Looking Forward


December 30, 2018
Proverbs 4:25-27
25 Let your eyes look forward; fix your gaze straight ahead. 26 Carefully consider the path for your feet, and all your ways will be established. 27 Don’t turn to the right or to the left; keep your feet away from evil.
What do we have to look forward to?  As Christians we are called to forget anything and everything that impedes forward progress: past attainments and past disappointments.
12 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. 13 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, 14 I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. 15 Therefore, all who are mature should think this way. And if you think differently about anything, God will reveal this also to you. 16 In any case, we should live up to whatever truth we have attained. 17 Join in imitating me, brothers, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. 18 For I have often told you, and now say again with tears, that many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction; their god is their stomach; their glory is in their shame. They are focused on earthly things, 20 but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21 He will transform the body of our humble condition into the likeness of His glorious body, by the power that enables Him to subject everything to Himself.  [Philippians 3:12-21]

Forget past attainments.  

Not that I have already obtained this…” Paul says in v. 12. The “this” seems to be practical righteousness, spiritual maturity, holiness, perfection and Christ-likeness. “I do not consider that I have made it my own,” v. 13.

Paul seems to be saying, “Whatever strides I have made, whatever ground I’ve covered, I don’t consider myself done running. There is more race to run.” Remember when he says this he is in Rome, he is in prison. He has already lived what we read about in the book of Acts. He has already been on three missionary journeys. He has attained a lot! Miracle after miracle, convert after convert, church plant after church plant.

Forget past sins.

I wonder how often the apostle Paul thought of, regretted, even lamented, his part in the stoning of Stephen? He was there you remember. He heard Stephen’s brilliant defense. What an intellect! He witnessed Stephen’s final words, “Forgive them, they know not what they are doing.”

Forget past accidents.

Let’s also forget past “accidents.” We are responsible for the choices we make and sins we have committed. We have no excuses. But then there are hardships that come our way, difficulties that alter our lives that we were passive in it all. It hits us and hurts.

Forget past failures.

When I first heard about Abraham Lincoln’s failures back in the late 1970’s, it gave me a fresh appreciation for his character and perseverance. I want you to listen to some of these. Certainly during this time he had successes along the way too. But how many of these failures can a soul endure?
In 1832 he lost his job and was defeated for state legislature. In 1833, a year later, he failed in business. In 1835 his sweetheart died. A year later, 1836, he had a nervous breakdown. In 1843 he was defeated for nomination for Congress. In 1849 he was rejected for land officer. In 1854 he was defeated for U.S. Senate. In 1856 he was defeated for nomination for Vice President. And in 1858 he was again defeated for U.S. Senate. Just two years later he became the President of the United States.
Whatever our past attainments or disappointments, sins, accidents or failures, don’t let them impede forward momentum in this coming year. Let’s not look back, let’s strain ahead.
“On August 7, 1954, during the British Empire Games in Vancouver, Canada, the greatest mile-run matchup ever took place. It was touted as the “miracle mile” because Roger Bannister and John Landy were the only two sub-four-minute milers in the world. Both runners were in peak condition.
Roger Bannister strategized that he would relax during the third lap and save everything for his finishing drive. But as they began that third lap, John Landy poured it on, stretching his lead. Immediately Bannister adjusted his strategy,…. The lead was quickly cut in half, and at the bell for the final lap they were even. Both flying around the track.
Then came the famous moment. Landy could not hear Bannister’s footfall and looked back and lost by 5 yards.”
May God give us the grace to forget those things in our past that impede forward progress.
With Christ living in us and Christ before us as our goal, it is quite within the reach of every one of us to put one heavy foot in front of the other until we reach the finish line. In this New Year let’s do one thing. Forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead.
~Pastor Floyd Banks