I heard about an interesting New Year’s Eve custom in Italy. As evening approaches, the streets are cleared and even the police take cover. Then at the stroke of midnight, the windows of the houses fly open, and every member of the family pitches out a whole catalog of personal possessions that remind them of something in the past year they’re determined to wipe out of their minds.
The apostle Paul recognized the importance of putting the past behind him as well. He said, “I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead” (Philippians 3:13 NLT).
We cannot live in the past. We cannot be controlled by past mistakes or live in past victories. So if you have blown it in past year, learn from it. And don’t do it anymore. Make changes in your behavior, in your habits, and in your choices to avoid going down that road again. Learn from your mistakes.
At the same time, don’t live in past victories. If God did something wonderful in your life in the last year, be thankful for that. But a new year is before you with many new opportunities. So press on for what God has for you.
Paul continued, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (verse 14 NLT). If you’re a runner, you know there is pain involved in running a race, especially if you’re running a marathon. After a while, it is hard to move one foot in front of the other.
In the same way, the Christian life is not a cake walk. It’s a battle. Paul was saying, “I’m straining to move forward.” These words are for every follower of Jesus Christ. So press on toward what God has for you.
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Billy Graham: The Man I Knew
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