“Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,”
Paul set forth two perspectives—”those things which are behind” and “those things which are ahead.” Some people live in the past. Paul wanted us to live in the future.
How good are you at forgetting? Why not forget your failures? Why not forget the failures of others? Some people cannot overlook injustice perpetrated upon them. They nurse injustices of five years ago. They harbor the hurt. They cannot forget it. This cripples their spiritual life. They end up spiritual pygmies.
Some people grieve over the girl they got into trouble many years ago. They remember like it was yesterday the thing they stole. Yet God himself does not remember this: “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more” (Heb. 10:17). These things have been obliterated from the mind of God and are gone. God never throws in our face what He has forgiven.
“And reaching forward to those things which are ahead”
It is not enough to forget the things of the past. We should think of things ahead. There are horizons over yonder. There is so much unconquered spiritual territory that we cannot waste time on past failures. We should invite God to push back our horizons. What would God do if we would let Him? The best is yet ahead for the child of God. The best and most fruitful years are yet before the spiritually dynamic person.
The word “reaching forward” is an athletic term in the Greek meaning to sprint for the finish line. It is a burst of effort to reach the goal first. Now that you have dealt with your guilt complex, sprint to the tape of a Christ-centered life.
“Those things which are ahead” refers to those things ahead in your life. This does not refer to eternity. We do not drive for eternity. We contend to finish our lives in the winner’s box of glorifying Christ.
It is not enough to forget the past.
God wants us to enter the track meet of glorifying Christ. Our focus should change from the past pain to future prevail. A key to conquering the past is to focus on the future. How future oriented are you? Have you entered the race toward God’s revealed will? Is your life designed to glorify Christ? If we do not make the transition from the past to the future, we will remain religious dwarfs.