Is It Worth Looking Back?
I Corinthians 9:24
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.
One of my all-time favorite tweets, and I don’t tweet often, is this…”Nothing good happens in the food pantry after 9 PM.” I have always been on a diet. I can’t remember when I haven’t been on one. I love food and food loves me! I have tried many diets out there. Some have worked and others, well, let’s just say I gained a few pounds trying. Overall though, if I am going to pursue weight loss, I have to be determined. Doesn’t everyone? If I look back into the food pantry after 9 PM, I’m toast! I will continue to eat all the nightly snacks and then some. Then after feeling the guilt, the reminder comes of why, NOT giving into temptation, not looking back at a commitment and regretting what I did to break it, is so important.
In Philippians 3:12-16 (ESV), it states, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own. 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. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained.”
I enjoy reading Paul’s heart when he says he is not perfect! No one is! We are all still striving, hopefully, as believers to become more and more like Jesus Christ. Paul is saying to us that he still struggles with sin, even as a believer, and wants to continue to journey onward so that he will grow in Jesus. God’s grace is always enough!
Personal story here…. About ten years ago, I was wrestling with God about my passion for music and ministry. At that time, I was pursuing ministry in my own strength and trying to make things happen, with no success. I became bitter, frustrated and angry. I decided this tug-a-war in my heart was too much for me. I had just gotten married, we’d sold our first home, we were moving to Florida in a few weeks, and my music dreams were fading away. I cried out to God behind our home on a high school track during a nightly run. I got on my knees and physically, mentally and spiritually gave my pursuits, my passion and my own efforts to God. I gave Him everything that day that I should have years ago. I told the Lord this is something I am laying at Your feet; not to pick up again until You tell me to do so. Eight years later, God was telling me to pick up music ministry again, but now with a heart that ONLY wants His will. Not in my efforts, but in Christ alone. What freedom I experienced when I was ready to trust God with my life! I could look back at those eight years when I limitedly used my talents and think, “Man, I wasted a lot of those years!” But God was continually putting me in situations to lead worship, write songs and bible studies, and lead in relationships that I could not ignore. I don’t regret what God did in those years to humble me, train me and prepare me because His timing is and always will be perfect. I press on to the upward call of God, not looking back at what was, but looking forward to what is and what will be.
Not looking back also reminds me of Genesis 19:26 (NASB), which says, “But his wife, from behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” This passage reveals the trouble we get into for looking back. It also shows us where our treasures lay. Maybe Lot’s wife wanted to see if God was really going to destroy the city, or maybe she didn’t want to give up the relationships she loved so dearly. Whatever the reason she chose to look back, and it sadly cost her everything.
Philippians 3:17-21 (ESV) says, “Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like His glorious body, by the power that enables Him even to subject all things to Himself.”
Paul encourages us to live out our walk with the Lord in great humility and radical dependence. He shows us our goal again, “transforming our lowly bodies”, describing the sufferings we share with Christ, and our “glorious bodies”, our newness because of His resurrection and glorious return. May our dependence be ever so radical.
As always, I’m learning right there with ya!
Thankful for His Grace,