“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’S purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21 (NIV)
Have you seen the sign that says, “Stop looking back; you’re not going that way.” That sign describes what I call rearview people. They are stuck in the past, looking in the rearview mirror. You can’t really see where you’re going if you keep looking behind you.
While it’s important to glance in the rearview mirror, we need to shift our gaze ahead, looking through the windshield at where God is leading. God has a glorious hope and a future for you. Too often, though, we buy the lie that our failures are the final story and believe the fake news that our past disqualifies us from God’s purpose today. The truth is that God’s purpose is the final story – not our failures! The Bible says,
“… it is the LORD’S purpose that prevails.”
How can you move forward when you’ve failed in the past?
Let go of the past
“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV)
The only way to effectively let go of the past is through forgiveness. To forgive in the language of the Bible simply means to release the offense, to let it go. It’s what God does when we confess our sins to Him. Through Christ’s death on the cross, we can be forgiven. If God forgives our sins, we need to forgive ourselves and let it go. In Hebrews 8:12, God says, “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
Obey God in the present
Moses is a great example of this. Despite failures in his past, God had a purpose and plan for Him. But, he needed to obey God’s calling on his life and leave the desert where he had been hiding for 40 years. He had to let go of the past and obey God in the present.
Move boldly into the future
“Then the LORD said to Moses, ‘Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground.’” Exodus 14:15-16 (NIV)
As God began to unfold His purpose in Moses’ life, Moses had to learn to move boldly into the future to accomplish that purpose. There’s a time to pray and a time for action. When Moses stood with the Israelites before the Red Sea, it must have seemed like a dead end, literally! The whole Egyptian army was charging toward them, and they had nowhere to turn. As Moses cried out to the Lord, God told him to move boldly ahead. Stop looking back; you’re not going that way!
Despite our failures in the past or how impossible the future may seem, our failure is not the final story! God’s purpose is the final story! Let go of the past, obey God in the present, and move boldly into the future with faith!