No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:13-14
I have a confession: I have a hard time getting rid of my old tennis shoes. Maybe you can relate. When I wear a pair out and buy a new pair, something in me wants to keep that old pair just in case I need them. The truth is, when I have a new pair of shoes, holding on to an old pair is not fully embracing my new pair of shoes. It’s a silly example, but if we fully embrace something, we have to get rid of the old, don’t we? This is true in many areas of our lives. If we want God to work in our lives and do new things, we have to let go of our old ways of life.
The apostle Paul understood the importance of letting go of the past to embrace the new lives we have in Christ. He talked about this in Philippians 3. He made it clear that his focus was on one thing: “forgetting the past, and looking forward to what lies ahead” (verse 13). Paul determined not to be focused on the past, which ultimately keeps us from moving forward. Because Paul was committed to letting go of the past, he could focus on Christ and the new story that Christ gave him. That is why Paul continued writing in Philippians 3, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (verse 14). Paul focused on Christ and how He was working in his life and changing his story without looking back.
Paul’s mindset is an incredible example for us. You see, we know that God wants to change our stories and that He can. Because of Jesus and the life, He offers when we place our faith in Him, He steps into our lives and stories and changes everything. We have to let go of the past and embrace the new lives that He offers. Let’s follow the example of Paul “forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead.”
As you consider the areas of your life where you want God to move and work, what do you need to let go of? Maybe you need to let go of a certain sin that you have struggled with. Maybe you need to let go of fear. Maybe you need to let go of a habit you know is not helping you grow in your relationship with Christ. Whatever the case, commit today to start taking steps to let go of what is holding you back.
Philippians 3:12-21 (NLT)
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
15 Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.
17 Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21 He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.
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