Philippians 3:13-14 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
I spent the entire day yesterday taking down the Christmas decorations and storing them away for another year. I wasn’t moving slowly, but I did kind of overdo it with my decoration efforts this year. Last year was tough on everyone, and I know that the One who got me through every single difficulty was the One we celebrate at Christmas. Although we weren’t going to be having any big parties this year, and no one but immediate family and friends would enjoy the decorations other than myself, I still wanted to do it up big. Why? I know that we celebrate Christ every day, but I felt like I needed to really celebrate big this year.
Yesterday, as I was taking everything down and struggling to stow it all away, I was temporarily regretting my decision to go big this year, but when I woke up this morning, there were no regrets. Today as I finish getting my house in order, I reflect on the fact that God has granted us another year to get our hearts in order. We must learn from yesterday’s experiences and difficulties, but we can’t live there. One thing that keeps us from becoming the very people that God wants us to become is the fact that we try much too often to live in the past. We have regrets of things we should’ve done but didn’t. We struggle over past sins and mistakes. We have trouble getting over past hurts or past behaviors. The problem with this is that it distracts us from Christ, and it distracts us from our future.
I’m sure that you have had a few circumstances that may have knocked you to your knees over the past year. Before we try to get back up, maybe we need to spend a little time there on our knees. Maybe God even put us on our knees so that we would remember to come to him in our time of need. After we spend a little time on our knees, we always get back up. We get up, and we try again. The difference is, after spending time on our knees in prayer and talking over our troubles with the Lord, we get up with renewed strength to overcome those difficulties. Yes, my friends, I spent a lot of time in prayer over the past year, and I know that it was only Christ that brought me through the trials.
Each of us survived many trials over the past year. We are still in the midst of some of those trials. It’s hard to keep moving forward some days, but we must keep seeking the prize! This is the perfect opportunity to get renewed strength to win the race. Just as we are stowing away the Christmas decorations and cleaning up our homes, we can also use this time to put away the worries over the past, and clean up our hearts. Let us start out this new year looking forward. We must forget what lies behind us. We have to continue to press toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called us heavenward in Christ Jesus. We are not merely rats running a race of no consequence. We are children of the King, and we are racing towards the ultimate finish line. Keep looking forward, Peeps! Learn from the past, but don’t lay down there and take up residence. Keep moving forward and push on towards that great finish line!