Friday, March 17, 2017

Finish The Race....

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 

If you want to keep going forward, expecting the things you're praying for, waiting patiently for them, and not being brought down by all the negative things of the past, then this passage is written for you. 

Try to put yourself in the mind of the apostle, who was most likely using imagery from a competitive race. 

If you want to finish the race and come out victorious at the end, then you'll have to put aside everything bad that's happened along the way. 

Paul doesn't mean that we can literally forget the bad, as if we should try to convince ourselves that it didn't really happen or that we can somehow block it all out of our memories or pretend it was some other way. 

I think he meant only that we aren't to keep the bad in the forefront of our minds, allowing it to shape our decisions and control our lives. 

He says that we are to focus our attention on the future, to keep our eyes on the finish line with such concentration that nothing else can distract us. 

For example, if you're running a hurdle race, you can't afford to think about the hurdle you just hit, the pain in your leg, the person next to you who fell, or the applause, shouting, or cursing coming from the crowds. 

Your mind must be totally focused on the tape at the finish line. 

It's not that you're unaware of it all; it's only that you mustn't let yourself be influenced or controlled by any of it. 

There's something more important that should be occupying your attention. 

So it is with all the mistreatment we receive, the mistakes we've made, the slander of our names, the misperceptions, lost relationships, regrets, fraud, deception, and everything else that can come our way in this life. 

If we're to move ahead successfully and keep on praying effectively, we must not let anything control our decisions or thinking so much that we are thrown off course. 

Nothing can derail us in our spiritual lives more quickly than bitterness, guilt, growing hatred, resentments, continual rehearsal of that argument we had, the stupid things we've done, the abuse we received, and all the rest. 

With God's help, we have to let it go. 

The only healthy way that can happen is for us to refocus on the goal of glorifying God every time we're tempted to stop and go over it one more time. 

Pray that God will show you if any unnecessary concentration on your past is hindering (or preventing) your need from being met.

From "100 Day Prayer " by Dr John Snyder 

Happy St Patrick's Day!!  Stay Strong!!

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