"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things, which are before. I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 3:13-14)
As a child growing up, one of the things that I learned and which remains with me to this day is, do not look back! Not only was it bad luck, I was told, but clinging to the things of the past, especially painful and hurtful things, results in unnecessary weight and baggage that sets you back in life.
And so now that I am older, it has become a guiding principle upon which my life operates on a daily basis - never allow myself to sit on the seat that says, 'I have arrived.' Through searching the scriptures, I also understand that to adhere to the things of the past, whether bad or good, is to set oneself up to be reckoned as an unspeakable loser, loosing not only that which one may have garnered, but loosing the most important aspect of one's life which is Jesus Christ our Lord.
So for today's discussion, I consulted experience and one of the experienced in the person of the Apostle Paul. He knowingly made a choice that he himself had quitted from his impressive stock and masterful accolades that was sufficient to make a case for his justification. Yet he says, "Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord....and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ." (v8) The Apostle here proposes himself for an example of trusting in Christ only and not anything else. He even suggested if any man could boast of their accomplishment, he had even more reason to do so, yet would not for the better which he was awaiting to gain that was far more precious and valuable than anything else he would loose.
What have I to loose? The Apostle spoke of his (a) birth right privileges - an Israelite on both sides and from one generation to another, a stock of Israel and yet a tribe of Benjamin. (b) He boast of his relations to the covenant - for he was circumcised on the eight day. (c) For learning - a Pharisee and the son of a Pharisee he was (Acts 23:6) (d) He had a blameless conversation record - teaching the righteousness which is of the law, blameless. (e) He had been an active man for his religion - concerning zeal, persecuting the church. (v5-6)
An impressive resume it was indeed! But he tells us what it was that he reached after: it was the knowledge of Christ Jesus, not an experimental acquaintance but a believing experiential relationship with Christ as his Lord. It was not a speculative but a practical knowledge of Him. He quitted his privileges as a Jew and a Pharisee by not looking back on them as anything that would add value to his present or future life but would allow his expression to rise with a holy triumph that Christ is all, in all and above all that anyone would ever need.
We do not look at the things which are seen he says, but look at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal. (2 Corinthians 4:18) We are not even sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God. (2 Corinthians 3:5) In other words, there is nothing in us that allows us to claim that we are capable of doing the work on our own. The capacity we have comes from God!
Let us therefore quit looking back and press our way forward. The fitter we grow for heaven, the faster we must press towards it. It is the prize of the high calling that awaits us. It is what we must aim at in all that we do or say, and what we hope for that will in the end reward all our pain and suffering. With this mind set, and the knowledge that God is in total control, He will give us the strength and the ability to face each new day.