PAUL: “Forget The Past And Press On!”
“Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal.” Philippians 3:13-14 NKJV
Regrets about the past are a part of life. We can either let them get us down and hold us back, or we can rise above them and move on. Paul’s advice above is good for every Christian: Forget the past and press on! Dwelling upon past failures hinders our forward progress, and this is exactly what Satan wants. That’s why we’re told in Hebrews, “to lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us.” Dwelling on the past is a weight that does not let us “run with endurance the race … before us” (Heb. 12:1).
And Paul spoke from experience. He had every reason to feel guilty about his past, especially in light of his future. He had been one of the chief persecutors of Christians: “He made havoc of the Church … dragging off men and women, committing them to prison” (Acts 8:3). But instead of letting remorse for past deeds, or even pride for past accomplishments (Phil. 3:4-6), limit his future activities, we find him “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead.” He demonstrated that the saving blood of his Savior was powerful enough to cleanse him from both the sins of his past and any guilt associated with them. Have we learned this lesson?
Paul proves to us that we don’t train for the faith race before entering it. We train while running it! Notice what happened shortly after Paul, the persecutor, encountered Jesus, the persecuted, on the road to Damascus: “Immediately he preached Christ in the synagogues.” And how did the Jews react? “All who heard were amazed, and said, ‘Is this not he who destroyed those who called on this name in Jerusalem?’” (Acts 9:20-21). So, let’s forget the past and press on toward the goal, because, as Paul wrote, there’s a “prize” at the end of the race – “the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14).
By Larry Ondrejack
With permission to publish by: Sam Hadley, Grace & Truth, 210 Chestnut St., Danville, IL., USA. Website: www.gtpress.org