Brothers, 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 of God in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 3:13-14
The end of the year is upon us – and many of us begin to think of new year’s resolutions. Perhaps losing that extra 10 pounds, a healthier diet, drinking more water. Perhaps we reach for something less easily seen: to develop the habit of gratitude, to pray more, to complain less.
But Paul’s is no new year’s resolution nor abstract goal: “One thing I do”! We muddle about in dozens of things, overwhelmed and aimless. No wonder we are exhausted! Paul has laser sharp focus. Perhaps we all long for Paul’s clarity, but it involves something immensely difficult: forgetting what is behind or in other words, letting go of some things.
So in the midst of resolutions and goals, perhaps we can also ask the question: What can we let go of?
Let Go of Hurts
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. ~ Colossians 3:12-13
Have you been hurt this past year? If you’ve interacted with humanity, the answer is almost certainly yes! I well understand the sting and the hurt – but it does no good to hold onto it. Breathe – and let it go.
Let Go of Accomplishments and Pride
so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” ~ 1 Corinthians 1:31
Of course, there’s nothing quite like a well placed word of encouragement to strengthen our hearts. The wise man tells us that such words give healing and indeed life (Proverbs 12:18)! And yet, we must work for the Lord’s glory and not our own. It is human to want to be recognized for our efforts and appreciated for what we do. But it is so easy to forget that all we have and all we are is from the Lord. And so our boasting must always be in Him! We must let go of our pride.
Let go of the “Good Ol’ Days”
This is the day that the Lord has made;
let us rejoice and be glad in it. ~ Psalm 118:24
Beloved, I, too, have sweet memories, and they are a gift from God, unique to us and those we love. But today is the day we have been given. Today is the day God reminds us to rejoice. Otherwise, we will be tempted to squander our energies in the past instead of living in the present.
We begin to see the wisdom of Paul’s words. If we do not let go of the past, we cannot strain towards the call. And as we let go of the weight of our past, we find that it is released to hands much stronger, much surer, and much wiser than our own: God Himself.
We are free. Let God lead forth. We press on towards home with the King.