10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11 in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.
12 Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Remember the verse preceding this passage: and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,
It is through faith that we know Him and His power. We identify with him (see Romans 6) in that we die to this world and our old selves and become anew. I appreciate Paul’s humility here where he says not that I have already obtained it. You see he is talking about the perfection of faith in Christ and in the pursuance of that, we are able to identify with Him more and more. However, it is a journey, not a destination.
We lose sight of this fact and look at others as if they need to catch up. But we never realize that we still haven’t caught up to Christ…and we never will. This is where we make our goals. Paul tells us about not resting on the past but forging on toward the future and God’s calling for us. I found it interesting that the notes in my study bible pointed out that we shouldn’t rest on our past: good OR bad. the bad things in our past, while they helped shape and transform us for the good, if we focus on them, it will drag us down and hinder our progress. Think about the good things in your past, however.
The good things of our past may cause us to stumble as well. For 1, if it is an accomplishment, spending too long looking at that will fuel our pride. If it is a significant event, something good that happened to us, it is nice to be there as a memory but if our current lives do not match up to that past event, we may focus on it too much, encouraging us to wish we could “go back to the old days”. Ultimately, we stop looking ahead and instead are looking in the rear view mirror.
While we shouldn’t forget the past and remember where we came from, we shouldn’t focus on it entirely. Think of your car in relation to your rear view mirror and your windshield. You have a vast area to look out and forward, but just a small space to look back. What is behind you will always be there to glance at, however if you stare at the mirror too long, you are likely to veer off course and crash. Our lives are the same way.
We should look out through the windshield of our lives and keep our eyes open for what God has in store for us. Be watchful of signs to give warnings, direction, and goals.
“Careful: winding road”
“Right Turn: Life changing event”
“God’s next purpose for your life: 18 miles”
What signs can you see?