“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, press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. ” Philippians 3:13 & 14
There are many who struggle with letting go of the past. In short, there are many who struggle with anything that resembles letting go and simply moving on. Letting go can often mask as if you are the crews captain abandoning his ship, and somehow now you don’t care any longer to oversee what you’ve spent so long to build. Sometimes we must be strong enough to move past hurts, disappointments, failed marriages, failed jobs, new bosses, old church homes, poor school grades to poor thinking and have the strength to keep going despite what it may feel like! Life moves ahead whether we like it or not and we must move right along with it–whether we like it or not.
I love this scripture because Paul, though he hadn’t mastered it yet, was determined to forget all that was behind him, for he would not have become the Apostle he was if he held onto the past. And those of us familiar with Paul’s conversion know that Paul had quite a lot to try and be forgiven about and also forget about. Paul made horrible, horrible mistakes, but he didn’t stay in his guilt or depression, he allowed Jesus’ grace to heal him and then he moved on–with a new way of thinking. How many of us have received God’s forgiveness due to accepting Christ, but we are still condemning ourselves making it impossible to forget or move on? How many of us have missed out on wonderful opportunities, because we just can’t let go only to continue beating ourselves up?
Paul says as you allow God to govern your life strain on toward what is ahead of you. Straining ahead means it’s going to be difficult, but keep going. Paul says to press on toward the goal. Church, we must learn to be steadfast and if we hold onto God’s promises in his word then when we are being hit by every boulder and every fiery dart designed to take us down, we must learn to be like a football player, facing the opposing team, on the field during Superbowl. I have a game plan–do you?
I have to say this scripture is packed with a punch, because if we cling close to God then we are going to win a prize. How many of us are following a plan for our lives which will ultimately lead to a prize? Most people are after all sorts of frivolous things–things they can’t take with them. Not only am I learning to be a better person, while serving God, I also know in the end I will be with Jesus in heaven too. I know that whatever disappointments, delays or discouraging moments I might face I am guaranteed a storybook ending.
So, be encouraged as I was encouraged from this beautiful reminder from Paul. Keep going, keep hoping, and keep letting go of what is behind you and join me as we claim what God has for us ahead! In Jesus name…Amen