Philippians 3:13-14, NIV
One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Every day we depend on the memory of things we have learned about in the past. Without memory none of us could ever function. We would constantly be asking the same people what their name is, but then we wouldn\’t be able to remember our own name either! And we would be permanently lost, not knowing where places are – and we could never go out, because we would never be able to remember where we lived in order to get back home! Life would be totally chaotic. It doesn\’t take much thought to realise that memory is one of the most important facets of our God-created humanity. We cannot, literally, forget what lies in the past for, if we did, life would become intolerable.
So, in this very important Scripture, Paul cannot be telling us to forget the past by wiping our brain clean of its memories. But he is telling us not to so dwell on the events of the past, that we fail to live in the present and we miss God\’s best for our future.
Some people begin the New Year by making New Year Resolutions. They think of things they would like to change – such as their weight – or things they would like to do in the New Year. But most such resolutions are long forgotten within a matter of days of having made them. Soulish enthusiasm for something new will never stand the test of time.
But what would happen if all believers approached the New Year with a different question and asked God what were His plans for them? And then we spent some time with God waiting on Him so that we could listen to His still small voice? We would then have fresh vision for the year ahead – and if it is vision from Him then we wouldn\’t run out of soulish energy in no time at all, but we would discover His sustaining power, enabling us to press on toward the goal He has put before us.
For Paul, his days on earth were coming to an end, but even in those conditions he wanted to make the most of whatever time he had left, so that he would not be found wanting when His call heavenward finally came. What an encouragement Paul is to us to redeem all the years that are to come, not dwelling on what has been (in the past) but rejoicing in what is to come, knowing that what He envisions, He will also enable!
Prayer: Lord, above all, I need to hear your voice leading me into the year ahead. With allmy heart I choose to follow and serve you and press on towards the goal you have put before me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.