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.
Forget What Is Behind
It seems like, every few years, another movie comes out about time travel. We love these movies because we all wish we could go back and change our past. We all have regrets and guilt from things we’ve done or left undone. The problem is: ruminating on the past keeps us from living the Christian life in the present. It’s like a sprinter who keeps looking back instead of running to the finish line.
The apostle Paul was tempted to look back. In the past, he persecuted Christians even to the point of death. He thought it was God’s will to destroy Christianity. But then God called him not only to believe in Jesus but to be the lead missionary to bring the good news about Jesus to the ends of the earth. With such an important mission, he couldn’t waste time obsessing about his past.
So, he wrote: “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 3:13,14).
Paul would not let his shame and guilt from the past stop him from doing the ministry in the present. Jesus had overcome his past through his death and resurrection. God wanted him to run the race God had set out for him.
Even if someone invented the time machine, you wouldn’t need it. God has forgiven your past. Now he wants you to focus on what’s ahead. Keep taking hold of the love and acceptance you have in Christ, and live out the calling that God has given you.
Lord God, you have forgiven my past. Lead me to keep my eyes fixed on following you in the future and the heavenly home you are preparing for me. Amen.