Go read Philippians 3:12-14.
When a guy like Paul – a master, a role model, a legend type of guy – says “one thing I do . . .”, it is probably worth paying attention. When that kind of veteran boils down his life and says, “Hey I don’t think I’m there yet but I’ll tell you the one thing that is helping me get from here to there . . .”, we should probably open our ears and soak on what he has to say.
<> In Phil. 3:14, what does Paul say is his one thing?
Paul’s one thing is pressing on toward the goal. Right before he says that in vs. 13 he gives the two main ways that he goes about doing his one thing. 1.) Forgetting what is behind and 2.) Straining toward what is ahead. Over the next few days we’re going to break down both of those parts to help us understand how to press on toward the goal.
Forgetting What is Behind
The first aspect of how Paul goes about pressing on toward the goal we talked about yesterday is “forgetting what is behind.” This is an incredibly practical understanding of spiritual attack that we will all experience if we are truly following Christ. If you have not yet been attacked about your past, go ahead and strap on your seatbelt because it’s coming.
Go read Acts 7:54-8:1.
Go read 1 Timothy 1:12-15
<> What kind of a past did Paul come from?
<> What kind of a past do you come from?
I think our main pushback to this idea of forgetting the past is “Whoa! Wait a minute you don’t know what kind of past I come from. You don’t know how I’ve blown it. You don’t know my sin.” Paul would respond to you, “Oh, trust me – I know. The truth is you don’t know MY past.” When you consider where Paul comes from and how murderous and violent he was and what kind of an enemy toward God he was, you start to realize that there is nothing that exists in your past that is too much for Christ to handle. The grace of the gospel is that Christ in the cross has already paid for – he has already endured the pain that your past deserves. For you to continue living in shame and guilt because of your past denies the gift of what Christ did in the cross.
At the end of the day you have three options: 1.) you can continue living in guilt and shame about the sin of your past and never move forward toward what God wants for your life (this is a bad option), 2.) you can live in denial of your past and act like it doesn’t effect you now even though you’ve never healed or accepted forgiveness or moved on (this is also a bad option), or 3.) you can do the hard work of looking at your past in terms of the gospel and letting Jesus forgive you for the wretched way that you used to live. If you have confessed and repented, then it is time to move on.