On the go? Press play!
Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection]. He, for the joy [of obtaining the prize] that was set before Him, endured the cross, despising and ignoring the shame, and is now seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2 AMPC
13 I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward. Philippians 3: 13-14 AMPC
It’s so easy to get caught up in the past. Past hurt, past pain, past joys and accomplishments. Though the feelings of the past may still linger on with us today, the truth is, they do not help us to move forward into tomorrow. Focusing too much on past experiences, good or bad, can leave us stuck staring into the rear view window of life. And we all know that leads to disaster. The past is just that. It’s already passed. And while I don’t say that to minimize our experiences, it’s important for us to not dwell on them.
For those of us who follow Jesus, He is our example for living here on earth. He is the Leader and Source of our faith. He is our reason for living. The scripture starts off by saying, “looking away from all that will distract, to Jesus”. The past can sometimes be a distraction from focusing on Jesus. If we are so focused on our past sins, we forget the power of Jesus’ death on the Cross and the righteousness that was bought for us with His very blood. If we dwell on past hurts, we negate Jesus’ stripes that He bore to heal even our hearts from brokenness. If we spend too much time thinking of our past accomplishments, we may be tempted to forget that Jesus is the only One worthy of praise and that without Him, we are indeed nothing. The simple truth is that after the past is gone, we must keep our eyes on Jesus. He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. So He keeps us moving forward into the plans God has for us. As long as we continue looking to Him.
Looking to Jesus doesn’t only help us to move past the past. It helps us to endure hardship in our present so we can get to the glory that awaits in the future. Jesus is our portion and great reward. One day we will be united with Him in glory. Jesus focused on the joy set before Him of being seated at the right hand of the Father. This is what enabled Him to endure the cross. Gruesome and humiliating as it was, Jesus knew He couldn’t focus on how awful His present circumstances on the cross were. He knew He had to ignore and despise the shame of the cross. Not allow it to define Him. He had to remember who He was. And as He set His eyes heavenward, He was able to endure a most violent and inhumane death. For the joy of paying the wages of our sins and setting us free, He endured.
Paul used Jesus’s example of keeping his eyes forward to keep him focused on the prize of one day being with Jesus again in heaven. He didn’t always get things right. He made mistakes and faltered along the way. Paul even suffered much hardship for preaching the gospel. But no matter what came his way, he was determined to do one thing. To press ahead. He pressed on toward the goal of glorifying God on earth and being with Him in heaven.
If we do nothing else today. If we make mistake after mistake. If we get hurt. If we feel pain or discouragement. If we give in to the temptation to worry or doubt. If we accomplish something awesome by God’s grace… May we all find the focus to fix our eyes on Jesus and press ahead. God is always calling us onward. Out of the past, from strength to strength and glory to glory. There’s always more growing to do. The Potter won’t be finished with His clay in this lifetime. And so, if we do nothing else today, may we press on toward the prize.
Love & Blessings,