Isaiah 28-29 Philippians 3
“I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal, but I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that, which is the reason he made me his. Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.” (Philippians 3:12-14 NCV)
When we think of spiritual giants, Paul comes to mind. Do you want a great example of faith? Paul’s the man. When Paul described his spiritual walk, he told the Philippians that he still had work to do. He hadn’t reached his goal of being the man that God wanted him to become. He made it clear that he still had to keep trying to reach that goal of godliness and make it his own. He gave some classic advice when he talked about how he was seeking to reach that goal, advice that we could all use: forget the past and press on toward God’s call in your life. I think Paul understood that no one will reach that goal until the day God calls us home, but he kept seeking to draw closer to God in his life each day.
We love to dwell in the past. Either we stew over past mistakes, letting them consume us and destroying any hope for our future, or we exalt in past victories, blinding us to the possibilities of the tasks God’s placed in front of us. Our experiences should shape our future, but they shouldn’t define it. Paul mentioned his past often, but he used that as a springboard to tell people what God had done in his life since his days as a Pharisee. I can think about my past, especially the mistakes, and use them to remind me of how much God loves me and how much He’s changed me. My past made me who I am, but it doesn’t define my future. God defines my future. What part do I play? I walk in obedience to God’s call on my life. That’s why I can forget what happened forty or fifty years ago and focus on the future knowing that however much longer I live, I have the opportunity to live for Jesus every day. I might die tomorrow, or I might live for thirty or forty more years. Until that day comes, though I’m going to press forward to reach the goal of the high calling of Jesus Christ in my life.
Lord, the only way I can live for You is with Your power in me. Let me live for You every day. Let my life reflect Your hope for the future to a world that dwells obsessively in the past.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.