I’ve been reading in Philippians this week and was struck by this passage:
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.
It is usually quite easy for me to remember that I have not yet attained perfection. It is not always so easy for me to remember to keep looking forward. When I read this, I wonder why exactly Paul talks about forgetting the past – is he alluding to his history as a persecutor of the church? Did he ever become discouraged doing God’s work when he remembered his part in arresting and executing Christians before his conversion? Or did Paul need to turn his back on the past because it could tempt him towards complacency? After all, he had planted numerous churches and preached in many cities, he faced death threats and jail time and slander all without shirking. Perhaps if he thought about everything he had already done for God he worried he’d lose some of the fire to press on.
Or maybe I’m just projecting.
Whatever the reason, this fresh reminder is timely for me to keep my focus positively looking to the future, not wishing for a break or a different set of circumstances, and not content to coast on any spiritual momentum I’ve built up. I am looking forward to a mission trip this month, anticipating a lot of challenges to my self-centered, comfort-based priorities and trying not to psych myself out but preparing to be stretched. I am continuing to adjust to life as a stay-at-home mom and the different limitations/opportunities that presents.
I may not always have my eye on the spiritual prize, but this passage has helped me at least get my eyes looking forward, most of the time.
Where would you say your eyes usually point?