Forgetting the past and pressing toward the goal

Although the Verse of the Day for July 28, 2017 is taken from Philippians 3:14, to fully understand that particular verse, we need to take a look at the preceding verse as well:

Philippians 3:13-14 (AMP):

13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the [heavenly] prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The following Scripture Video expands the context of the passage which has particular application to my life and ministry
Philippians 3:7-14 Scripture Video:

Our understanding of the passage is illuminated as we examine some of the athletic imagery located there. Immediately my thoughts turn toward my high school track days when I ran anchor on the mile relay, the equivalent to the 4 x 400 meter relay today. Once the baton hit my hand, I grabbed it and focused on completing the race. If the other three members of the team had given me a lead, my task was to maintain it or if we were behind when I got the baton, I had to make up the distant and then pull ahead before crossing the finish line. To press toward the mark is to focus intently, to “scope in on” as one does with a telescope which blocks everything out except that which you are looking at.

I recall that I had to be “single-minded,” focusing all of my energy and efforts on finishing my race. I did not look to the right nor to the left, certainly I did not look behind, but I pressed toward the mark, striving to cross the finish line. I recognized that I had to cross the finish line before I could receive the prize.

Philippians 3:13-14 is used as the introduction to a poem that expresses where we as believers find ourselves as we finish the race that is set before us:

In the Home-stretch:

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

We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark,
Secure in the Savior, as all things become new.
Constantly seeking, we know we shall someday find
Our heart’s desire fulfilled, for God’s Word is still true,
Even as these perilous times have never been more dark.
Though at times we faint and grow weary in our mind,
We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark.

Each day we grow in grace, empowered by the Word.
We fix our heart and set our affections above.
Like David, we encourage ourselves in the Lord.
Nothing can separate us from His boundless love.
We rest in hope, assured that all those who endure
Shall lay hold of the prize that they have sought to win.
We purify our hearts, as the Lord himself is pure.
Strengthened by the presence of Christ who dwells within,
We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark,

We live to give, and we love to serve above all:
Waiting for the Lord, we still say “Yes” to our call.
We rest in the home-stretch, as we press toward the mark.

As I recall my track and field experiences, I also remember that many times the outcome of the entire track meet was known long beforehand, based on the total accumulation of points from all the previous track and field events, with the last two races being relays. Drawing a spiritual parallel with the spiritual athletic arena that we find ourselves in today, the believers’ team is so far ahead that we cannot lose. Even though we might not come in first in our individual event, our victory as a team has already been determined, however. We are all on the winning team.

Jesus Christ, our team captain, the all-time, undisputed, undefeated champion, has already secured the final victory, as 2 Corinthians 2:14 (NKJ) assures:

14 Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.

Even though we are on the winning team, the challenge for each individual believer is to finish the race, having achieved his or her P.B. (personal best). In a similar way, believers are encouraged in their individual races to

Cast aside every weight and the sin that so easily besets,
Forget the past, press toward the mark,
Look straight ahead with no regrets.

We close with a beautiful new music video “Set my eyes on what lies ahead, forgetting all behind” by Tess Celia

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