“No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” – Philippians 3:13-14.
Our world likes us to believe that our past determines the future direction of our life. If you were treated unfairly, that will dictate the condition of your life today. If you were rebellious in your youth, the remainder of your life will be spent struggling with rebellion. But the future is not a prologue to our future.
For one thing, as Christians, we know that Christ has overcome our past. The “The old life is gone; a new life has begun.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) If you are preoccupied with your past, ask God to open your eyes to the incredible future that awaits you and begin, like Paul, to press on to what is ahead.
In Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan uses the image of a Christian carrying on the way, until one day he grew kind of content with his life and stopped to take a nap. When he stopped to take a nap he forgot his summons, and he was captured and brought into the Pit of Despair for a while until he remembered what he had, then he had to go back. He messed up the entire journey. Paul is saying I’m not going to do this, I’m going to press on the goal for the prize of the upward call of God and in Christ Jesus. He says I’m not going to stop, I know how far I have come, praise the Lord, but that’s not enough because there’s still more to gain. I haven’t arrived yet and so I’m going to press on toward the finish line.
It may not be easy, but we need to forget all those past hurts, pains, failures, disappointments, rejection, regretful actions, conversations, and misunderstandings, of the past. In order for you to move forward into that place that God has destined for you to be, you have got to let go of the past. Purpose in your heart and mind that the past will not be your focus in the future. Forgetting the past and reaching toward the future with Christ in view is where we need to head throughout the remainder of 2022. We should never forget that God loves us. Like a trusted friend, He encourages us. He nudges us to press on. To stay in whatever race we are in. To stay focused on whatever it is He wants us to do.
As we gather as a church as a community, as we gather in small groups and other places where we have the opportunity to gather together, the goal is to press forward together. This is a team sport, it’s not an individual race. Do you realize that? We have front row seats to that in each other’s lives. That’s what the church is. That’s what our hope is together and together we can press forward.
- What things do you fear in the future whether that is tomorrow or twenty years from now.
- What truths about God are you struggling to believe related to these fears? What can you do this week to strengthen your faith in those areas.