Read: Philippians 3:12-16
Key Verse: “One thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Dig Deeper: After these words, Paul goes on to say that all who are mature in Christ should have this mindset, and if not, God will reveal it to them. So, all of us should have this mindset, but what exactly is Paul talking about here? What things are (or at least should be) left behind and forgotten? Anything that gets in the way of our moving forward in Christ. Here are some things I think we should leave behind.
- Worldly Pursuits. God’s word tells us that once we are in Christ, we are a “new creation.” We are new in Him. Jesus says to follow Him, we should deny ourselves. When we accept Christ, we become a servant to Him. Worldly pursuits should be behind us and we should have a focused goal of following Christ. Worldly pursuits could look different for different people, but I don’t believe they are just sinful activities. Instead, I believe it encompasses anything we strive for that takes away from or goes against God’s purpose in our lives. Striving for worldly goals will only result in discontent, and distract us from the ultimate goal that Paul is speaking of here.
- Regret, past sins, failures, and condemnation. We’ve all made mistakes in life, whether you were a drug addict or a goody two-shoes. I fail as a wife. I fail as a mother. I fail as a friend, daughter, and child of God. Every.single.day, I fall short of who God has called me to be and who my family needs me to be. Yes, I need to learn from my mistakes and strive continually to be the woman that God created me to be. But, I cannot live in a place of self-condemnation. God inspires us with conviction. Satan disables us with condemnation. Regret wastes too much energy. Instead, past mistakes should be forgotten, so that we can move on and move forward in Him.
- Grievances and wrongs. God’s word talks many times about forgiving those who wrong us. There is a great quote, “Holding a grudge is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” Holding onto a grudge eats away at a person’s peace, and allows bitterness to take root in one’s heart. God requires forgiveness from us, just as he offers forgiveness to us. In addition to that, He realizes the harmful effects of bitterness and holding a grudge. It will hold you back and prevent you from giving yourself fully to Him and His purpose.
In the midst of discussing the second coming, Jesus says this simple statement in Luke 17:32, “Remember Lot’s wife.” We can find her story in Genesis 19:1-26. I challenge you to read it. There are so many disturbing aspects to this story, but mostly it shows the dangers of holding on to worldly pursuits. Lot was so caught up in the sinful world in which he was leaving that he had to be physically pulled away from the city (Genesis 19:16), even after being told that it would be destroyed. In Lot’s wife, we see the dangers of looking back to such a life.
If there is something in your life that needs to be left behind and forgotten, I pray that God will help you release it so that you can do as Paul, and forget those things that are behind and press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus!
What other things do you think we should forget and leave behind?