Look ahead

Look ahead

It’s a cliché, I know, but it became a cliché because it’s true.

Don’t live in the past.

Is that you?

Are you beating yourself up over something you did years ago?

I think the apostle Paul struggled with that.

In some of his letters he mentioned the terrible things he’d done to Christians years earlier, referring to himself as the “worst” of sinners and the “least of the apostles” (1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Corinthians 15:9).

It bothered him. I’m guessing that every day of his life he saw in his mind the faces of some of the Christians he’d hurt.

But he also recognized that those things no longer defined him.

Listen to what he says here:

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 lies 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 3:12-14).

He wasn’t a boastful Christian. He knew he wasn’t where he wanted to be or even where he ought to be, and that led him to look in the right direction.

Ahead.

He strained forward and kept his eyes focused on the finish line.

Humanly speaking, of course, he couldn’t completely forget the past, but he disciplined himself to look toward that “upward call.”

Maybe that’s a word you need to hear this week.

You’re living every day with the guilt of the past, and it’s holding you back. You think more about what you’ve done to hurt God than about what he’s done to heal you.

Think about Paul’s words.

Thank God for forgiving, redeeming, and saving you.

By the way, when God does something, he does it right . . . and that includes forgiveness.

There’s no such thing as a partially forgiven Christian. —Chuck

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