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Forgetting What’s Behind
Daily Reading: (Philippians 3:10-14):
“I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, 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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
Just to clarify things a bit- Paul isn’t saying that there are things that Christ has made available that he has failed to receive.
In the Greek the word is (teleioō)- to bring to an end. What could Paul possibly not have obtained or been brought to an end of? Verse 11 which comes just before this tells us what Paul is talking about, “and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.” The only thing Paul has not obtained or experienced yet is an earthly death and resurrection from the dead into heaven.
What Paul is doing here (Philippians 3:12) is reflecting on his past. Christ the author of Paul’s faith, is also the finisher of His people‘s “race.” We are victors because Jesus ran the race in our place and won the prize of everlasting life and victory over sin.
Forgetting your past (Philippians 3:13) does not mean you would not or should not ever remember it but when it comes to past mistakes don’t give it your attention or care (epilanthanomai). Don’t dwell on it.
A great way to live our lives in the present is with a view toward the future of heaven (Philippians 3:14). This enables us not to put too much stock on the past. The care for the past is not the same when we think about what we are moving toward in the future. We won’t dwell in the past if we realize what is ahead of us and what is here for us now in the present.
Philippians chapter three starts off in this way, “Further, my brothers and sisters, rejoice in the Lord!” If you don’t want the past to rob you of your joy today then rejoice in Jesus (Philippians 3:1,14).