I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, 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.
Forgetting What is Behind
After a long day, that glorious moment has finally arrived. However, as your weary head sinks deeper into its pillow your mind begins reviewing the events of the day, and you find that sleep is not going to come as quickly as you would like. Unfinished tasks, disappointing events, words that you regret speaking … there are all sorts of things that happened during the day that you wish you could go back and change, but you can’t.
One of the most frustrating things in life is also one of the most solid truths. We cannot go back and change anything that has happened in the past. Neither the hasty words spoken five minutes ago, nor the foolish decisions of youth can be undone. There is no time machine that allows us to go back and avoid making the mistakes we have made.
How awesome our God is! He does undo the past. He has erased those mistakes, not by using a time machine, but with the blood of his Son. Every hurtful word spoken, and every selfish decision made, all the sinful acts we have ever committed—they have all been erased by Jesus’ death on the cross.
Now we have been given a tremendous gift—a future. Because of Jesus’ death on the cross in our place, all our sin and guilt have been removed and by faith in Jesus we have been given eternal life in heaven. Instead of ending the day with a mind that is spinning, filled with the regrets of the past, we can rest in peace with our eyes focused on the wonderful future God has graciously given to us.
Each day we struggle to make decisions that are pleasing to God. Sometimes the Holy Spirit gives us the strength to win that struggle. Other times our human nature prevails, and we fail. Trusting in the forgiveness that is ours through Jesus and confident of his gift of eternal life, we can sleep in peace every night. The sins of our past have been erased forever. Instead of focusing on them, we can focus on the future—the eternal future we have been given—and how we are going to strive to live our next moment to the glory of the gracious God who has given it to us.
May the Holy Spirit graciously enable us to echo the apostle Paul’s words: “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.”
Holy Spirit, fill my heart with a faith that focuses on the eternal prize that Jesus, my Savior has won for me with his blood. With my eyes focused on heaven, help me to live my life here on earth as the forgiven child of God that I am. In Jesus’ name I ask it. Amen.
This devotion was selected from the Daily Devotion archive.
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