November 19, 2014
“Forgetting what is behind. . .I press on toward the goal. . .” Phil 3:13
It was the semi-finals and tension filled the air as Phil prepared to defend his title in the 400 meter sprint. In the beginning, Phil was a short-race sprinter, running the 100 and 200 meter races, placing in the top three consistently. But one year, during practice, one of his friends challenged him to a race in the 400. Of course Phil accepted. To everyone’s surprise, including his, he won. That simple challenge changed his racing future.
And now, one year later, Phil was running the most important race of his career. If he won, he would advance to the finals. He was ecstatic and ready to run. In preparation for this race, Phil had competed in and placed first in the 200 meter finals earlier in the week. But this was his first 400 semi-finals. He had that special feeling that he would finish well.
Finely tuned, awaiting the starting gun, Phil shot forth at the sound. Running so far at near full speed is very tricky and physically demanding but his training was paying off, he knew instinctively that he was in the lead. Rounding the final turn Phil was focused on a spot just beyond the finish line, a trick his coach had taught him so he would never slow up before he crossed the line.
He was closing in, he was actually ahead. His legs were screaming for more oxygen but he couldn’t supply any. It was all guts and heart now. Sheer determination would carry Phil across the finish line in first place. And that’s when the unthinkable happened, one tiny split-second of uncertainty. He glanced to his right to make sure he was ahead. That’s all it took. Looking right caused him to stumble ever-so-slightly. So slightly that no one in the stands could tell, but Phil and the other runners could as they passed him, taking first and second place. Heart broken, Phil finished third. It was only a hundredth of a second, but third place instead of first. Phil looked back and paid the price. To most people a small price, but to him, it was heartbreak. God cautions us to forget what is behind.
1. Jesus replied, “No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62
2. I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us. Philippians 3:12-14
3. Let us go forward, then, to mature teaching and leave behind us the first lessons of the Christian message. We should not lay again the foundation of turning away from useless works and believing in God. Hebrews 6:1
As Christians, we must “forget what is behind,” and arm ourselves with the armor of God because the enemy of our soul will attack with hundreds of scenarios in which we’ve been badly treated, accused of wrong doing, or lied about. What shall we do in these cases? Nothing! Praise God for false accusations and character attacks. If these attacks are false, we will be aligned with our loving Savior who when falsely accused, did not defend Himself.
4. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He did not open His mouth; Like a lamb that is led to slaughter, and like a sheep that is silent before its shearers, so He did not open His mouth. Isaiah 53:7
5. And while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously. 1 Peter 2:23
So, call out to God. Believe in His awesome power to overcome all the weapons of the enemy. Place your life in His hands and trust that He will ultimately deliver us from all sin and destruction because He said so. Remember what He told the thief on the cross,
6. “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in paradise.” Luke 23:43