“Brothers, 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…” - Philippians 3:13
Have you ever tried to run forward while looking backward? If so, you likely fell down or bumped into something. One of the first lessons we learn as children is to always watch where we are going. It’s dangerous not to. The same is true spiritually.
While our eyes cannot see Jesus, our hearts can. The problem is that our minds try to hijack our hearts, pulling us towards past mistakes, disappointments, betrayals, and failed attempts. The flesh whispers, “What’s the use?” into the ears of the heart, tempting us to give up and settle for a mediocre and ineffective relationship with Christ…robbing us of the abundant life that is ours in Christ.
But God reminds us through Paul’s letter to the Philippians that giving up is not an option. Have we failed in the past? Of course, we have. We have messed up and broken promises and said one thing and done another…but that doesn’t have to be the end of the story. We have a risen Savior who has given us the power and the opportunity to repent and do things differently. He became sin and tasted death for us, conquering both when He rose from the grave. In Him, there is always hope!
“Repent” means to turn from one thing to another…from sin to Jesus Christ. Paul says he forgets the past and strains towards the future. If you are stuck in the past, it is time to turn the eyes of your heart forward and let go in faith. Focus on God’s goodness and grace. If there is unconfessed sin in your past, repent and turn to Jesus.
I truly believe that if we could see into the spiritual realm…if we could see what lies ahead for us in Christ, forgetting the past and focusing on the prize would not be hard at all. But since we cannot see with physical eyes, we must trust the Word of God and the promises contained in it. We don’t have to fear the past or the future. After all, we are running in, through, for, and towards the One who holds all things together.
Dear Jesus, thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross. I know that without the shedding of Your blood, my sins could not be forgiven. Because I have forgiveness, I am able to let go of past mistakes, hurts, and disappointments. Help me to remember today that my hope is in You alone. In Jesus' name, amen.