Paul stayed the course the Lord had set out before him. He left us a written testimony. One of his ways was recorded in Philippians 3:13-14. It says, “Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Note that the words, ‘forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward’ are fluid in motion. I like to think of this verse through the illustration of trapeze artists. They have to let go of the first bar in order to grasp the oncoming bar. If they did not let go of the first bar, they would be injured. When we hold onto our past, we remain stationary and inert to reach out.
On November 9, 2018 the Holy Spirit gave me these words: the forgetting is the empowerment to reach. Those words helped me let go of something that changed the course of my path. I had not been able to attend my church because of the brain injury 1/2/17. However, the Lord led me to another that was within driving distance when I could finally drive again.
Paul wrote another way that helped him stay his course. Philippians 4:11-12 says, “…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” Verse 13 was his empowerment. It says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
The moment we accepted Jesus as our personal Savior, our pathway changed. We, who walked the course of this world, began our journey of progressive sanctification. Before, our minds were dark, our thoughts were sinful, and we were alienated from God. Salvation brought us into a new family. John 1:13 says, “Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” Romans 8:15 says, “…you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, Abba Father.”
Scripture was written for our learning. As we read the Old Testament, 1 Corinthians 10:6 says, “Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.” As we read the New Testament, we are given sound doctrine that will enlighten our understanding. As we progress in our sanctification, old things begin to fall away.
Ephesians 4:1-2 says, “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love.” Verse 32 continued that instruction. It says, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”
One of the key ways that we can successfully stay our course is through heart forgiveness. We have to remember that satan will use others to try to derail us. The Lord uses others to hone our heart. Proverbs 27:17 says, “Iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” Iron rubbing against iron causes friction. Our progressive sanctification process teaches us how to live in harmony with others.