If you’re like me, you have a past that is riddled with mistakes. Sometimes I wish I could have a redo of certain things I did that hurt others. Yet life goes on and I try to learn from my mistakes. I am thankful for the Word of God, His Spirit, to guide me. It’s the same feeling I think Paul expresses in Philippians 3:13-14: “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (NASB).”
I like the line, “forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.” In light of Jesus in his life, Paul certainly had a lot in his past that he wanted to put behind him. In Phillipians 3:5-6 he talks about his past righteousness, being a “Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless.” It was a righteousness based on his works, righteousness exposed as hollow when Jesus entered his life.
The deeper we grow in our relationship with Jesus; the more we read the Word of God; the more insight we gain into our past and our feeble efforts to be righteous on our own. Even those early steps into faith in Christ can seem awkward now compared to what you now know. Paul certainly has a lot in his past to be embarrassed about. Afterall, his zeal once drove him to persecute Christians. But Paul tells us to forget “what lies behind;” and to reach “forward to what lies ahead.”
We are continually being refined, matured in our faith in Christ. As we follow Jesus, we are bound to make mistakes. But the key is to “press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus (Phillipians 3:14).” May we continue to pursue God’s call for our life.
© 2020 CGThelen