15 January 2006
As the New Year approaches we are reminded of the Apostle Paul's words to the Philippians: "forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus."
These words stand as great reminders to all Christians to live for the day, not for the past. Paul was not lingering in the past. His vision was upon the future. Paul was not saying, nor are we, that we should forget good memories and fond times with our family and loved ones. Certainly these are treasures we may all pull up and examine when we are at our lowest moments of doubt and fear. Nor is the Apostle telling us to negate any victories in our lives. These trophies are all given us for encouragement along the pathway of life. What the Apostle is doing is giving us all wise counsel which we believe to be a great resolution to focus in on for the coming year. He is advising us to forget some things.
It is our propensity to bring up failures, bad choices, mistakes and rehash them over and over again in our mind. We second guess our decisions and suppose had we been wiser our lot today would have been far better and happier. Surely, this is a tool of Satan. While we are looking over our shoulder at the past, we run into one brick wall after another. We see ourselves pictured in the ‘Failure Hall of Fame rather than the ‘Faith Hall of Fame'. If this is the way one feels, then we can be sure it is the way they will perform. Opportunities are missed and blessings pass over our heads. But let us take counsel from God's man. Paul had much to forget. His greatest regret was his sin ... he had put Christians to death! Surely, that was a crime difficult to forget. We think we see him waking up in the middle of the night in a deep sweat with the faces of his victims projected upon his thoughts. Over and over again his mistake, his sin, his faults came to his mind. There was only one avenue of escape, to prevent him from sure failure and that was to forget the past that haunted him and reach forth to the future with Jesus. We hear some say, "This sounds easy. You have not seen or done what I have done." Yet, what we say is not our own personal opinion. We read it as a promise from God, a promise that He will bless us to leave vain regrets and sin behind us with an eye to what we have in store with Christ Jesus. You may say, "Yes, but that man was an apostle." But God's word says that God's promise of forgiveness is "unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."(Acts 2:39). Are you a child of God? Then the promise is to you! Claim it my brother and live your life looking to what you may have with Christ, not what you have done in the past. Is it a bad decision? Now make some good ones through prayer. Is it a sin? Claim the promise that "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and jus to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." Take your sacrifice to the altar and leave it there with the faithful High Priest who will expiate your sin. It is then placed in the past, in the land of forgetfulness. We hear our Lord's words in our ears, "Go and sin no more." Look to the future. A New Year is upon us. Let us honor our great King and anticipate His return with joyful anticipation.