Forgetting What is Behind
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead…Philippians 3:13
I know that there are some of us who find it hard to break free to the life that God has called us to. I do know this for a fact in my own life, when I am stuck, when my life seems to be spinning out of control, I can retrace it to something from my past. I find it interesting that Paul in the above verse, tells us right up from that he does not consider that he has made it his own. He has not arrived, the goal has not been achieved, he is not where he will ultimately end up. This encourages me, because when I read Paul’s work and I look at the testimony that Dr Luke gives us concerning Paul, I come away thinking he was a great man of God (which he was), and that he was near perfect (which he wasn’t). I am grateful because I am a man of God (only God can really say we are great), and I am definitely not perfect.
So, you may be asking why are you encouraged by what he said? I am encouraged because he stated that he hasn’t arrived but he does one thing that is of importance. What is that one thing? Forgetting the past and straining forward to what lies ahead. Forgetting the past is a daily thing you know. I know that in my experience as a believer, everything I get stuck in my walk with the LORD, or if I find myself worried or anxious about something, it has a connection to my past especially if the past had a negative outcome. So, what Paul tells us is, that we need to forget that which is behind, put it in the rearview mirror and don’t look back into the mirror. Leave whatever it is back there. The problem with many of us when we come to the things of the past is, we want to forget the horrible things, but we have to forget those things that might have worked for us in the past, but are really things of our flesh. If you read early in chapter 3, Paul gives us his resume (and it is pretty good), but it was filled with things done in his flesh. Now, did God use some of those things in Paul’s ministry, yes, yes, and again yes, but they were Spirit driven then and not driven by his own flesh.
Not only does he tell us to forget that which is behind, but we are to strain towards that which is ahead. Are you straining towards that which is ahead? What is it that is ahead? Paul gives us a hint in the next verse, 14” I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” He is pressing on, he is straining forward, this doesn’t sound like it was a cake walk. I know that I get myself in a huge pity party when life gets difficult because I think it was supposed to be easy. Again, Paul’s life is a great example to us, he had anything but an easy life (see 2 Corinthians 4: 7 – 12 and Acts 9 – 28). Paul did not have it easy, as a matter of fact, if you really read the Bible with any understanding at all, not many of the men and women of God had an easy life. I do not think easy is something that God calls us to, as a matter of speaking, that which God calls us to is impossible, that is why he has given us His Holy Spirit, His Holy Word, and His Holy Church. This is why that apostle Peter told his readers, “3 His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to[a] his own glory and excellence,[b] 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.”
Hear me brothers (and sisters) who are reading this blog. Not that I have arrived, Lord knows (and so does everyone who knows me) but one thing that I do, I forget that which is in the past (the good and not so good), and I press on or strain ahead for that which is in my grasped to handle today. Why? Because there is a prize that is awaiting for me in Christ Jesus, in heaven itself. Know what that prize is, Jesus himself. I can’t wait to get home to claim that prize, but until then, I have a past that has been redeemed, a present that is full of power and promise, and a future hope that is as safe as the One who has promised it.
Have a great week. I hope you guys are enjoying these blogs, and if you want to reach out to me personally, get my email from Bill Welte, I am sure that he will give it to you. Thanks a bunch for staying in the race. Maybe we will discuss that next time. Doug Barger is Director of Men’s Ministry at Bethesda Mission and you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Daily Bible Reading: Matthew 18-20
Think About This: The problem of getting great things from God is being able to hold on for the last half hour. Author Unknown
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Ephesians 5:15-16