I PRESS ON
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. 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 3:12-14 NLT
There are so many great thoughts from this passage. This passage is one of my favorites in Paul’s writings because I think he sums up the key to his success in ministry and life. First, we see his humility. He acknowledges that he has not yet achieved the perfection in Christ that he desires. It is always good for us to live with enough self-understanding that we realize and admit we aren’t perfect. Second, Paul is choosing to “press on.” This is a very active phrase that includes intense effort. He is not casually waiting for God to do all the work. He is pressing forward to become more like Jesus. Third, Paul is focusing “on this one thing.” This should give us a cause to pause. I am a multi-tasked individual. This is not always good because I tend to get a lot done but in the busyness of all the effort, I can forget the focus on the most important things of life. Taking time to pause and remind ourselves of that which is important is an imperative job that few in our culture really do. Daily we should pause to remind ourselves of what is most important. Fourth, Paul learned to forget the past. The past can become a trap for our future. We can’t change the past, but we can learn from the past. We can choose to make the past our steppingstone, not our stumbling block. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is forget the past—the key is taking the next step. Fifth, Paul chose to place his attention on the future. He knew his future was with Almighty God. He wanted to know Jesus on earth so he could enjoy Jesus in eternity. His focus was on the eternal not the temporary. We can choose to be humble, to keep moving forward, and to invite the Holy Spirit to set our priorities and keep the first thing first. We can ask the Holy Spirit to help us forget the past and focus on the future.
Holy Spirit please help me to stay humble and keep moving forward. Show me what should be most important in my life. Help me to forget the past and focus on the future.
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