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Forward Forgetting




When Chris came up with the perfect idea of an engraved rock to remember Aaron, he asked what I'd like written on it.



Aaron was an amazing athlete and an amazing follower of Christ, so I chose Philippians 3.



Now here's the part where your eyes glaze over and you start to skim.



Don't. Please.



A lesson I (re)learned from a pastor not too long ago was, "Do not read Scripture quickly."



God is worthy of our slow study. Rushing through His Word is offensive and superficial, so let's pump the brakes on what these verses can teach us. I have definitely relied on my study Bible's notes and Matthew Henry's commentary to make me smarter than I am.



My Bible Notes title the section: No Confidence in the Flesh



In and of ourselves we are not enough. We fall a million miles short. So we start reading knowing that relying on self does not work. We are not to have any confidence in ourself, but rather in the Lord.



Before dissecting, here's the Scripture as a whole (aka the part we are tempted to skim):



"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."

Phil 3:12-14




Did you rush through the reading?




"Not that I have already obtained all this, or have arrived at my goal"


* there is a goal

* the goal has not yet been reached

* self-assessment is humble




"but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me...I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it"


* there is a process and it requires effort

* it is possible to obtain the goal

* Jesus took hold of us, not the other way around

* there is a trust, a safety, as Christ took hold of us

* Christ Jesus has a purpose for us

* 'take hold' is repeated which equals significance

* 'yet' conveys a confidence that it will happen, but not quite yet




"But one thing I do..."


* be single-minded in our mission as believers in Jesus

* keep our focus simple and focused




"Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead"


* the past can keep us stagnant in the here-and-now

* instead of staying stuck with guilt, focus on our relationship with Him now

* be future-oriented -- it ushers in hope of what's to come

* Jesus forgives and forgets -- we are to mimic Him

* what is ahead is worth constantly striving toward

* our path of being effective Christians demands we hurdle obstacles and distractions and potential entanglements




"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus."


* Actively keep going without stopping

* Keep the focus on knowing God

* Do not stop short before the goal is reached

* There is a worthwhile goal and it demands a life of faith and obedience

* Like a race, the finish line is followed by a prize

* God initiates the action by calling us

* Jesus is how heaven is possible for us

* In the now, our life is meaningful with purpose because we hope in Christ

* The goal is to be like Christ and carry out His will

* The prize is eternal life in heaven with our Savior




We can see how God's Word is living and active, yes?




My husband Aaron pressed forward. He was on a mission. He responded to God's call.




And he won the ultimate prize.





I encourage you to make the time to go a step further and slowly study the verses in greater context:



7 But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ.


8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ


9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.


10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death,


11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.


12 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.


13 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,


14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.


- Philippians 3:7-14





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