One of my favourite moments as a teenager was youth group. I use to look forward to every Friday night of hanging out with my friends and catching up about the events of the week. Sure there was the spiritual aspect of youth group, but the real moments were the connections that we made. They were amazing! On a number of occasions, I have caught myself saying, "If I could only go back to that moment" or "Those were the days"! I know just saying that proves that I am getting older, but that is not really the point.
I've also had moments in my life that I wish that never existed. One of those moments was my divorce. I don't think anyone goes into a marriage hoping to be divorced, but the truth is, it happens. But the hurts and pains after the marriage can leave a lasting mark if we choose to hold on to the hurts and pains. In his letter to the Philippians, Paul appeals to them by saying,
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.In my understanding of this scripture, Paul is asking two things. First, don't hold on to the past. Have you ever tried to hold on to something with one hand and grab something just out of reach with the other? It can cause for some humour in the best of situations. You have to let go of the things that are behind you to reach what is in front of you. That means that we have to let go of the hurts and pains of the past (which many of us already know) but sometimes we also have to let go of the great moments that we hang on to. We cannot live in the past to get to our future.
The second part of Paul's encouragement is that we strive for the goal. What is the goal? Our goal is an eternity with Christ Jesus with a life that pleases Him. We daily strive to be more like Christ through faith and obedience.
What are you striving for today? Are you seeing the goal in front of you but holding on to the past or are you pressing forward releasing the good and the bad of what is behind you and pressing for God's best? I choose today to let go. I choose to walk in freedom and receive all of what God has for me. Not that I am perfect (far from it) but that I strive to be more like Christ.