“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (Isaiah 43:18-19)
As we are about to exit the year 2021 and enter a new year, the Lord has been reminding me of this verse frequently. There have been so many things in the past that have caused hurt, heartache, and lasting effects, but they don’t get to have a place in my remembrance or consideration unless I allow them. Things of the mind and heart can feel very overwhelming at times, but God gives His way of escape and beckons to bring thoughts captive to Jesus.
When we seek God’s forgiveness for our iniquity and transgressions against Him, we can know they are finished, done, and dealt with. He casts them as far as the east is from the west and He CHOOSES not to remember them, so neither should we. The harder part is when there are sins committed against us and the transgressor doesn’t seek our forgiveness. These things can wreak havoc in our mind as we assume motivations and try to find a scenario in our own minds that we deem the most acceptable to us. The thing is, we can’t ever find peace and rest when we’re assuming such things, and we certainly aren’t taking our thoughts captive to Jesus in those times.
Regardless of what the other person’s motives were or whether they even sought forgiveness through Jesus, Jesus has already taken care of it for YOU. There is always hope and healing found in Jesus, no matter what takes place here on earth.
But for you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. You shall go out leaping like calves from the stall. (Malachi 4:2)
Jesus didn’t die only for the sins of those who would accept Him as their Savior, He became sin and took the punishment for all of it. Yes, we as people must accept His gift and righteousness in order to not pay that penalty ourselves, accepting Him as our Savior, but it is offered to all because He already paid for it all. That includes the sins done to us. This is how we can have healing in Him regardless of whether the transgressor seeks our forgiveness. We can forgive them without being asked, and we should, and let the Lord deal with them on His own.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
When we give everything over to Him, every thought, every emotion, we are letting Him take our burdens and baggage and hurts that He already paid for. There is no need to hold onto it. It would be like going on an airplane and having your ticket include a carry-on bag in the overhead compartment, but you insist on holding it in your lap the whole flight. Sure, you’ll still get to your destination, but you’ll be burdened the whole way when it isn’t necessary and that’s not God’s desire for you.
Jesus desires to walk with us, taking our burdens from us and teaching us to walk yoked to Him, which gives us rest for our souls.
Isaiah tells us not to remember the former things, nor consider the things of old. The word for “remember” means to call to mind, be mindful of, and keep in remembrance, with implied regret; and the word for “consider” means to mentally separate, distinguish, and give attention to. The word for “the former things” means the past in time, the things at first; and the word for “things of old” means ancient things.
While in our lives here on earth, our past years, maybe a handful of years or maybe decades ago, may seem like the not too distant past, God views the past of His redeemed as ancient, and the former things in them to not worth remembering or considering because He has covered them all. Of course, thoughts may pop into your mind, whether of your own thinking or by attacks of the devil, but you have to choose to not entertain them and to instead take them captive to Christ. What God has covered up, don’t dig up.
We know the apostle Paul’s past, and yet we get to see how he too had to leave his past behind and move forward with his eyes on God. “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, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
A word the Lord gave me that I’ll share again with you is, He has cleansed your past, He holds your future, and He’s refining you in the present. God never meant for us to feel shame, that only came with the fall of mankind. Don’t let your sin, or anyone else’s sin against you, keep you from the forgiveness and abundant life God desires for you. He has good plans for you, but in order to press on towards that goal you must remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old.
I encourage you to take those thoughts captive to Christ and press forward into this new year with that in mind.