Philippians 3:13,14 NIV
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to
Have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what
is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press
on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called
me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
Paul then unpacks a list of his attainments and achievements. He says he is of the tribe of Benjamin; a Hebrew of Hebrews; and a Pharisee as for zeal. He says of himself as for legalistic righteousness he was faultless. Yet in all of that it was not enough. I truly think he thought it was an amazing pedigree. He says in the twelfth verse I am letting it go whatever I have done in the past whether good or bad, whether I was of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew, a persecutor or a legalist. In verse 8 he says I consider it all lost.
Then in verse 14 he says I have a greater goal. I press toward that goal. The word press means to strain. It is the future that Christ had for him. Paul is saying I am not there yet, but I know there is more. This man, Paul, had planted many churches, two-thirds of the New Testament is written by him, and he has been on a number of extended missionary journeys. Yet he says I am moving forward. Paul makes it clear that he will not slip into complacency or apathy in regards to his life in Christ. I believe that the cross has come to get us beyond the past that we cannot change. That huge undertaking of the redemptive work of the cross is what sets us free to move beyond the past and into God’s purpose for our lives.
I am a strong believer that the past does not define your future. It is the cross of Jesus Christ and my conformity to his life that defines my future. The other day I filled in a paper for Statistics Canada. They wanted all sorts of information. Apparently it helps our government in future planning. After I did it, I realized that documents do not define our lives. Often we are told we do not have enough education, we are not smart enough, we are not gifted enough, we are not talented enough, and we are put within the limits of how others define us. Medical professionals say it is terminal, the problem you have is incurable, and it is over for you. It may be the facts, but it is not the truth. I ask you a question. Is God supernatural? Then put no limits on him. Nothing is impossible with Him and all things are possible at the same time. I want to dream God’s dreams. I want my future to be defined by what He has said therefore I press toward the mark; the high calling in Christ Jesus. I need to displace the lies of the enemy. I need to step into what God says and live it the way God would empower me to live.
In conclusion this is very much predicated upon our dealing with the past and all that went with it to realize that in this moment all of God’s opportunities are with us. It is time for us to engage with God for our healing; for our recovery; for our future, for our conformity to his son Jesus Christ.