Philippians 3:12 – 14 “I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal, but I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that, which is the reason he made me his. Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.”
Reading over these verses in Philippians, I couldn’t help but think about the Olympic games back in February of this year. Throughout the games reporters showed those back home watching how individual Olympians prepared for their event. We got to hear all about how they made it to PyeongChang. The commonality between all of the interviews that I heard were their dedication to training. Some of them had a mental picture of their event, with their end result in mind. I can’t remember if any of the athletes actually said this but I wonder if they have even envisioned winning one of the top three prizes so they could stand on the medal stand and see their country’s flag raised. The one thing I do know is these athlete never quit.
Like the athlete, we should take the same approach on our own walk with Christ. In the third chapter of Philippians, Paul writes that “he hasn’t yet reached the goal.” When I first read these words I had to stop for a minute …Paul of all people surely had it all together, didn’t he? Look at how his life had dramatically changed since bumping into Christ on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:2-3). He went from persecuting Christians (Acts 7:54-60) to being persecuted himself for spreading the good news of Jesus Christ. He was hungry to know Christ and teach other to do the same…didn’t he have it all together? Well, in chapter 2 of Philippians we see Paul encouraging the church at Philippi to continue to work out their salvation with fear and trembling. We should never think that we are mature enough in our faith or we have it all under control. This thought could allow pride or another sin the opportunity to creep in and gain a foothold.
Like Paul, we should “press on” by forgetting what is in our past. The past is gone. We can’t do anything about it – don’t dwell there. If you haven’t asked God to forgive you for your sin you must start there. If there is any restitution to be made with others then certainly you may need to begin working through and healing in that area, but don’t allow that to hinder your Christian growth. Jesus has a plan and purpose for your life – so get out there and start doing what God has called you to do. As we begin to trust Christ more, the more we learn about him and the closer we will draw to him.
Focus on the prize ahead (eternity with Christ) and allow Jesus to help heal to wounds of the past.