“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14, New International Version).
Yesterday Cindy and I went to worship at the church she grew up in, the church where we were married. Golden Acres Baptist Church celebrated their 80th anniversary yesterday and it was great to renew old friendships and see people we had not seen in some time. We both had a good time.
Pastor Brannon Revel preached from Philippians 3 in the service. He talked about not resting on the past but pressing on to the future and the heavenly call in Christ Jesus. It was a good sermon.
As I was listening to the sermon I started thinking some of my own ideas about the text. I got to thinking about the things that have been part of my life, both good and bad. I, like all of us, have sinned. That is true. I, like many others, have also done some good things, things that have benefited people and things that have benefited Christ and His Church.
Through the early part of Philippians 3 Paul talks about his own history. He was a Jew from the Tribe of Benjamin. He was a Pharisee. He persecuted Christians. But in the end, he says forgetting what lies behind, looking forward to what is ahead, he presses on…
In the normal course of life I don’t think we can forget it all. I have clear memories about things I have done in my life, things I am proud of as well as other things, well not so much. And truly, I don’t think God expects of us to forget, otherwise why give us a memory. What I do think God expects of us is to use what is in our memory to help us move forward, to help us press on toward the heavenly call.
Brother Brannon was right, what is behind us is not as important as what is in front of us. Whether our personal history is eight years or eighty years, we experience, we learn and we press on. What is behind us is not as important as pressing on.
It seems to me, as people of faith we are called to forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead as we keep pressing on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus (paraphrased).
Have a blessed day in the Lord,
Grace and Peace,
Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved