This One Thing I Do (Philippians 3:12-14)
Philippians 3:12-14, Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, 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.
The greatest enemy of the early church in Jerusalem was Saul of Tarsus. Fanatical in his opposition to the followers of Jesus Christ, he took every opportunity to persecute, arrest, and even execute Christians, not just in Jerusalem but across the country and in neighboring lands. Saul was on his way to Damascus when an encounter with Jesus radically changed his beliefs. Though he became just as passionate a follower of Jesus as he had once been an opponent, the man who came to be known as Paul still had the blood of many on his hands. Paul could have allowed the memories of what he had done before he met Jesus to hold him in bondage. He could have been overwhelmed by guilt and remorse, but he put the past behind him and kept his focus on the future.
Paul did not claim that he had reached any sort of perfection in his spiritual life, or had fully comprehended Who Christ is. If Paul did not feel like he had reached the peak but still needed to improve, there are certainly areas where we still need work as well. May we get to the point where we can say, “I am not allowing my past life to drag me down. Rather, I am moving full speed ahead toward the goal. And in Heaven, when Christ calls me home, I'll receive the prize—I'll be like Christ: that is, completely conformed to His image”. We would all admit that we have failed in the past. That is, we have fallen short of God's goal for our lives. Don’t let your past keep from serving the Lord in the present. God always remembers to forget the sin He forgives (Isaiah 43:25; Hebrews 8:12; 10:17)
One of the most important benefits we receive from God’s freely offered salvation is freedom from the burdens of the past. The devil works hard to keep us in bondage to the past because he knows how much it hinders our service to God. The Christian life is not meant to be lived while looking backward. If you spend all your time today thinking about your failures or successes from yesterday, then you will ruin your tomorrow. Yesterday is like a rearview mirror. When you go for a drive in the car, you use a rearview mirror. A rearview mirror shows you what's behind you. You need a rearview mirror, but you only need a rearview mirror to glance in, not to live in. You don't move forward by focusing on a rearview mirror; you move forward by focusing on the windshield. If you live in a rearview mirror, you will get hurt and possibly hurt somebody else. But in front of the rearview mirror is the windshield, a much bigger piece of the glass. The windshield shows you where you are going and that's a lot bigger than where you have been. Don't let yesterday mess up today, which will ruin tomorrow. While you are driving forward in your Christian life, every now and then look in your rearview mirror. Just don't stare too long. Instead, God’s forgiveness allows us to look forward, and to accomplish all that we can for Him.
Paul was not distracted by his surroundings, he was just heading for the goal. When he did reach the end of his life, he was able to leave behind the testimony that he had indeed run well and finished well. "For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:" II Timothy 4:6-7. We must avoid the trap of becoming distracted by the events of this life. There is a mark, there is a goal and we should be striving for that goal in our lives! May the Lord help us to keep our eyes on the goal. Too many come out of the blocks primed and pumped to run the race, but after a few short months or years, they have become distracted and fallen out of the race. Don’t think you have to sprint; just keep a steady pace. Rather than living for the moment, run with eternity in view at all times. God is honored by a race well run and a life well lived.
If we live for self and deny the Saviour we will regret it on our appointed day when we stand before Him!
PRAYER: Father in Heaven, help me to keep my eyes on Jesus. May I run the race well that I would bring glory to You. In Jesus name, AMEN!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship.