Athlete, Strain Forward
Philippians 3:13,14 (ESV)
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.
This is the time of year we generally take a look back and remember the events of the previous year with fondness or with thoughts of, “Good riddance!”
Sometimes I make hopeful promises of change, only to fail. Athlete, I know you can relate.
Why is change so hard? Could it be we want to cling to the past — longing for the familiar, what we already know, our comfort zone?
The Israelites must have felt this way when Moses led them out of their familiar surroundings, delivering them from their Egyptian captors.
Numbers 11:5,6 records their exact thoughts, “We remember the fish which we used to eat free in Egypt, the cucumbers and the melons and the leeks and the onions and the garlic, but now our appetite is gone. There is nothing at all to look at except this manna” (NASB).
Even though they were miraculously saved from slavery and daily sustained with heavenly manna, the trials of the trail tempted them to look back with longing.
But Philippians 3:13 tells to avoid looking backward. Why? Because we have been called by God to live a life that is focused heavenward in Christ Jesus.
How are we to do this? It seems too simple. Paul tells us to forget what is behind and strain toward what is ahead.
Forget what is behind: We were slaves to sin.
Strain toward what is ahead: We are slaves to righteousness.
Forget what is behind: We were living in captivity.
Strain toward what is ahead: We are living in freedom.
Forget what is behind: We were citizens of this world.
Strain toward what is ahead: We are citizens of the kingdom of God.
Christian, even though it’s tempting, don’t make the same mistake that the Israelites made by looking back! Look forward with gratitude, faith and hope to all that God has for you in 2021!
And strain toward your calling, remembering whose you are!