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.
Much of my life, I rode motorcycles. There is something about wind in your hair and bugs in your teeth that makes life exciting. Another thing that makes riding motorcycles exciting is when dogs chase you. There is nothing like a dog as big as your motorcycle trying to take a souvenir from your pants leg!
There are two ways dogs chase motorcycles. Some run beside you. There is nothing much you can do with them. All you can do is hope your motorcycle is faster than the dog can run.
The ones that are fun are those that run ahead of you and look backward. Usually they are running as fast as they can go and headed in the direction they think the motorcycle is going. Focused on the motorcycle, the dogs are not interested in what lies ahead. All they see is what is behind. If you want to end the chase, all you do is aim at the next set of mailboxes. The dog will become tangled in the mailbox posts before he ever knows it is coming.
Now, I know it seems a little mean to be talking about dogs running into mailbox posts, but it is equally rough for people to run through life looking backward. Many a person has been so focused on what is behind them that they fail to see what is ahead. They focus on “the good old days.” The past is all they see. Others focus on “something that is about to hurt them.” Those are focused on some threat or issue and cannot focus on life for watching for trouble.
In Philippians 3:13-14, Paul gives a safer focus for life. He says, “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.” For Paul, what lies ahead is his focus. Paul is not trying to outrun his past; he is striving for what lies ahead. Paul has a varied past. He has great successes and great failures. He has the approval of many while others wish he was dead. He has enjoyed much, but has endured much.
Paul knows that what he is doing now is more important than anything in the past. If he is to be successful and reach his goal, that goal must be his focus. For Paul, his focus is the “upward call of Christ Jesus.”
What is your focus? You will hit fewer bumps in the road if you will look ahead. Looking behind may be fun but looking ahead is wise!
Dr. John A. Temple is pastor of Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church, located at 4032 Poplar Springs Drive in Meridian. Visit the church website online at www. psdbc.org.