The 16th-century Venetian artist, Titian, portrayed Prudence as a man with three heads in his painting, “An Allegory of Prudence.” One head featured a youth facing the future, another represented a mature man eyeing the present, and the last head portrayed a wise old man gazing back at the past.
Over their heads, Titian wrote a Latin phrase that translates, “From the example of the past, the man of the present acts prudently so as not to imperil the future.” Oftentimes our past failures and fear of repeating them again torment us. But we need to remember the kind of wisdom Titian displayed in his painting, so we can avoid the kind of anxiety that keeps us from enjoying life to the fullest right now.
The apostle Paul was able to forget his past and look forward to his future. He said, “Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).
While his memory wasn’t completely erased of past faults, he knew that God had forgiven him and he was free from any guilt or pride that had been bottled up inside. As you live in daily fellowship with the Lord, trials only make you more like the Savior. Don’t let your past cloud your present and future. Determine this year to have one driving passion—to know Christ more intimately than ever before.
— Pray and rededicate your life to Christ following Paul’s example. Ask Jesus to enable you to live fully in the present, gain wisdom from the past, and face the future with courage.