Sunday, August 5, 2012


I recently got a Facebook email titled “Forget and be Fruitful.” Every comment left by those who read this post was extremely positive. A foundational verse to the article was one that many of us have memorized: “…one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14 ESV). One of the main ideas of the post was that too many believers wallow in the wounds and hurts they experienced in the past and how this can keep them from becoming more like Christ and living the abundant life in the present. As the title suggested, we just need to Forget and Be Fruitful.

I got to thinking; when it comes to the brokenness of the heart - all of the people I know and meet with (myself included) aren't able to do whatever it takes to somehow just "forget what lies behind." The more I thought about it, the more I disagreed with what I had just read.

One interesting fact, Paul wasn’t actually writing about forgetting the hurts, wounds, and abuses he experienced during his growing up years in Philippians 3. Many of us have taken this verse out of context. What Paul was discarding and forgetting was what he grew up trusting in to be right before God. Before Paul was Paul, he was Saul; the most zealous religious man of his day in the Pharisee sect.  He was sharing what his life was like before his supernatural Damascus road encounter with Jesus Christ. He was forgetting and counting as loss his misplaced zeal to earn righteousness from God by legalistically trying to obey the Pharisaical interpretation of the law. He was repudiating how that zeal led him to persecute the church and even consent to the murder one of God’s most choice servants (Stephen).

Another thing that dawned on me is that the ability to just forget the wounds of one’s past would primarily be an issue of willpower (or the denial of reality). If we really had the power to will ourselves into forgetting what the events that broke our hearts did to us during our growing up years, then one could argue that Christ died in vain. He went to the Cross precisely because of our lack of sufficient will power.

When Jesus began His ministry, He read from Chapter 61 of the scroll of Isaiah the prophet. If the healing of our hearts could be dealt with by “forgetting what lies behind,” then why did our Messiah say a central facet of what He was all about would be the healing of the brokenhearted and setting captives free. Only He can transform the ashes of our lives into a thing a beauty and turn the losses we mourn into occasions where we increasingly experience deep and everlasting joy. God alone can speak transformational truth to set us free from lies we’ve unwittingly believed. Only the Messiah can free us from the unbiblical vows we've made in our attempts to protect ourselves from further pain. Only Jesus has the authority and power to set us free from the deceptive lies of the enemy!  

The New Testament focuses on supernatural transformation of the heart and mind as the keys to becoming more like Christ and living an abundant fruitful life. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” is what Paul wrote in Romans 12:2. “Not by works of righteousness which we have done,” Paul wrote to Titus, “but according to His mercy He saved us through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5 NKJV).

We can’t transform ourselves by willpower, desire, intellect, theological studies & degrees, or forgetting … only God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are able to truly renew, transform, and regenerate us into His image. 

Yesterday I was having some deep fellowship with a friend and was reminded of a transformational moment that took place in my life about 8 years ago. As a Christian worker, one aspect of the job that’s especially difficult for me is what many insiders call “fund raising.” I was on a long trip where I had driven from state to state, and from city to city, and met with person after person sharing the ministry God had given me in hopes of increasing our financial support. The trip hadn’t gone well at all. For me, the most difficult facet of fundraising has always been mustering up the necessary courage and boldness to ask the person I’m with to give.

I had finished all of the appointments I’d set up and was on the last leg of my journey. I was really worn out and disheartened. I stopped at a roadside rest in Lamar, Colorado (in the middle of nowhere). I was feeling very dejected and like a cowardly failure.  I poured out my heart to God about my predicament, but it didn’t seem to help much.

As I sat in my car and tried to doze off for a short nap, out of nowhere a thought popped into my mind: “I am for you, My mighty warrior. I was startled to say the least.  It came a second time, “Yes, I am for you. You are My mighty warrior.” I had been feeling like a deflated coward and was wallowing in self-pity … but the Holy Spirit who lives within me was calling me forth into a new transformational identity. “I am is for you, Rusty. You are My mighty warrior!”

Saul had his name changed by God to Paul in his transformational process. In 2 Corinthians 3:18 he wrote: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”

Transformational Listening Exercise:
I have two questions for you to consider that come from a message on Hearing from God by Jamie Winship. Close your eyes for few minutes and pray. Ask God to communicate with you.

1.    What are the names that the world, your past wounds & hurts, and the enemy calls you? Write them down on a piece of paper.

2.    After you’ve completed #1, talk to God about them.

a.     Jesus, these names that the world calls me; right now, in Your powerful name and authority I renounce and reject them.

b.    I further ask in the Your power and authority a second question. Jesus, what name do You call me by? What is Your view of me? How do You identify me?

Wait on Him and then jot down what comes to you on a piece of paper.

Remember what God says about who you are is very different from the identity the world and your wounds have tagged you with. Your worldly identity is almost second nature to you. It will take faith on your part to believe and receive what God says about you because it is not your natural way of thinking about yourself. It’s supernatural.

If you’d like to watch and listen to the full Jamie Winship message click on this link:  Chose the message given on 03/09/10. 


  1. Thanks for this post. It is so timely. I clicked on the link to hear Jamie's message and it isn't working. I would love to hear it. Jamie had spoken at church and at our men"s retreat in February. God is really using them to introduce Listening Prayer. We just had Jamie and Donna Winship back at our church last week.I had just bought your book and had showed it to Donna. I had actually found your blog when googling the Winships and Listening prayer! Such a small world! I love how God does that!
    Blessings, Amy Cowand The Woodlands, TX

  2. Amy - I just repaired the link so it will now take you to Jamie's messages. I got there by googling "hearing from God by Jamie Winship" if the link disassociates again. I've never met Jamie & Donna but have heard very good things about them and their ministry. I'm excited to hear you ran across the book I wrote and the blog. Thanks for for comment.
    God is on the move!
    - Rusty