Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Pressing On

Philippians 3:13-14

13 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, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

profileOK – 2014 is here and 2013 is gone.  One thing I know is you cannot go back – you can remember but you cannot go back – at least until someone invents a time machine.  As much as I listen to 70’s music – the 70’s are not coming back.

Too many people live in the past.  Some live in the mistakes of their past and some live in the safety of their past.  Some folks had very good childhoods and for some – their adult life is not the same – and so they run to a safe place – their past.  It is almost like trying to drive while looking in the rear view mirror.  You cannot keep focused on what is ahead of you when you are so focused on what is past.

Paul writes – forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.  Here is today’s passage in partial context.  Philippians 3:8-16 – 8 Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— 10  that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead.  12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13 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, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 15 Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. 16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

Our past is important – but it does not define our future.  I know people who have pasts they wish they could forget.  I have things in my past I wish I could change.  How about you?  But we cannot change the past – only the present and the future.  Whether your past is good or bad – we cannot return to it – we must press forward.

Paul was writing about bragging rights in this passage.  He said he had more reasons than any others to brag about his past.  But it wasn’t about his past but rather about what he and others were striving toward now and in the future.

The Ravens won the Super Bowl for the 2012-2013 season – but that didn’t help them in the 2013-2014 season – they ended up 8-8.  They can’t go back and change anything about the games played last season – but they can press on and strive to improve for the 2014-2015 season and beyond.

What about us?  Are we resting on past laurels or dwelling in past defeats?  If so – we need to free ourselves from the past and press on to be all that God would have for us.  Seek His face and desire His grace today and if we have a tomorrow – tomorrow!  Press on!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

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January 8, 2014 - Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Sermons, Theology | , , , , , , , , ,

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