Forgetting The Past, Straining Toward What Is Ahead

I’m sure many sermons were based off of Philippians 3:12-16 yesterday, since it was the first Sunday of 2011 and all. And rightfully so, it is a good time to take stock and think about what lies ahead. Part of that self inventory usually entails examining how one is living their life, especially as it relates to one’s past failures, present realities and future hopes. No doubt, the Apostle Paul offers some really good, down to earth wisdom in Philippians 3. Take a look:

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.

15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained. (Philippians 3:12-16, NIV)

1. It’s clear from the passage that the Apostle Paul, though he used to live a life that he came to regret, was able to move on and leave the past in the past. How does this speak to you? Have you been able to move on from your mistakes and allowed God to help you pursue his plans for your life?

2. The Apostle Paul understood and new what it meant to strain ahead to the future once he let go of his past. The thing of it is, you can’t let life just happen to you. You have to “strain toward what is ahead” and “press on toward the goal.” After further study, one would find that these verses are about Heaven and our final destination there. What does it look like for you to strain forward and press on?

(photo from Mykl Roventine)