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Forgetting the past…

“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.” (Phil 3:13-14)

This is not a New Year text! Paul was talking about something entirely different – but it may well be.
Yesterday – 2016 – is gone; soon it will be a distant memory. There are many things in sixteen, that we would like to forget (how about all the racism and hate expressed in our general elections?). But the sad truth is that many people hold on to the past so tightly they forget to live for the present, and the future. Soon another year passes, and another, giving them more than enough to hold on to; more to keep them from exploring all that God has in store for them.
What I like about Paul the Apostle is that He knew that his best days were yet to come. There were things that through the cross, Christ had taken “hold of” for him. He considered them a “prize” worthy of his undivided attention. So like runner whose only focus is the finish line and what lay in store, he said: “I press forward…”
Paul had already  also a Pharisee who had studied under Gamaliel; so he was a scholar. Regarding his relentless persecution of the church, he claimed he was full of zeal. But everything he had achieved up to that point, he counted  as rubbish for the “excellence of the knowledge of Christ.”

If you hold on to the past without realizing that it’s past (or has passed), your hands will be too busy (or too full) to take hold of that which Christ has taken hold of, for you!