“I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14)
In this verse, we have Paul pressing on, running the spiritual long distance race to the finish line, seeking a prize–being called upward by God via King Jesus. Upward where? Heaven, communion with God, but in context, more than that–perfection. He puts his past failures and past successes behind him and strains forward to the next step of spiritual growth, bit by bit more like Jesus with every step of the way. In verse fifteen, he tells us this is a fit attitude for the mature.
For many of us, the past, both the good and the bad, is a dead weight in this race. We’re too busy wallowing in our failures, or glorying in our successes, to dust ourselves off, pick ourselves back up, and get back (or keep on) running. What painful memories are holding us back today from growing? We need to examine what mental baggage we’ve got packed away and deal with it, hand it over to God, rather than stuffing it down out of sight. If it’s not hindering you, by all means, leave the past buried, but it if it is a dead weight, confront those old memories and cry it out before God, giving it over to him until it’s no longer burdening us.
So often we get tired and quit. It’s stressful and time-consuming. We need discernment whether we’re picking at old wounds and snatching dead weight back out of God’s hands, or uncovering a weight that’s been bogging us down without us consciously aware of it.
Lord, show us what, if anything, from our past is an emotional burden hindering us from moving forward in our walk with you and keeping us from growing and becoming more like you. Give us the strength, patience, and willingness to face the painful memories so we can hand them over to you and properly put it behind us. Free us from all bondage. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.