Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3: 13-14
Why is it that we make resolutions in the first place? I think we all desire to be better, to make more of our lives, to live a life worth living.
For me, the passage above is one of the most meaningful passages of Scripture. When Paul writes that there is “one thing I do” he actually addresses to necessary components of living. First, he reminds us of the futility of living in the past -whether our past is magnificent or less than distinguished. The truth is that most of us have pasts that contain some of both.
Just as important is the need to strain forward toward the goal. We’ve all seen the runner of a race reaching for the finish line and I think that’s the imagery Paul is alluding to here. As a follower of Christ, Paul invites us to keep our focus on the “prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
It’s a nice thought, but how do we keep our concentration on task? We don’t rest on our past achievements. We aren’t paralyzed by our past failures. And we pursue Christ with our entire being. The writer of Hebrews echoes Paul’s athletic scenario when he challenges us to “also lay aside every weight, and the sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1b).
While few of us run competitively these days, we are familiar with driving a car. Remember that, while an occasional look in the rearview mirror may be helpful, we must keep limit distractions and keep our sights on the road ahead.
So, back to the “one thing” and looking forward in 2021 – Is there something, good or bad, in my past that impedes my progress? Is there anything currently distracting me from the goal I’m reaching for today?