Brothers, 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. Phil. 3:13-14
As 2007 was nearing an end, I began to look to the upcoming year with great anticipation, believing that God was going to do some great things in the days ahead. I also knew that I didn’t want to wait until the New Year was upon me before I began to journal my prayers for my family and their personal lives and ministries, as well as my own.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about the Scripture above and how it speaks about “forgetting what is behind.” It’s not only good to think about that for the previous year ahead us, but that would include our failures and shortcomings. We can always learn from our mistakes, but then we need to move on and not dwell on the past. Then we can tell others what we’ve learned so they will receive the benefit as well.
Moving forward takes great determination. Not looking back, even more. The Apostle Paul said he was “straining” toward what was ahead. To strain is to put some tension or force on something. We need to be so determined about pressing forward that we’ll do whatever it takes to get the job done. Our flesh doesn’t really want to press forward. In all honesty, it wants the easy way out.
The prophet Isaiah knew about determination because he said:
“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” Isaiah 50:7
Flint is a hard stone the Native American Indians used to make arrowheads for hunting and battle. To set our faces like flint means we will push ahead and go forward mightily for God no matter if the winds of doubt hit us head on or not. We must not turn back and we must continue marching forward. Our determination should be that we will follow Jesus no matter the cost.
The storms of life have a way of knocking the wind out of our sails, but we must press on. Some of our sisters and brothers seem to be falling by the wayside and are letting the enemy get the upper hand on them, but we must stand strong in the face of adversity even when we feel we can’t stand for another minute.
Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. I Cor. 15:58
Press on now weary minister, never shirking from your calling. Press on weary soldier, never laying aside the cross you carry all for the sake of the gospel. Press on willing worker, knowing that your labor of love is not in vain. Press on warriors, so that you may win the prize for which God has called you heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Phil. 3:14)
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him. James 1:12
Father, how I praise You for this message. Thank You for helping us to press on in the face of adversity. You cause us to soar on wings like eagles so that our strength is renewed when we put our hope in You. You send Your angels to lift us up so that our foot will not strike a stone. We praise You for Your lovingkindness when we feel we have no strength to stand at all. We thank You for giving us the determination to go forward in Jesus Christ and to move ahead knowing that a prize awaits us in Glory. Help those who are weak and unsure they can make it. Help that one who is tempted to lay aside his cross because he or she feels that it has become too heavy. Touch each of us and give us the strength to carry on and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever and ever. In Jesus’ name. Amen.