Theme of the Week: Pressing In
Bible Verse: “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: 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.” Philippians 3:12-14
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:22-24, Joshua 1:1-4, 2 Corinthians 5:17, Numbers 14: 1-4
In his letter to the church at Philippi, Paul said he still had a long way to go in being all that God called him to be. Yet the one thing he focused on was “forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
In this verse, we get the sense of a runner straining forward to the finish line and not looking back. As a sprinter in my younger days, I was taught that if you look back at the runners behind you, it slows down your forward momentum. The number one rule was focus on the finish line and don’t look back.
Not long after God freed the Israelites from bondage in Egypt, they began to complain about the conditions in the wilderness. They grumbled against Moses and Aaron and wanted to choose a new leader to take them back to Egypt. They wanted to go back into slavery because they thought it would be easier than trusting God through the tough times ahead in the desert.
When God called Joshua to lead the people of Israel to the promised land, the first thing God said was, “Moses my servant is dead. Now you and all these people get ready to cross the Jordan River”. God was saying Joshua: “Moses is gone, and I’m passing the baton to you. Moses was a great leader, but now it’s your turn to enter into the life I have called you to.” Joshua had to leave the familiarity of the past and trust God for the future, regardless of how overwhelming his assignment seemed or how long it might take.
To live a life of purpose and godly impact, we must press into God and his plans for us. Our past can often be the biggest roadblock to our future. Guilt, shame, and feelings of inadequacy hold us back from achieving God’s best for us. But our past doesn’t define us. Our identity in Christ defines who we truly are. When we give our lives to Christ, we become completely new creations, and our old life is gone (2 Corinthians 5:17). God wants us to trust him when he says we are his masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10), and he has created us in his own image (Genesis 1:26-27).
If Paul had continually focused on his days of persecuting Christians, he would have never had the impact he did.
God wants each of us to make an impact on those around us for him. Our history is not our destiny, and we’ll miss our future if we keep hanging on to the past.
Press into God and the life he is calling you to, and stop looking back. Leave Egypt behind.
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