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Putting the Past Behind You So New Hope Can Grow

by Joyce Meyer

Ephesians 4:22-23 is a very encouraging passage of scripture. It says, “Strip yourselves of your former nature.… And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude]” (AMP).

In other words, you can overcome any negative situation or pain from your past if you will just get with God and say, “Yes, this happened in my life. But You are on my side and I know You have a good plan for me.”

In fact, with God’s help, you can do anything within His will for you. For example, God wants you to be healthy. So if you need to lose weight and you decide to go on a diet, when the hunger pains start coming, no matter how much your flesh is screaming, you can set your mind to not give in. And you will see results! Well, that truth applies to every other area of your life.

I think a lot of us try to do things in our own strength without God. But in order to have the godly determination we need to get results, we need to come under the leadership of the Holy Spirit―and we need to have a vision.

You’ve Got to Have a Vision

The Israelites stayed in the wilderness forty years because they couldn’t see God’s vision for their life. They thought of everything in terms of their past. In fact, they complained to Moses that they wanted to go back to Egypt and return to a life of slavery because that’s what they knew. But God wanted them to get a new vision―a land flowing with milk and honey.

If you want to see change happen in your life, you’ve got to get a vision that goes beyond what you’ve already seen and experienced. And a good place to start is the promises in God’s Word. There are thousands of them, and you can claim each one of them for yourself.

We need to learn how to encourage ourselves in the Word. That’s what David did in Psalm 27:13-14. Even in the midst of his troubles he said, “I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (NIV).

Stop Staring at Your Past

Our hope should never be based on what we can see or what’s in our past. Our hope should be based on the Word of God and His promises for our life.

Isaiah 43:18-19 says, “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” (NIV).

God is always doing something new. We need to use our gift of spiritual discernment to follow His plan and stop following our own thoughts and feelings. Glance at your circumstance and stare at Jesus. He’s the Author and Finisher of our faith.

Your Circumstances Cannot Keep You Down

Abraham had a choice to make in Genesis 13. You see, he and Lot had grown so wealthy that, between the two of them, they had too many cattle to feed on the land. So Abraham said to Lot, “Let’s split up. I’ll give you first pick of the land.” Well, Lot chose the best part of the Jordan valley for himself. Abraham could have gotten pretty angry about that, but he knew that if he kept a good attitude, God would bless him. Let’s see what happened.

Verses 14-15: “The Lord said to Abram after Lot had parted from him, ‘Look around from where you are, to the north and south, to the east and west. All the land that you see I will give to you and your offspring forever’” (NIV).

Talk about a vision!

Do you know what? God will give you anything you can see as long as it’s biblical. If you will just stop thinking about everything you’ve lost, everything you’re not, everything you’ve given up, the way you’ve been treated in the past, and set your mind on His vision for your future, God will bring you to your Promised Land. But first, you have to let go of what lies behind.


This article is taken from Joyce's four-CD series, Overcoming Wrong Mindsets.