I was at a recent gathering of pastors and we were discussing leadership in our churches. One of the comments made was profound: “If you have more memories than dreams, that is a problem.” The context had to do with being careful of not getting “stuck in the past.”
This phrase made me think about more than just church leadership. This phrase also applies to the everyday Christian life: If you have more memories than dreams, that is a problem.
“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 3:13b-14
It is easy to get stuck in the past, because we can use the past in many negative ways: We can justify our sins by our pasts, putting the blame on our upbringing, culture, or education. We can create a functional Savior out of past experiences, such as an emotional moment or catastrophe. We can use the past as an excuse for laziness, saying, “I have done my part…I have served my time.”
Rather, the Apostle Paul, in Philippians 3, instructs us that the past has no significance at all in comparison with the future we have in Christ Jesus. Therefore, instead of dwelling on the past, we must press on to what lies ahead.
In you own life, which is more important: your memories, or your dreams? Are you burdened with the guilt of past sin? Are you bitter about past hurts? Are you ashamed of past exploits? Are you afraid of past disappointments? If these things are what define your Christian life, then you are missing out on the surpassing joys of Jesus Christ.
Rather, let your Christian life be defined by your dreams–the things you are looking forward to, because you already posses them in Jesus Christ: The complete forgiveness of and freedom from all your sins, the grace and favor of God, eternity in the presence of God, adoption into His family, and complete righteousness and justification in Christ.
In the Christian life, if you have more dreams than memories, that is a good thing.