Bible Reading: Philippians 3:12-21
There is a point in every Christ-follower’s life when their faith became theirs. It could’ve been from a young age, or older, but there came a time when it because their faith in Jesus, and not the faith of their parents. Throughout Paul’s letter to the Philippians, we read a letter to a church. A church is made up of the people, but no matter the number of people they are still one church. When we come to Philippians 3:12-21, although written to that one church, it hits home to us as individual believers. We all have arrived at faith in Jesus, and we will all receive the same reward of eternal life with our Heavenly Father, but our journey to get here has been different. Some grew up in a Christian home, some in an abusive home, some in a good home that was empty of religion. Some Christians are set free from addictions, whereas others have not faced many hard times or struggles. For some, life has been blessed and has no complaints, where others have a had a very hard life.
Whatever your journey was to this point, it cannot be your focus. Our past is what has shaped us into who we are today, but it does not define us. We remember the past, but we are not controlled by it. We can look back and see the hand of God guiding us, but this should be used as motivation to keep going forward. Knowing God guided you earlier in life boosts your confidence that He is guiding you now and will continue to. Our past has a way of distracting us, slowing us down, or holding us up altogether. As Paul writes, we too should be, “forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead”. You are who you are because of your past, but your future is determined by your choices. Going one step further, your choices will be determined by your heart. Last week we looked at Jesus Christ being the true treasure of heaven, and how we should treasure Christ above all things. It is Christ who has redeemed you from your past sins and given you the hope of a glorious future. Keep your eyes forward and run the race of faith. Let the redemption of your past drive you forward to Jesus.
Application: Our testimony is important because it shares with others what Christ has done in us. It is possible to share your testimony without being swallowed up by the past. Any time you think back to what you used to be, make sure you bring those thoughts to who you are now in Jesus Christ. Satan would love to trap us in the past and cause us to swerve from the path God has for us. Our enemy would love to discourage our faith or tempt us back to our former lives of darkness. He is clever and crafty, so watch out for this trap in the past. Be in prayer daily and spend time thanking God for the salvation He has worked in you. Thank Him and seek Him for that continued work in you. Forget what was behind you and press on to the salvation you have in Jesus.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I thank you for setting me free from the sins of my past. Thanks to Jesus, I am set free from the guilt and shame, and I have been given a future filled with hope and love. Please give me the strength, wisdom and courage to press on and never turn back. Strengthen my faith so that I will always be pressing on to the prize and hope I have in your Son and my Savior. I love you, Father. Amen.