Jump Start # 2434
Philippians 3:13 “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.”
In our last Jump Start we looked at a passage from Peter where some brethren had forgotten their purification from their sins. They forgot where they came from. There are some things that we should never forget. Remembering our blessings helps us to be thankful, appreciative and good stewards. In writing those thoughts, it occurred to me that there are some things that we do need to forget. Remember some things and forget other things.
Our verse today shows Paul forgetting what was behind. He chose to forget some things. This was not a bad memory, but rather a purposed mind. Some things we need to hold on to. Then there are things we need to let go of. Paul’s accomplishments as a Jew were no longer important to him. Who he was is not something that he wanted to hold on to. Now, it was a matter of who he is and where he was going.
There are some things that you and I need to forget:
We need to forget the hurts that others have caused us. Like a scab, as long as we keep remembering those things, we pick and pick and that wound never heals. We can forget a compliment but it seems we can remember the harsh things people have said to us. Some can remember, decades later, the mean things that some said to them. Some can remember church problems as if they happened last week, but they didn’t. They happened years ago. Every new face is told those sad stories. Over and over those things are remembered, retold, and relived. And, the sad truth is, many of those sad problems happened a generation ago. People got mad. Some left. Time moved on. People don’t really know or understand what the problems were, but they know they are not to like, accept, or fellowship those in that other group. A good ole’ fashioned memory loss would do a lot of good. It is here where children shine better than adults. Kids can get mad at each other and say the meanest things to each other. They can run to their rooms and slam the door and even verbally declare that they hate the other person. But in just a short while, those same children can be seen playing with each other again. Forgotten. Moved on. Better to play with someone than to play by yourself. Children are good at that. Adults can’t do that. We have to end relationships. Switch congregations. De-friend someone. Cut all ties and never, ever again be with that person. It would do good just to forget some things.
We need to forget our forgiven sins. That’s hard. Sometimes we wonder if we are forgiven and what’s holding us back is the fact that we can’t forgive ourselves. God can. Others can. Be we won’t. We remember. We feel like we do not deserve God’s blessings. We want our names removed from serving in the church, not for a short time, but forever. We feel second rate and second class. We continue to believe that God is angry with us. We refuse to believe that we are forgiven. We hold serious doubts in our minds about Heaven for us. Part of the problem here is refusing to trust and accept the grace of God. Part of the problem is demanding perfection in ourselves. Part of the problem is failing to see that God loves us and is ready to use us in His kingdom.
We need to forget many of the accomplishments we have made, even spiritually. Our progress ought to be evident to all, the Scriptures tell us. Growth opens doors for us. People ought to recognize the roles we play in teaching, leading and encouraging souls to the Lord. That’s all good. However, if we start listing all the good things we do, it sure sounds like bragging. And, bragging has a way of squeezing God out of the picture. The way some talk, you’d wonder how the kingdom survived this long without them. They’ve done this and they’ve done that. And, because of them the church has doubled in size. And, because of them more became elders. It seems to be that Paul planted and Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. The glory goes to God. Heaven remembers the cups of cold water that we have given to others. We don’t need to keep track and we certainly do not need to tell others. Bragging has a way of making it seem that I’m better than you are. That’s never the truth. I may do things you can’t, but you can do things that I cannot. And, together, neither one of us can do much without God’s help. The five and two talent men did what they did for the master. The talents belonged to him, not them. They were simply stewards and servants in the kingdom. And, that’s our roles as well. I knew this guy who preached his whole life. His work was always with a small group. From an outside perspective, it sure seemed like he wasn’t doing much. The group he worked with never seemed to grow. In our times today, we’d tell him to move on or do something else. The results simply weren’t there. However, this preacher is viewed as a great hero. His name happened to be Noah. THE Noah. Not much to brag about when it came to his preaching. Doubt if he were alive today that he’d be called to hold many meetings. Yet, he is among God’s hall-of-fame. Righteous. Obedient. And a man of faith. Holding a bunch of Gospel meetings doesn’t mean really anything. It doesn’t even mean a guy is good. And, how easy it is to compare the number of meetings, the size of the congregation, the number baptized as a measuring rod of success and a determination that one is better than others. God doesn’t do that. Do your work. Give it your best. Pour all your energies into what you are doing, but don’t be bragging to others about how much you have done. Just do it.
To forget is to let things go. It’s to not dwell on things. It’s to focus your attention elsewhere. It’s to direct your thoughts to where God wants them to be. Sometimes we just need to open the windows of our minds and toss out stuff that doesn’t belong there. It cutters our thoughts and fills our hearts with things that are not helpful. Forgetting what lies behind, as our verse tells us, is a choice. You can do that or you can decide to keep things right before your eyes.
Clutter in our homes ought to be pitched out as well as the cutter in our minds. It does good to forget some things.