“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, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” –Philippians 3:13, 14 (NKJV)
2005 shouldn’t just be a year wherein we discard the past and try to begin new things. We should use the past to propel us to reach forward just as the verse above implies. How do we do this?
1. Learn from our past failures. Failures aren’t an end. They are merely stepping stones to discovering our successes. I remember a particular commercial for Nike. It showed Michael Jordan stepping out of his car and walking to the gym. As he walked, his voice-over mentioned the number of times he missed shots, fumbled on the court and let his team down. But at the end of the commercial he emphatically states, “And that’s why I succeed.” In other words, he became one of the best basketball players the world has ever seen because he learned from his mistakes.
Should I even mention Thomas Edison, Abe Lincoln and a host of other “failures” who have known success because they learned from their past?
If we want to make 2005 a successful year, let’s have our past failures propel us to success.
2. Chisel off our character flaws. We all have at least one of them: quick temper, foul language, bad habit, etc. So we make new year’s resolutions to get rid of them. But it’s easier said than done. The solution is not a resolution, but rather acquiring new attitudes to chisel off the old flaws.
How do we acquire new attitudes? By doing the next step.
3. Studying the attitudes of Jesus. A good place to start is the Beatitudes in Matthew 5. By allowing Godly attitudes to help us perceive or react to situations or challenges that come our way, we are able to chisel off the character flaws. Then we become better persons. It doesn’t happen overnight, but practice does tend to propel us into perfect.
When we are able to allow the past to propel us into the present, then we can leave the past behind where it belongs. The present will then be God’s gift to us.