PHILIPPIANS 3:13-14: “Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself as having taken hold of this. But this one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal for the reward of the upward calling of God in Messiah Yeshua.” TLV
OBSERVATION: Have you ever tried to forget the past? It really isn’t that easy to do. In fact, it really is not possible at all. In our human condition we hold a repository of memories, both good and bad. We remember our past victories, and we remember our past sins. So how are we to forget the past as Paul calls us to do in these verses?
While it is not possible to forget the past, it is possible to cease living in the past. This speaks to both our purpose and our perspective. Paul defines both of these for us in these verses from Philippians.
First, let’s look at our perspective. Paul says, “…But this one thing I do: forgetting what is behind, and straining toward what is ahead…”. While we in all honesty cannot wipe the past from our memories, we can choose where to put it in our priorities. Paul chose to put it behind him. This means that he made a conscience choice not to rehearse or focus on his past. To do this would only lead him back into a cycle of guilt and defeat. Paul chose to change his perspective.
We too can choose to change our perspective. We can focus on God’s Word, the wonderful things He has and is doing in our lives, and the promise of our eternal inheritance in Christ Jesus. When we begin to look at life through the promises of God our whole perspective on life changes. This is a battle, but it is a battle that we can win in the Spirit through the power of Jesus Christ!
- “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly but powerful through God for the tearing down of strongholds. We are tearing down false arguments and every high-minded thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. We are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Messiah—”. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5 TLV
The enemy will always try to get us to focus on our past sins, failures, and hurts. Yet, we can take these thoughts captive, we can tear down every thought that is not in agreement with God’s Word. How do we do this? By proclaiming the truth about God and about what He has said about us! We overcome our past by the word of our testimony and by the blood of the Lamb (Revelation 12:11)!
Once we put our past in perspective, we must cultivate our new purpose. We must engage each day in our divine calling in Christ Jesus.
- “I press on toward the goal for the reward of the upward calling of God in Messiah Yeshua.”
What is this high upward calling? It is to become like Christ!
- “Now we know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, so that He might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those whom He predestined, He also called; and those whom He called, He also justified; and those whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say in view of these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how shall He not also with Him freely give us all things?” Romans 8:28-32 TLV
Our purpose is filled with promise! As we change our perspective, and as we engage in our divine purpose, God is powerfully active in our lives. He redeems our broken past and works it for His ultimate good. Day by day we find our lives being conformed into the image of Jesus Christ. We stand before the Lord completely justified, graciously loved, and fully accepted in Christ. When the enemy tries to stir up our past, we have an advocate who rises to defend us – Jesus Christ our Lord! And we have the assurance that God will continually provide all of our needs according to His riches and glories in Christ Jesus!
When I was a child I would earn money to go to Disneyland. In those days you purchased a ticket book. The rides were classified by letters. The best rides required an “E” ticket, and rides like the horse trolley an “A” ticket, with everything in between. You only received three “E” tickets, so you had to choose wisely. Yet, in the Kingdom of God we have received a booklet of endless “E” tickets. When we look inside the pages of Scripture we are fully assured,
- “For in Him all the promises of God are “Yes.” Therefore also through Him is the “Amen” by us, to the glory of God.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 TLV
So, when you have an “E” ticket, why focus on the “A” ticket of the past! Our call is to put the past in perspective and focus on our purpose. As we look forward the past seems to grow farther and farther in the distance, and its hold loosens its grip! We don’t want to be like Lot’s wife who looked back. Her life became an unproductive pillar of salt as she focused on what she was to leave behind. We cannot change our past, but by God’s grace, and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we can live in His fullness as we focus upon our high upward calling of God in Christ Jesus!
Lord, this morning, I choose to look forward! I choose to put and keep the past behind me and to engage in Your purpose for my life!
In Jesus Name!