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Stretching Forward

Updated: Jul 1, 2020

In Philippians 3 Paul states “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. 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, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” I love the message that Christianity is about moving forward not backwards in our lives. It’s about stretching to the goal, even as a runner running as hard as he can stretches his body for the finish line. It is the beauty of the race.

Paul certainly had a history before Christ. A very public and well noted history surrounded Saul of Tarsus. Saul, later named Paul, esteemed above his peers, a Pharisee of Pharisees, he was a son of the tribe of Benjamin. Paul certainly had a past. That past also included the persecution of the church, the stoning of Stephen, the casting lots for the lives of saints. If we read his accounts of these things we see that he used them to motivate him to move forward but here he shows us that he didn’t allow them to weigh him down.

Back in the book of Haggai, they had returned to Jerusalem, had laid the foundation of the temple and had left it to pursue their own business and homes. The temple foundation had grown over and Haggai was sent to preach to them, to get back to work. When the temple was completed there were some older brethren who remembered the splendor of the temple of Solomon and saw this temple simply could not compare. They wept. They couldn’t rejoice in the fact that they had bounds but now were free, they could not find joy in the fact they were once captive but now are home, the lack of glee for what once lay in ruins now the temple was rebuilt.

Whether the past was splendid as in the days of the children of God in Haggai’s day or the past was less then splendid, as were Paul’s former days we cannot allow them to keep us from stretching forward in running the race. If we have with penitent hearts confessed our sins unto God for his forgiveness we need to move on and be about the Master's work. I know that we can never actually forget, but let us use what we can to motivate and whatever ties us down let us do our best to shed. Heaven is the place, standing before Christ some day is the goal.

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