“One thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heaven-ward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things.” -Philippians 3:13-15
Forgetting, an action word, implying that it is done again and again and again.
Paul isn’t saying “One thing I did, I forgot what was behind…” He says, “One thing I do, forgetting what is behind”. It takes work to forget our past. Whether the sins were our doing or someone else’s, it’s impossible to forget, once and for all, things that have so deeply wounded us and most-likely contributed to who we are today. Paul was all too familiar with this.
Straining, again an action word, implying that not only will we need to forget again and again and again, but that the act of doing so will be a struggle again and again and again. The definition of “strain” is to exert to the utmost.
Forgetting who we were or the sins of our past will require us to be “exerted to the utmost”. There won’t be a time that this will come “easily”, but it is something that is absolutely necessary. We press on, through the pain, over and over, so that we may find ourselves all the closer to the goal of winning the prize for which God has called us heaven-ward in Christ Jesus.
While this is difficult, and we know it must be done repeatedly, it is what we ought to do if our deepest desire is to know and live out the fullness of Christ Jesus here while we wait to be called to eternity in Heaven.
Today, let this be an encouragement to you. We are all in this same place, as Paul was along with so many others before us, of needing to gird up and press on through the pain of the past, believing that the liberated life in Heaven that awaits us is worth all of the effort. He is so good and the struggle and strain is not in vain. Believe that today.
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