Thursday, September 3
Focus of the Week: Giving yourself grace brings God’s peace
Brothers (sisters), 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 in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14
Please read Philippians 3:12-16
As we have looked into this week’s focus entitled: “giving yourself grace brings God’s peace,” we have read two different parables: one being about the prodigal son, and the other being about the humble tax-collector. I can’t help but wonder what these two men’s “after story” might be. What did the now-at-home-son do in relation to his father, his brother, and the servants? Did he keep his joy that was present at the celebratory feast? And what about the now-forgiven-tax-collector? When he went home justified, did he then live justified? I would hope that both of these men freely lived in the mercy and grace that was given them. Jesus made it clear that it was unnecessary for them to bear the weight of their past sins.
Likewise, today, our passage encourages us to forget what lies behind (v.3). These words were divinely penned by Paul. If you remember, Paul was formerly named Saul and he was a fierce opposer of Christ. He had many Christians imprisoned, persecuted and even put to death. (Now that would be hard to forget!). One day, in one moment…Jesus changed everything. Saul literally saw the Light, so much so that it blinded him, and… transformed him. He, now Paul, became a passionate servant of Christ, making incredible missionary journeys in order to spread Jesus’ name. Paul could have been bound up with both guilt and shame over his past, but instead he was bent on nothing else but straining forward to what lies ahead (v.13). All things were new; he replaced his misguided past with a purposeful present and future.
How about you? Are you stuck in your past, thinking you are not worthy to speak the name of Christ because of the things you have done? Do not let your accuser (the devil) lie to you. If God himself says, “I will forgive their wickedness and remember their sins no more” (Hebrews 8:12), then you and I can choose to forget our past messes too. Let’s allow his peace to invade our hearts and then confidently press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call in Christ Jesus (v. 14). We are not today’s Saul; on the contrary, we are today’s Paul.
Precious Lord, Thank you for forgiving us completely. Thank you for helping me look toward You and Your peace rather than at the broken pieces of my past. Thank you for the peace that I find when I allow You invade my heart and mind. In Jesus’ Name and for the Father’s glory. Amen.
For further reading: Psalm 103:12-14, Hebrews 8:12, 2 Corinthians 5:17