him? How was He chastening and disciplining you? That’s it. Once you’ve pulled those lessons, you are to leave it in the past.
If you are struggling to pull the lessons out of your past, meet with a biblical counselor who can help you view your past through His lens. If you can’t find the lesson, you’ll struggle to move on. But once you do, you need to capture anything that brings you back to a difficult moment in your past and make it obedient to Christ. It’s not easy, that’s why “press on” is an action verb. It takes work, but you are the one who controls what you think about. Choose to not dwell on the past and He commands, and choose to press on. For when you do, you will find freedom from the guilt and the hurt, and you will find His peace.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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