I have always loved the first part of today’s reading: “Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
Athletics have been part of my life for as long as I can remember and the image of these words resounds within me. I can picture all the times I have spent practicing and training with a specific goal in mind or a destination towards which I was striving. I like to picture of my walk of faith in this light - A path of training and practicing with specific points of competition and achievement.
As I read these words again, I was struck by something new. Paul writes that he forgets what lies behind. Typically in athletics, things build on top of one another. You build your endurance and continue to increase the distances that you run or you increase your speed over a distance, second by second. Perhaps, it’s the putting practice that is the next step in improving your golf game. Forgetting what lies behind only really applies in sports when you try to forget failures. This may be what Paul is talking about.
When we repent of our sins, God forgives us our sins. Sometimes, though, we don’t forgive ourselves or we continue to remember and carry the weight of the sins in our hearts and minds.
I was struck by Paul’s declaration. His words told me to change my perspective. I have an eternal hope that is waiting for me. That should be my focus and my goal. I shouldn’t let the choices of my past or my past performances dissuade me from the focus of my eternal hope. Let this be your perspective too.