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Letting Go Of Your Past
By: Michael Bradley Last updated on: November 19, 2018
Once you become saved and born again, the Bible tells us that we have now become new creations in Jesus Christ. Our slates have now been wiped fully clean, and we have now been given a brand new start in this life if we are willing to properly work with the Lord and allow Him to raise us up in His knowledge, grace, and power.
As I have stated numerous times in my other articles, the next step after you have been saved is to fully surrender your entire life into the hands of God the Father so that He is fully free to lead you into His perfect plan and destiny for your life. You must now be willing to make Jesus Lord over your life, not just your Savior.
You must now become both saved and surrendered if you want to get anywhere in your new life with the Lord.
Making Jesus Lord over your life means that you are now willing turn the reigns of your life over to Him, and He will now lead your life into the specific directions He will want it to go in.
You are now no longer your own.
You have been bought back by God the Father at the price of His Son’s shed blood. You now belong to God and Jesus and no one else in this life – which includes yourself, your family, and your best friends!
Once you enter into this full surrender with the Lord, one of the first things God may do with many of you is to take you back in your past so He can begin to clean up any wreckage that may have occurred. Before you can really move forward into the divine destiny that God has in store for you in this life, you first may have to deal with some specific things that may have occurred in your past.
The reason for this is because too many Christians are bound up in their past – and as a result, they cannot fully live in their present.
Before you can really start to move forward in your divine destiny with the Lord – you will first have to learn how to let your past fully go.
Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul make two very profound and life-altering statements in the two verses I will give you in this article. For many, these two specific verses will determine whether or not you will be able to fully succeed in the divine call that God has placed on your life.
As a result of the curse of Adam and Eve that is still in full operation on this earth, we are all forced to be born into a fallen and cursed world.
We are all stuck having to deal with the reality of pure evil in our lives through the activity of demonic spirits and bad and evil people who have chosen with their own free wills to live this life out on the dark side.
As a result, every single one of us will get hurt to some degree and to some extent in this life. There is no getting around it. And for many, some of these hurts will end up being extreme and traumatic.
Every minute of every day someone is getting murdered, robbed, abused, or abducted. We literally cannot go one day without some kind of this activity being reported on our local news channels. Jesus Himself said that a certain amount of tribulation and persecution would always come our way in this life.
This is why the Bible tells us that we have to learn how to become good soldiers of Jesus Christ and learn how to put on and apply the real armor of God for our lives.
We have all been born into a war zone as a result of the curse of Adam and Eve – and unless you learn how to walk in the power and anointing of God for your life – some of these torpedo shots may knock you right out of your dvine call in the Lord, if not possibly knock you right out of this life for good through an actual early physical death.
All of us to some degree have issues from our past that have to be properly dealt with before we can really proceed to walk into the perfect plan of God for our lives.
Some Christians are so bound up with some of the things that has happened to them in their past – that they literally cannot get off the couch to start living again, much less ever fully fly into their divine destinies for the Lord.
Many of God’s eagles have had their wings totally broken and decimated with some of the torpedo shots they have taken. Many of them are living on anti-depressants and pain killers because they can no longer handle the stress, pain, and heartache of this life.
Before an eagle of God can really start to fly into the heights that God has in store for them in this life – that eagle has got to break off any chains that may be holding them back.
These chains are keeping some of God’s eagles grounded. And for many of God’s eagles – some of these chains are things they are still holding onto from their past.
Jesus has said that He has come to set the captives free – and one of the main areas that we all have to be set free from is some of our wrong thinking that may have arisen out of some of the bad things that may have occurred in our past.
As you will see in the two verses I will list below, Jesus and the apostle Paul are telling us that we have to learn how to let go of our past. Jesus says that anyone who is trying to move forward in his walk and call for God – but keeps looking back – is not fit for the kingdom of God.
Paul says that the one thing he makes sure to do in his walk with the Lord is to forget those things which are behind him and press forward into those things which now lie ahead of him.
Once you put these two verses together, one right next to the other, you get perfect revelation from the Lord on this issue.
Bottom line – you have to learn how to let fully go of your past before you can start to proceed full steam ahead in your divine destiny for the Lord.
If you do not learn how to let your past fully go – you will stay stuck and grounded right where you are at, and you will never fully accomplish everything that God would’ve had in store for you in this life.
And that will be an eternal regret that you will carry with you once you enter into heaven and the Lord shows you how much more you could have accomplished for Him in this life had you allowed Him to unchain you from your hurtful past. The choice is yours.
You can either choose to stay fully bound up in your past, continue to throw pity parties and blame everyone and everything for your miseries – or you can choose to rise up and make a brand new fresh start with the Lord by choosing to fully surrender your entire life into His hands – and then work with Him to get your past fully cleaned up so that you can then start to fully live in the present again, and then fly into the divine destiny that He has already planned out for your life.
For many of you who are severely bound up with things that may have occurred in your past – realize that God will give you an ample and reasonable amount of time to get your past cleaned up.
Many of you will need an inner healing from the Lord on certain issues.
Though the two verses I will list below state that God wants you to let go of your past so you can fully fly into what He has in store for you in this life – God will not expect some of you to make this kind of quantum leap overnight, especially if some of your past hurts have been extreme and traumatic.
One of the things I have found out in my own personal journey with the Lord is what happens after you initially enter into this full surrender with Him.
What God will do with you is take you back in your memory lane and bring back up to your remembrance many things that have occurred in your past.
The reason He will do this is so you can learn from your past. He will show you where He was at and where He was not at on certain things.
He will show you some of the good things you did and some of the bad things you did so you can learn from those past mistakes and not repeat them in the future.
He will show you how He has been behind the scenes the entire time, and how He eventually ended up working out some of the bad things for His and your own good with the way some of these things ended up working out.
He will show you the extreme consequences of not fully following Him in this life, and that some of the bad things that may have happened to you were as a result of you making your own decisions without consulting Him first – not being aware of the dangers that were around that corner you were getting ready to turn into.
When God does begin to do this kind of deeper inner work with you – go with Him on it. Let Him show you the truth on many of the different matters of your past.
If you do, then His truth will start to work to help set you free – no matter how bad some of the things may have been in your past.
God can fully heal you and break off any past chain if you are willing to believe that He can do it for you.
Some of God’s people are bound up with false chains of guilt as a result of some of the sexual molestations that may have occurred in their dysfunctional families. God can fully break these types of chains off you, no matter how bad or how severe you think they may be.
The Holy Spirit is the Master Surgeon. He is the One who will be getting down deep into where these hurts and pains are located. If you are willing to work and cooperate with Him during this inner healing process, He will be able to cut out and completely take away most, if not all of the hurt, pain, and trauma associated with some of these painful events.
I will end this article with some of the specific areas the Lord will target once you open up to Him to get your past cleaned up so you can start to fully live again in your present.
But here is the point you will really need to grab a hold of off the wording of these two Scripture verses.
God will take you back in your past for a reasonable length of time so you can directly deal with certain issues and problem areas He will want to target.
But after that time and season has past – you will then need to let your past fully go and concentrate and focus on the present and future as to where God will now be taking you.
There will simply come a day and time that you will have to let your past and all of the hurts from your past completely go.
If you don’t – you will stay stuck, grounded, and paralyzed in your walk with the Lord.
You will never able to fly off the edge of that cliff into the freedom and adventure that God has in store for you in this life unless you first learn how to let your past fully go.
This principle is a basic 101 principle that each and every single Christian has got to get worked into their mindsets.
This basic principle could be one of the major determining factors as to whether or not you ever fly off that cliff into the divine path that God has set up for you to follow in this life.
Many of God’s eagles never learn to fly with the wings that He has given them because they could not get unbound from the chains of their hurtful past.
As a result, many of God’s eagles will lose their one and only chance to leave their mark in this world in the divine destiny that He has set up for their lives.
I believe this is why the Bible says that many are called, but few are chosen.
Many of God’s people are being called to come up into His higher calling for their lives – but many of them are not being chosen because they simply could not let go of their hurtful past.
The choice to learn how to let your past fully go so you can start to fully live again in your present is an individual choice for each believer.
Not even God Himself will override your free will in this area. All God can do is give you the knowledge from His Word that this is what He really wants from you, with all of it being for your own good. And then God will take you back in your past for a reasonable amount of time so you can get all of your loose ends cleaned up and tied up.
But after that time is up, God will then expect you to make a very important decision for your life.
Will you now let your past fully go so you can fly into the divine destiny that He has set up for your life – or will you choose to stay stuck and grounded, wailing in the misery of your past?
Each Christian will have to make this choice for themselves. This is why the Bible says that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. You have to learn how to develop right thinking in your thought process with how you think about and view things. And one of the first basic things you will need to learn to think right about is how to fully let go of your past.
Learn how to let fully go of your past with the help of the Holy Spirit – and then you can step from the dugout out onto the real playing field where the real action is really at with the Lord!
The Bible Scripture Verses For Letting Go Of Your Past
1. This first verse is coming directly from Jesus Himself. Here is what He has to say about this basic principle:
But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)
Notice Jesus says that “no one” who keeps looking back on his past is fit for His kingdom. The words “no one” is an all-inclusive word. It means all of us – no exceptions.
In other words, Jesus is wanting all of us to get a grip on this revelation and get it properly worked into our mindsets so we can all plow straight ahead into the calls and divine destinies that He has in store for us in this life.
2. The second verse is coming from the apostle Paul. Paul really puts this revelation in proper perspective in relation to the big picture. Here is how he puts it:
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead. I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:12)
Notice Paul starts out the second part of this verse with the words “but one thing I do.” And then from there he goes into the revelation of not looking at what is behind him, but looking and reaching forward for those things which now lie ahead of him.
The words “but one thing I do” is being put in the context of something that he is really making sure that he does on a regular and consistent basis.
This particular revelation is one that you will really have to stay on top of and not let get away from you. It’s very easy to start falling back on all of the bad things that may have occurred in your past, and then use that as an excuse to start feeling sorry for yourself, or to justify some of the irrational things you may be doing.
Just because your parents may have physically abused you does not give you the right to physically abuse your own children. Just because one of your dysfunctional parents may have been an alcoholic does not mean you have to become an alcoholic yourself.
Then notice Paul ends this verse really putting everything in proper perspective when he says that what he is wanting to press forward on is the “upward call of God.”
God the Father has a specific plan and destiny for each person who will come to Him and fully surrender their entire lives into His hands. But you will never be able to press forward and fly into this upward and high calling unless you first learn how to let go of your past.
Both of these verses perfectly and beautifully capture this basic 101 principle.
This particular principle is, without any question, a major, basic, fundamental principle that each and every Christian has to get worked into their mindset and way of thinking in this life. For many, it will be the difference as to whether or not they fully accomplish everything that God has set out for them to do in His perfect plan for their lives.
All of us have a certain amount of baggage that we carry from our past. Some of us carry lighter loads than others.
Some have learned how to let go of their past because they have found out that it will seriously damage their walk with the Lord and what He wants to do with their lives.
They have found that carrying around some of the baggage from their past and constantly dwelling on it will steal their joy and happiness in the Lord.
They have found that it will distort and warp their thinking. These kinds of people have managed to break away from their past so they can fully live and operate in the call of God for their lives.
But many other people have not managed to break free from their past. They are still mired down in the hurts and injustices of their past and cannot seem to get any victory over any of it – either in their thinking or in their emotions.
1. For those of you who are still stuck in your past to some degree – ask God to help you out with all of this.
If you are willing to enter into a full surrender with Him, then He will start to move and help break you free from your hurtful past. Work with the Holy Spirit once He starts to show you the specific areas from your past that He will want to target.
Here are some specific areas from your past that you can expect the Holy Spirit to move in on very strongly if any of these are in your past and background.
- Broken marriages
- Physical abuse
- Extreme verbal abuse
- Being a victim of any kind of crime
- Dysfunctional families
- Death of a close loved one
- Any type of financial disaster
All of these are serious torpedo shots that can knock many of us straight to the ground, especially if some of this has occurred when you were at a young age.
When dealing with people who have been seriously hurt or injured like what you see with victims of any kind of crime or sexual or physical abuse – the first thing God will ask you to do is to fully forgive the person who has wronged or injured you, no matter how bad and how vicious that wrong may have been.
We have another article in our site in the Psychological Issues page on dealing specifically with the hurts you may have suffered at the hands of someone else.
The title of this article is “How to Handle Negative Feelings When Wronged by Someone Else.”
Before God can move to supernaturally heal you from the pain, torment, and wounds that were inflicted upon you in your past – you will first have to be willing to fully forgive this person and let that person go into the hands of God for His vengeance, justice, and payback. God will be righting all of the wrongs ever done to you in this life when everything is all finally said and done.
This is why you can let the worst of your enemies go into the hands of God.
If you are willing to truly forgive this person, then God will move in – and through the power of the Holy Spirit, heal up those wounds so you can no longer feel them. God will not take away the actual memory of the event, but He can take away the actual pain, trauma, and torment associated with the event so you can then get on with the rest of your life and not have to keep thinking about it all of the time.
For those of you who have been severely affected over the death of a close loved one – we have another article in our site titled, “A Powerful Word for Those Who Have Lost Loved Ones,” in the Psychological Issues section.
In this article, a young couple who were faithfully serving God lost their daughter at a very young age. As a result of her early death, neither one of them could get over it, and it then started to hinder their walk with God and what He was wanting to do with their lives.
They finally received a very liberating word from the Holy Spirit that finally set them free so they could start living again in their present.
For those of you who have been severely hurt and wounded in a marriage as a result of infidelity or abuse in the marriage – realize that God can fully heal your mind, your emotions, and your heart on the inside so you can start to fully function once again in the real world and get on with what He has in store for you in your future.
Many marriages have ended up in divorce as a result of a person choosing to marry who they thought was best suited for them instead of asking God for His direct opinion on the matter.
Next time, make sure you let God lead you to the mate of His choice – not your choice! You have no idea how some people can change for the worse in your future – but God can – and that is why you have to rely on His knowledge and wisdom as to who you should be marrying in this life.
For those who have been brought up in very dysfunctional families – realize that God, His Word, and His truth can set you free from some of the warped and distorted thinking that may have occurred in your dysfunctional family. God can show you the errors of their thinking and the errors of their ways so that it does not contaminate you with what He wants to do with your life.
The Bible says the truth will set you free. God will make sure to get the appropriate truths revealed to you so you can fully understand some of the dysfunctional behavior that was occurring in your family, and help separate truth from error so you do not fall victim to the same type of distorted and warped thinking in your own adult life.
2. When God wants us to learn how to let the past fully go, I believe He is targeting more of the bad things in our past – especially the things that will really play with our minds and emotions where our hearts can start to harden up, and our thinking can start to become distorted, warped, and unhealthy.
We all have many good things from our past. We all have a certain amount of treasured memories that we will never forget.
God wants us to keep all of these good memories fully intact. There is no harm in going back down memory lane from time to time with many of the good things that may have occurred in our past.
Our past is a part of who we are and who we have become in the Lord. Even some of the bad things in our past have been used by God to shape, mold, and transform us into the kind of person He wants us to become in Him.
What I believe Jesus and Paul are trying to tell us in the above two verses is that we cannot allow some of the bad things that may have happened in our past affect our thinking and our ability to want to live with full intensity for the Lord.
You only get one chance in the eternal scheme of things to leave your mark in this world to some degree for the Lord. God has a specific plan and purpose for your life.
He has a list of divine assignments that He wants you to complete for Him before you go home to be with Him for all of eternity.
Do not let a few bad apples and a few bad events – no matter how bad they may have been – stop and prevent you from becoming everything that God is calling you to become in Him.
Jesus says in the Book of Revelation that those who are overcomers in this life will be the ones to rule the nations of the world with Him.
You can overcome any of the bad people and any of the bad events from your past with the divine help of the Holy Spirit. God’s supernatural help can pull you out of any of the bad and negative emotions that may be preventing you from entering into His perfect plan for your life.
But like Peter and his story of getting out of the boat to supernaturally walk on water – you will have to be willing to step out of the boat, grab a hold of God’s hand, and work with the Holy Spirit to help get you cleaned up so you can fully and finally let your past go.
Once you are able to let your past fully go – then you will be ready to fly as a true eagle of God into the divine plan that He has set up for you and your life.
The choice is yours. You can either choose to let the hurts, wounds, and pains from your past continue to strangle and paralyze you – or you can choose to say enough is enough and give God a chance and a green light to free you from some of the bad things that may have occurred in your past.
His power and His help is right there for you if you are willing to take His hand and allow Him to bring you up out of it!
Thank you to:
Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc
Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Copyright © 2005-2019 by Michael Bradley and Chris Bradley
Scripture taken from New King James Version.