January 24, 2023

Pressing On for Jesus

Written by Shana Schutte

God’s plans for my life aren’t worth sacrificing for a past I can’t change.”

Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – January 24, 2023

Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” Matthew 16:23

I recently created a meme on Facebook that said, “Forgive yourself. You’ve changed. You’re not who you were back then.” A middle-aged woman commented, “Thank you for this. I wish I could go back and change so many things.” 

I can relate. Over the years, I’ve experienced deep regret over choices I made when I was young. But the last time the devil came knocking to accuse me, I decided I wasn’t going to allow him to deceive me, and I wasn’t going to allow my past to steal one more moment of my future. I wasn’t going to allow the Accuser to get any more mileage out of my past sins. The joy of the future and God’s plans for my life aren’t worth sacrificing for a past I can’t change.

One day when the Accuser came knocking, my thoughts started to swirl around what happened “back then” and that’s when I got mad! “Get behind me, Satan!” I shouted. In that moment, I made a stand not to cooperate with him anymore. I am done playing his shame game. 

The Lord always has good things stored up for us. He’s ready to grant blessings upon blessings to us.  But if we continue to look back and live in the past, if we buy into who the devil says we are, we’ll miss those blessings. We will miss them because living in the past steals the present.

If there is anyone who knew how to press on it was Paul, and he had every reason to hold onto the past. He had every reason to beat himself up, agree with the Accuser’s lies and give into shame and self-hatred. He had every reason not to embrace Christ’s forgiveness or the divine purpose the Lord had assigned to him. After all, Paul (then Saul) was directly responsible for having people of The Way arrested, thrown into jail, and punished. And, when Stephen was stoned, he stood by giving his approval (Acts 7:58; 8:1).

But after —literally—an enlightening experience on the road to Damascus with the Lord, he was transformed. Because of the atrocities he had committed against people in hatred, he could have stayed stuck in the past—but he didn’t. 

He was enraptured by God’s love and considered himself a servant bonded to Jesus (Romans 1:1) and he pressed on toward the goal to win the prize for which Christ had called him heavenward in Christ Jesus (Philippians 3:14).

Can you imagine what Paul would have missed . . .how he would have missed cooperating with God in his amazing, divine redemptive story had he been unwilling to let go of what was and unwilling to receive redemption for his past sins? He would have never been able to say, “I press on.” 

Is something from your past holding you captive? Do you feel guilty or shamed about something you have done or something that has been done to you? By looking back are you allowing the devil to steal your present and your future? If so, it’s time to get angry at the Accuser. It’s time to stand up and say, “I press on.”

“Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).


Lord, thank you that you have given me the Authority to overcome the evil one and his accusations. In you, there is redemption. In you, you make all things new. In you, I am forgiven. I don’t need to keep looking back. Amen.


If you need to, stand up to the devil today and tell him to hit the road.

Related Reading

Revelation 2:10; Ephesians 6:11; 1 John 5:4; Ephesians 6:16

Worship Resource

Mandisa: Overcomer


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