Today’s Bible readings can be found here: Jeremiah 21:1-14 and Philippians 3:12-21.
Philippians 3:13b-14 “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
We all have past regrets which we keep in our hearts, mull over in our minds, and rekindle in our spirits every now and then. We relive some personal hurts and disappointments in order to cradle the resentments or offenses we once felt in our souls. Sometimes we keep visiting those uncomfortable moments as a means to either torture our spirits or maintain our injured pride. Whatever the reason, the past can draw us back and chain us to some events that cannot be changed, no matter how much we try to justify or understand them.
I think the Apostle Paul felt these things, too. He had major regrets from his past before he became a Christian. He had harassed and hunted down Christ’s followers in order to rid his faith community of their existence. He may have had men, women, and children arrested who believed in Christ. He probably gave evidence against them at their trials and he could also have witnessed some executions. At the time, he felt justified and his zeal for God blinded him to the pain and suffering he was inflicting on his prey. When he became a Christian himself, Paul must have had many regrets which he carried with him for the rest of his life.
However, Paul did not wallow in the past or afflict himself with his mistakes. Instead of looking back, he looked forward to using the time he had left for the work, mission, and calling that Christ had given him. He pushed himself onward and saw God’s reward clearly ahead of him. His goal was to live the rest of his life for Christ’s sake, taking every day as an opportunity to serve Jesus and fulfill his ministry for him. To do this, he left the past in the past and strained forward to the glorious future that awaited him.
Christianity allows us the gift of beginning again. Christ permits us to let go of the past in order to follow Him faithfully into the future. Our regrets are absolved and our mistakes are forgiven. We can move on from what held us back and begin again. This is Christ’s way of freeing us from our failures and restoring our lives to God. It is a beautiful gift and one which we can receive today.
Point to ponder: What parts of my past hold me back? Am I willing to let Christ liberate me from them now?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, You know the struggles we deal with constantly in our hearts and minds. We ask that You help us to break free from our past and follow Your path in the future. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
Today’s image is one of John’s latest Pentecost drawings called ‘Spirit Jazz.’ If you would like to view a larger version, please click here. Our Sunday worship service begins at 11:00 AM. Come along and join us – you will be made most welcome.