Forgetting What's Behind
Wednesday - April 7th
Scripture to Read Today: Philippians 3:1-9
Whatever were gains to me, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. Philippians 3:7
The older I get, the more nostalgic I become. During our Easter weekend service at Calvary, one band member wore a gold, long-sleeve shirt that looked like it was made of velour. In my mind, I drifted back to the '70s after seeing his shirt. You know the sights and sounds of that decade: bell-bottom blue jeans, bikes with banana seats, long straight hair on women, bushy mustaches on the men, disco music, rollerblades, shag carpeting, the Brady Bunch, the Bee Gees, Malibu Barbie, and Watergate.
When I get nostalgic for a time period in my life, I start remembering old friends, neighbors, and family members. Seeing that gold '70's-like shirt as part of Easter services at Calvary made me think back to what Easter Sundays were like in my home church of Twin Branch Bible Church in Mishawaka, Indiana. The church choir often sang an Easter cantata. Several years, we had sunrise services with breakfast after that early gathering. My mind again drifts to people - the people of the church.
When I reminisce about people and things in specific eras of my life, it's like pulling a thread on a sweater. The more you pull, the more it unravels. Maybe you go through the same thing as you think back over your life.
Holding onto good memories and fond moments can be so precious and encouraging. There is both a healthy and an unhealthy way to look back over the years.
Some things we should look back and cherish. The Scriptures command and encourage us to “remember” more than 250 times. As we look back, we can learn lessons from our failures - so we don't repeat them. We can also look at the good and helpful things - so we learn to continue them.
As the Apostle Paul instructs us to move forward in our spiritual walk, he talks about "forgetting what is behind" and "pressing on" to what is ahead (Philippians 3:13-14). In the context of Philippians chapter three, Paul leaves behind religious acts of righteousness in which he used to take pride. When he met Jesus as His Savior, he realized that his good works had no value before his salvation.
His best religious efforts were the empty things Paul rested in to be a good Jewish person - believing they gave him good standing with God. Since finding Jesus, he considered even those good things nothing but garbage compared to the salvation he had in Christ!
Paul said of them, "Whatever were gains to me, I now consider loss for the sake of Christ" (Philippians 3:7). He did not look back and dwell on those things. They were done in the flesh. They added nothing to his salvation. But he had once idolized these religious things about his life. He once rested in them entirely for his standing before God. He developed an attitude that he was to move forward, not backward. He determined to leave all of that behind to embrace all that Christ Jesus had for him.
How about you? Are you looking back and appreciating fond memories, or are you dwelling on good things you idolized that do not matter since you are in Christ now?
Maybe you struggle to let go of your past sins or the religious things you thought brought you favor with God. As the Apostle Paul did in his life, determine to move forward with God pursuing the life God has laid out for you as His child. Tell Him that you choose to forget what is behind! Seek His guidance, patience, and power as you move ahead in your journey with Him!
We must forget the sins in our past and the religious works we believe save us if we wish to move forward with Jesus!