Scripture: Philippians 3:
12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 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, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Observation: We can’t let the past hinder us from reaching forward toward where God is leading us.
Application: This morning I’m reminded of one of my old favorite movies from the 80’s, “Young Guns.” There is a scene where Kiefer Sutherland is talking to Emilio Estevez about the past and he says something like, and I’m trying to paraphrase from memory here, “The past is like an old yellow back novel, when you’re finished with it you throw it away and you start a new one.” That would be a good thought for the day, I think it applies here as I look at this scripture.
If anyone in the world had a past to think about it was Paul. He could either lament over it, or he could boast over it. He had been around that’s for sure, a Roman citizen, a Jewish Pharisee and zealot, a persecutor of the new Christian Movement, Paul had a past that could have slowed him down if he had dwelt on it.
Sometimes we allow our pasts to slow us down as well. And we fall into the same kind of traps. Perhaps we are ashamed of our pasts, and we allow that shame for the former things to hinder the good we could be doing now because we fear people will bring up our past or talk bad about us behind our backs. Then there is the past that is full of good deeds and hard work, and we rest on our laurels, in other words we stop trying because we are satisfied with our past achievements and works. And either of these ways of dealing with the past is wrong because they both keep us from pursuing the work that God is calling us to do.
You say, “I’ve done enough, its time for me to rest,” or “people wont listen to me because of what I’ve done.” Wrong – God is not done with you! How do I know? Because you’re reading this right now. If you’re still breathing, then God is not done with you. Your work is NOT done, and your path has NOT reached the end. It’s not over till GOD says it’s over!
So forget the past, whether good or bad or indifferent, only what you are doing now matters at all. Wake up, put your running shoes on and keep pushing for the prize. The Good Ol’ Days are still yet to come!
Prayer: God of Heaven and Earth,
I thank you for allowing me another day in which to pursue your goals and purposes. Grant me the strength and resolve to do what you would have me to do, and to complete the work you have given me. Let me not rest on the past, nor be halted by my failures and keep me focused on the prize which is eternal communion with you.
Yield: I give up my dwellings on the past.