Philippians 3:12-14 NKJV
“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
On Sunday we reached our 3rd year as a church and today we step into our 4th year. Hallelujah! And let me tell you, we have faced many challenges, disappointments, loss, ups & downs, pain… But Jesus said it, “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me.” (Matthew 24:9)
Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what it will be in this Christian life here on earth. We will face challenges, disappointments, pain, ups & downs, affliction, temptation, and all kinds of trials and tribulations. But James reassures us in 1:12, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”
In verse 13 of Philippians, The Apostle Paul urges us to leave what is behind us and reach forward to the things which are ahead. He also acknowledges that he isn’t perfect. And neither are we. Paul’s point is not to forget the past altogether but to stop dwelling on past sin, defeat, and failures. We must make an intentional choice to leave the garbage and disappointments behind, for they can single-handedly cripple us from effective service and ministry. We are to fix our eyes on Christ, the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). It accomplishes nothing of spiritual value to dwell on sin, hurt, suffering, or difficulty. We are to dwell on Christ and look forward to what He is going to do. We must believe wholeheartedly that God is going to do something great in our ministries and our lives.
There are things that we, like Paul, wish we could have done differently, but Paul doesn’t dwell there. He chooses to reach forward and press on toward the goal. He is focused on the future such that his future hope impacts his present. We need to live in light of finishing our race in Christ strongly even if we have had a few, or many, poor early stages. We must reach for the prize, running as if we want to win (1 Corinthians 9:24). Each day, we must set our focus by faith on the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. This is a call toward holiness, growth, sanctification, and maturity in Christ. It is a call toward eternal priorities, and it is a call toward putting our faith in what God can do.
If we want to suffer another year of failed resolutions, we can dwell on the past, stay mired in sin, and not even attempt to reach forward. But we must press on in faith, trusting God that He will cause all things to work for our good (Romans 8:28). May God’s glory be lifted high in our lives now and in the upcoming year, and may we let our future hope of glory impact how we live each day in the present. May God give us strength to press on and reach forward, and may God grant us faith to believe that God is able even when we are very unable. One day, by faith, we will reach our goal, but it will only be because of Christ at work in and through us. To Him be the glory both now and on that wonderful day. Amen.
We, at The Living Word Ministries will like to thank all those who joined and supported us on Saturday. As we press forward into our 4th year, keep us in your prayers.
Scripture of the day: “And the Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward.” ~ Exodus 14:15
Pastor Peter Okereke Jr.
The Living Word Ministries Inc.
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