Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my
own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have
made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to
what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in
Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think
otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have
We are called to live for God’s eternal purposes, not be held back by our shame.
Are you an overthinker? I know I can be at times, even to the point of it being
debilitating. I’ll leave a conversation or situation and feel like I said too much or not
enough. At times I feel like my mind brings up all the wrongs I have done and I feel like
there is no way that I could be an ambassador for Christ because of all the things I should
have done. All the prideful thoughts, selfish actions, greed, so many missed opportunities
to make Him known because of my own fear, the list goes on and on.
I wonder how Paul felt when he met a new group of people, I wonder if he was ever
crippled thinking about if they had heard of his past of persecuting the church? In this
passage he admits that he is not the perfect example of Christ, but he doesn’t get stuck
there. He “presses on… forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies
ahead.” That is what makes the story of Jesus the “good news!” We do not have to live in
shame and regret of our distant past or current struggle. Yes, through God’s kindness His
Spirit convicts us to repent of the things that are in opposition to Him, but then we have
the privilege to ask God to forgive us because of the sacrifice Jesus made for us on the
cross and leave those things that we hate that we did behind us, buried with Christ. Then
we get the incredible blessing to be a part of building His eternal kingdom, and we can’t
be stuck in all the “should-haves” to do that. Our confidence is not in how great of a
witness we have been, but in how great our Savior is.
What are the “shoulds” you rehearse in your head? Take time to bring those to God and
ask for forgiveness then ask for grace to believe that those regrets are forgiven and that
God has plans for you to be used for His eternal purposes.