13 By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 3 encompasses the subjects of knowing God personally and being focused on the goal. What does that mean exactly? Let me help you find out as I have. As Paul so humbly says, I’m not an expert in all or any of this. I only know that through Jesus is the only way I can reach my goal and receive my prize. With his Joy, I find my strength to forget what lies behind and strain forward to what lies ahead. ‘What is it that lies ahead?’, you may ask, I know I have wondered the same thing.
There are many things that can happen to us. What happened to Paul after Jesus left earth landed him in Prison as a direct means to persecute him as a Christian. Prison is not what it is today. He was beaten, starved and chained. He could have let his thoughts overtake him into believing that he had done wrong or offended God, but he didn’t. He hardly even mentions his current situation. What does he do instead? He writes a very large portion of the new testament which is a foundation that much of Christianity relies on today. Through Paul, God brought much of the Gospel, or good news of Jesus, to all the world. Remember, God did not force his way into Paul’s extremities to physically write while Paul was in prison. No, Paul chose to disregard his past and current situations, lean on God and press forward to what lies ahead.
You’ll notice that this is titled “One Thing”. Yes, I know there is a preposition linking the ideas of forgetting and straining, suggesting that it’s actually two things. This is no error. It must be one choice, one action and one intention. If you, who operate presently, expose your past, there is no other time period besides the future to look or act upon. I have made the mistake of questioning my choice by trying to think my way through this. I was met with trouble because I did not complete my action of faith. The key word is action. I implore you to decisively do something different than what you normally do.
As for what to do: ultimately, as I have found through experience and in my ever increasing relationship with Jesus, what lies ahead is up to you. You make the choices, you can probably openly admit you’ve made wrong choices, why not make some good ones? Don’t talk yourself out of it, I can’t stress this enough – decide what to do and then do it. In one motion. You just have to remember the one thing that will keep you on the right track: forgetting your past and straining to press on toward the call of Godly, heavenly things in Jesus.