Scripture Reading: Philippians 3:12-16
“Brothers, 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.” (Philippians 3:13,14)
Paul had singleness of mind — “But ONE THING I do.” His goal was to become more like Christ. It was the driving force of his life, the single most important thing to him. He constantly kept his goal before him. He was clear about what he wanted to achieve.
In order to achieve his goal, Paul knew he had to forget certain things. He had to develop a discriminate forgetfulness of the past. It had to be discriminate because there were certain things that he must never forget. He could not forget his experience with Jesus on the road to Damascus. He could not forget the Lord’s grace and mercy that had been lavished upon him. He could not forget Christ’s love and faithfulness. And he could not forget what he had learned throughout the years about suffering, pain and sorrow.
But there were things that Paul needed to let go of. He did not need to dwell on his past failures. He needed to learn from them, but he did not need to let them hinder him from moving forward. He also needed to let go of some of his past successes. Failing to do so could cause him to be satisfied with his accomplishments and not push forward to greater achievements. He needed to forget his past sins. He was a forgiven man. He had to let go of any guilt because he had been abundantly pardoned of all his sins.
Once he had forgotten these things, Paul could press on toward accomplishing his goal — “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” This was his goal, his ONE THING. He wanted to gain Christ, to know Him and to honor Him until he was called to glory. The Westminster Shorter Catechism begins with the question: What is man’s chief end? The answer is: To glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
Paul’s words here remind me of David’s words — “ONE THING I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek Him in His temple” (Psalm 27:4). Paul and David were seeking the same ONE THING. They both wanted to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. What is your ONE THING?
Lord Jesus, enable me to have a discriminate forgetfulness of my past. Let me forget my past failures, sins, and successes. Let me press on toward the ONE THING of glorifying You and enjoying You forever. Give me singleness of mind. Enable me to live faithfully for You. Let me keep my eyes on You, Lord Jesus, and strive for what is ahead.
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