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MOVING FORWARD ….Philippians 3:13 … January 1, 2017

     Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. Philippians 3:13 ESV

     There are those who live so much in the past that it makes it difficult to move forward. It can be important to reflect on past experiences but to live there can inhibit new experiences and opportunities. There are some experiences and past mistakes in life that are best forgotten, but many times those seem to linger in our memories the most. Satan is more than willing to remind you of failures in your life. Jesus, however, is more than willing to forget your past and give you a future worth living. More than one time were people’s failures staring them in the face in the presence of Jesus, and He would do a precious work in their lives making them new. Jesus was and is merciful, forgiving, kind, loving, and more than our vocabulary could ever express. This is why in Paul’s writing of Philippians 3:13 he made three important statements.

Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own:
The life Paul lives, after coming to know Jesus as Savior, was dramatically different than his life before Christ. Paul could have bragged more than anyone concerning self righteousness, but to live in his past perceived righteousness would never allow him to see his need for Jesus. It wasn’t until Jesus appeared and spoke to Paul on the road to Damascus that Paul saw himself for who he really was without Jesus. A man lost and without righteousness needed to experience eternal life… The righteousness that can only come through Jesus Christ. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3: 4-7 ESV

But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind:
I would dare say that Satan was more than willing to remind Paul of his past. I believe Paul made every effort to forget his unchangeable past to focus on his incomprehensible future with Christ. When I remember things that I wish I had done differently in my life, I remind myself of the grace in which I experienced and have in Christ. This grace and mercy causes me to love Jesus more because he chose to forgive me rather than condemn me. This is what Jesus did in the life of Paul, in my life, and in the lives of any who will believe and follow him. Remember the woman whom Jesus forgave; this is what he said of her. “Therefore I tell you, her sins which are many, are forgiven – for she loved much . But he who is forgiven little , loves little.” Luke 7: 47 ESV  The only thing we should reflect upon from our past is how much for which we have been forgiven. This will cause you to love Jesus and others much and to be merciful to others the way Christ was towards you. Other than that remembrance … move forward.

Straining forward to what lies ahead:
What does lie ahead in our lives? We don’t always know, but what we do know is that God knows and when we put our trust in Him, we can face the uncertainties of life. It is called faith, and in pleasing God, we must learn to grow in faith. God desires for us to trust him with our whole being. I don’t know about you but sometimes that might be the straining part. We can become so self reliant that we forget God. Our flesh can be so strong, in self will, that God is an after thought. I know that in the most difficult times in my life I would cry out to God, and in those times I grew closer to Him, for I realized my abundant need for Him. It is called growing in faith and perhaps God allowed those times to draw us closer to him. Let me encourage you to strain forward no matter what the circumstance in you life… good or bad. You need to know God will never leave you. Make it a point in your life never to leave Him, be faithful and live in faith even when life might not make sense. God said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” Hebrew 13 :5b

      Be encouraged in the new year for God already knows all that will happen, and He has chosen to make you a part of it. Live it to the fullest until the Lord calls you home. The day belongs to the Lord, for he has made it. Rejoice. Don’t live in the past for which you cannot change nor improve. Move forward in the Lord living intentionally for Him to bring Him much glory.

Because of this Grace ~ Pastor David

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