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Forgetting What Is Behind?

forgetting what is behind

I thought it might be appropriate, as we move on into 2020, to consider, briefly, Paul’s zeal for “pressing on” with the Lord.

But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith – that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting WHAT IS behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus – PHILIPPIANS 3:7-14 ESV

Like many biblical statements, it should not be absolutized, particularly when it comes to forgetting what is behind.

The apostle almost certainly takes this metaphor from the arena – the length of the course in Athens was 607 feet from starting blocks to finishing post.

In order to get the prize, runners must not get distracted – looking back not only spelt danger but also made athletes decelerate: dithering delay would result in defeat.

To reach the racer-goal, and receive the 1st-prize call, needed total mental focus, eyes fixed on the finish, motivated by smell of success, to make sinew-strain worthwhile.

When we translate this metaphor into the spiritual arena, it is helpful to think of the following when applying it to ourselves:

It is good to look back in the following circumstances:

  1. To commemorate what God has done – in redemption, in history, in revivals, through heros, for churches and in believers.
  2. To reflect on God’s work of grace in our own lives – predestined, called, justified, progress to date in sanctifying grace, and all that precedes the glory that awaits.
  3. To repent or deepen repentance of unconfessed or superficially confessed sins.
  4. To repair relationships which should have been put right long ago – it is tragic when a brother or sister dies to whom we main unreconciled.
  5. To lead us from contrition to the promises of the Gospel, for grace and glory which is located in Christ, in the pursuit of holiness.
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Pastor of Knockbracken in Belfast- Husband of Hazel, Dad to Rebekah, Paul and Andrew, Lover of Skiing, Walker of Lucy (our Bernese Mountain Dog), with a Passion for OT- in Deep Need of Grace