“Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 3:12-14
Today is the last day of the year. Many of us are looking forward to the end of this year. For a lot of reasons this has been a hard year for a lot of people. Today is a day commonly reserved for resolutions for the new year. It is a time for serious reflection of where our life has been, and is, and where we want it to be. Deep down inside we know that our lives are not all doomed to fate. We know that our attitudes and actions have an effect on what direction our life goes. Is there any advice in Scripture on how to go through this process? Read the verse above one more time.
Paul is describing his process. I believe it is a process we should go through daily, but New Year’s Eve is a great day to start. The first thing Paul admits is that he hasn’t already obtained perfection. We need to understand that God is alright with our flaws. He doesn’t condone our sinfulness. He knows what effect sin has on our lives and that is why He sent His Son into the world to redeem us. It is OK that you are not where you thought you would be at this point in time. None of us is. But here is the most important part! Paul said: “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind …” Brothers and Sisters this is a key thought. Paul was saying that there can be no significant improvement in our lives until we forget what is behind. What he was saying is that we must forgive and forget what lies behind before we can move forward.
If there is one thing we must do today, it is to go through the process of true repentance. We need to lay our wrongs before the cross of Jesus and find that there they are forgiven and forgotten. God punished Jesus for our sins and today He remembers them no more. If God has forgiven and forgotten our sins, why do we continue to carry them around? All they do is drag us down and make us feel like nothing can change in our lives. Right now, let’s stop for a minute and reflect on the last year. Let’s give up any ugliness that still hides there and place it on the cross. Now, let’s walk away in the freedom of that forgiveness. Feel the load being removed from your shoulders?!?! Stop! Do not look back again! Never look back again! God has forgotten our sins and it is time for us to forget them too. Have you truly “forgotten what is behind”? If so, then continue with Paul’s instruction.
Paul says that now that he has forgotten what lies behind he “strains toward what is ahead.” He pressed on! The imagery here is of a runner straining for the finish line. As we look to the coming year, Paul tells us not to be dragged along through time but to strain toward goals and plans that we have made. Here is where successful resolutions are made. Now that we have let go of the dead weight of the past we can move forward toward the things we want for the new year. If it is not already on our resolution list, we need to add that we will strive to be more Firmly Rooted in God’s Word this new year. Paul places first on his list his spiritual resolutions and I think we should too. It will be tough to get our physical resolutions going right if our spiritual ones are not in place. Let’s agree to put spiritual things first. Jesus said, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you”
(Matthew 6:33 KJV).
Please read the Philippians verses one more time. May they be the guiding words to your resolution process today and into the new year.
May God richly bless your New Year!