“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 heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Paul words to the church in Philippi (3:14) sound more like a New Year’s sermon than the words of a man in a Roman prison.
What is Paul saying in this passage? What should we understand from these words?
First, we cannot and must not live in the past. Whether the past is good or bad, we simply cannot let the past define our lives.
Many people live in the past and let the past overwhelm them. Paul certainly remembered the past. He never forgot that he had persecuted the Lord Jesus. He reco0gnized his sin and his great need for God.
But Paul also remembered something else. He remembered his redemption in Jesus Christ. Christ had made him new, and he intended to live for Christ.
In the same way that we cannot live in the negative, neither can we live in the positive experiences of the past either. Though in prison late in his life, Paul determined to move forward and give his best for the God who bought him with the price of His Son.
Second, we must not rest. God has called us to be obedient and to serve Him. Paul acknowledged that he would press on toward the prize to which God had called him heavenward.
Finally, we must stand firm in the Lord. Paul intended to stand firm, and he wanted the Philippian saints to follow his example (Philippians 3:17; 4:1).
Who is looking to you for an example? People need someone to show them the way. Paul intended to do that for others, and he wanted the Philippian church to join with him.
A great New Year’s resolution would be, “I will not be defeated by the past, and I will point others to faithfulness in Christ.”