'Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.' Philippians 3:13-14
It's week 2 of 2017 and some of us who have been lucky enough to have had an extra few days off return to work today. The wind is howling outside and the rain battering off the window this morning and the whole idea of going outside isn't very appealing! It requires determination, as it speaks about in this verse, 'I press on...'
We were hearing about 'pressing on' last night at church. Graham was speaking about the choices we make and how they affect our lives. I concluded by telling a story of someone who recently got in touch with me who has lost her way spiritually and backslidden very badly. She was looking for the way back. I gave her some pointers. These might help all of us if we apply them. Here they are:
1. Spend 15-30 mins everyday reading the Bible and praying. By doing this we are 'pressing on.'
2. Confess all your past sin to God. Tell Him everything and ask for cleansing and forgiveness. That way you are 'forgetting the past.'
3. Turn away from everything you know is wrong. Stop committing sin! If in doubt don't do it. Change the way you live. By doing this you are 'looking forward to what lies ahead.'
4. Find a church to go to that helps you. Attend on a regular basis. I believe we all need church twice a week if not more. At least once at the weekend and once midweek to keep you topped up. That's all part of the 'pressing on.' There are times when all of us don't feel like going out, (even the minister!) especially after a hard days work and when the weather is bad!
5. Get yourself a good Christian book to read. There are hundreds of good books out there: teaching books, autobiographies and study guides. Find something that wets your appetite and helps to create a hunger for more of God. Hear how others have 'press(ed) on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize.'
These are all basic choices we can make on a regular basis throughout the course of a week. Each one of them will help to brighten our spirits and draw us nearer to God. Each one will help to keep us on the right road when we feel inclined to be lazy and wander off.
Last week in Thought For the Week I spoke about reaching higher, wider levels in our spiritual lives. Well, here are some of the ways we can achieve that. Try it and you'll discover it makes a big difference.
I pray that His blessing will be on you this week and you'll forget the past and look forward to what lies ahead, by pressing on in your new commitments for 2017. God bless.