"Not that I have already reached the goal or am already fully mature, but I make every effort to take hold of it because I also have been taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus."
The secret to moving ahead is reaching forward. Generally, readers are not usually given the “key point” to a message until sometime after the author has provided some background information and possibly an illustration leading up to such a time as to present that element of the story to the audience. In this case, however, it would serve us best to get right to the Apostle Paul’s point, “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus.”
Getting Back Up Again is one of the most difficult challenges on our journey through this life when pain, hardship, or recurring difficult circumstances become our companion. God’s greatest desire for us is close spiritual intimacy and fellowship with Him, however, we must realize that one of His most effective tools for bringing about this spiritual maturity in us is “suffering,” as it has a unique way of gaining our attention. In fact, Paul’s desire was to “know the power of Christ’s resurrection and share in His sufferings,” (Philippians 3:10) as a means to identity more intimately with His Lord and Savior. Well-known author and theologian, C.S. Lewis, states in his book, The Problem of Pain; “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pain: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” I recently heard an amazing sermon on suffering in which the speaker said, “What the world needs to see more than anything is Christians who are walking through suffering, yet still remain faithful to God in the process.” We are pilgrims walking on a journey through this life in a world of brokenness and there will be days when we’ll find ourselves needing to get back on our feet again. I’ve learned there’s nothing in yesterday’s shattered memories that can help me reach forward to take hold of my Savior's hand today. If we take our eyes off of the eternal hope we’re offered through Jesus for each new day, we will more easily be shaken and prone to fall again.
Connecting Faith & Life:
Father, thank You for this new day which is filled with eternal hope because You have laid hold of my life through Your son, my Savior, Jesus. Thank You for the promise that You are working in all things (even suffering) for my good (Romans 8:28) and for the purpose of drawing me nearer in relationship to You. May I not look behind, but instead, press on reaching forward pursuing You as You pursue me, often speaking most clearly through my suffering and pain. I pray for Your strength and grace within me to endure the trials along life’s journey in faith, along with perseverance to get back up again when I fall. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.