As we move forward in this fresh, new year, do you struggle with looking back?
Picture this: You’re at the starting lineup. Toes are pressed in deeply along the white line, ready to apply the maximum pressure to push the body forward as the sound of the gun explodes across the track.
Lungs fill and arms fly, as you race toward the finish line. Your legs extend and rotate in precision, helping you gain speed and distance, pulling you ahead of those by your side. The air feels great against your face and keeps you alert and focused.
Then it happens — you hear a sound from behind. What is it? A competitor? Is he closing in?
Instead of pressing forward with increased speed, you take a second to turn your head, to catch a glimpse, but in that moment, you lose a second, you don’t see what’s at your feet, you’ve lost sight of the goal.
A trip, a turn, a loss of power — we’ve all seen it. Race after race, time after time. A runner looks back instead of forward and pays the price.
The Apostle Paul knew the importance of focus. He was well-aware of the forces that work against those who follow Christ, who seek to honor God, and he warned the believers in Philippi of the same.
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.*
The world would love to trip you up in this new year. You may start out with great plans to live for God, but don’t think that there are not forces working against you. All it takes is a look back, a look at the internet, social media, the television, the one who’s trying to get you to do something you know would draw you down. That quick turn of the head can be the beginning of a trip, a fall, a losing of your way.
We’re all in the same boat, so I’m preaching to myself, believe me. The beauty about following Christ is that he’s there to pick us up when we do fall, but it’s still something I wish he never had to do.
Will you join me in striving to focus forward in the days ahead? Together, let’s press on toward the goal to God’s glory.
Grace and Peace
Philippians 3:13-14 (ESV)