Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal. (Phil. 3:13–14)

“DO YOU BELIEVE, do you really believe, that God has a plan for you?”

God’s presence was very real as Pastor Michael Gantt challenged us to cast aside our doubts and say yes to God. But it was not just doubts that held me back. Memories of how I’d tried and failed in the past felt like cold water poured on the fire that had been kindled within me.

Peter and Paul were used mightily by God in the early days of Christianity, yet both could have been enslaved to the mistakes they had made in the past. Peter had boasted that he was ready to die with Jesus. He had even drawn his sword and slashed off the right ear of the high priest’s servant when the soldiers and temple police came to arrest Jesus in the garden. Not long afterward, however, Peter denied three times that he knew Jesus.

Paul, who was then called Saul, took pride in defending his Jewish faith and in dragging Christian men and women out of their homes and putting them in jail.

I’m so grateful for Peter and Paul’s example of moving beyond their past mistakes. And I’m grateful that our God is a redeeming God. We do not need to wallow in past mistakes and allow them to stop us from reaching the goal God has set for us.

Choose today to let go of a past mistake and say yes to God.

Marlene Bagnull is a wife, mother, and grammy to three youngsters who live within walking distance. She directs two Christian writers’ conferences.