“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,” – Philippians 3:13 (NIV)
Aren’t we glad that 2020 is behind us? It was a challenging year for most of us. The lines between work and personal life were blurred for many of us as we worked from home. During the circuit breaker period, families had to adjust and manage the tensions that invariably surfaced from our being in close proximity with one another. The constant changes and adaptations to new measures also left us feeling edgy and anxious.
We entered 2021 with renewed hopes and aspirations for a better year as a sense of normalcy slowly returns. As we look ahead, Paul reminds us to not allow our past to affect our actions and attitudes. Our past can become hidden baggage we carry with us that weighs us down, dissipates our energy and even scuttles our plans. We must leave behind all that hinders our spiritual growth and the pursuit of our aspirations.
Through my personal reflection, I would like to share with you a list of items that we may need to leave behind as we move forward into 2021:
Our pains and disappointments in life, which may cause us to be angsty, angry and disengaged. These negative emotions, when left unchecked, can wear us down and cause us to turn away people who deeply care for us.
Our prejudice towards people who may have hurt or disappointed us. Let us not keep score, but ask the Holy Spirit to empower us to forgive and set healthy emotional boundaries.
Our pride in successes, which can leave a gaping hole in our souls if we place our worth in them. Paul considered his past successes rubbish in comparison to knowing Christ.
Our pain points – the recurring sins that often trip us. These habitual sins eat up our souls and cause us to live in guilt.
Our lukewarm attitude towards personal discipleship and fellowship with God. Slothfulness in spiritual disciplines can quickly erode our devotion to God.
When we leave behind the past, we find the freedom to enjoy God and the life He has given us. In the words of Eugene Peterson, “I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back.” (Philippians 3:13, The Message) Similarly, we are to fully embrace the life that we now have in Christ.
Paul was single-minded in his pursuit of “what is ahead” – that is, to know Christ more intimately (v.10). As we adjust to life in the new normal marked by change and uncertainty, let us prioritise the pursuit of knowing God. This will require discipline and intentionality on our part (“straining toward”). Among the many resolutions we have set for 2021, let us make knowing Christ our supreme goal.
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