Life in the Rearview Mirror (Philippians 3:12-16)

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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.”
–Philippians 3:13-14

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.

1. 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.

2. Regret and Condemnation

We’ve all made mistakes in life, whether you were a drug addict or a goody two-shoes.  We all have regrets, past sins, failures, etc. I fail as a wife.  I fail as a mother.  I fail as a friend, daughter, and child of God., 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.

3. Grievances and Wrongs against us.

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.

Remember Lot’s Wife…

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?


  1. Anonymous says

    This passage in Philippians is one of my favorites. It's one of those verses that is easily memorized and so pertinent to so many things in our lives…forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…love it! Thanks for these thoughts, Gail (

  2. Anonymous says

    Thank you, God gave me that scripture today so I looked it up. Wow! Thank you for the breakdown you give. I needed it. Also it’s my nieces birthday and I am sending this to her.

  3. H. Martinez says

    Thank you so very much for sharing. This post helped me in dealing with an “issue” from my past with which I can’t seem to break ties. Your words adminish me to allow God to finish for work He began years ago by allowing Him to enter a new phase of healing wherein He may continue a work I couldn’t in a million years, by His grace. Agakn, thsnk you! 💕

    • Crystal Brothers says

      I am so glad to hear that this post was helpful to you! Yes, let Him finish His work. Just today in my own Bible reading the Lord admonished me with something similar regarding healing and living in His promises. God bless!

  4. Kim says

    Thank you for your expounding on this verse. God put this verse on my heart after a past hurt that could have the potential to cripple me if I did not surrender that hurt to GOD and allow His love and healing to flow in my life. Now I am not focued on the past but on God’s future for me which far exceeds the hurts of my past.

I love to hear your feedback and value your thoughts! All I ask is that we remain respectful and civil, even when we disagree. Thanks so much for reading. I appreciate you!

Thank you for joining in the discussion!