Monday, January 1, 2024

Eyes Forward

“But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.” (Job 23:10 NLT)

One of the top New Year’s resolutions that people make every year, no matter what year it is, is to lose weight. Other resolutions include getting in better shape physically, getting more organized, reading more good books, and spending more time with family and friends.

But how about resolving to have a stronger spiritual commitment? Yes, we need goals. We need objectives. We need things to aim for in life. But we also need to be growing as Christians and deepening our walk with the Lord.

Here are the words of the apostle Paul after he had walked with God for years: “No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: 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 NLT).

We must realize that we have a long way to go spiritually. We are but works in progress, and we have so far to go. If the apostle Paul saw that about himself, then certainly we need to see that about ourselves, because Paul truly was a man of God.

We also must realize that we cannot live in the past. We cannot be controlled by past mistakes or live in past victories. If you messed up last year, learn from it and don’t do it again. Make changes in your behavior, in your habits, and in your choices that will prevent you from going down that road again.

At the same time, don’t live in past victories. If God did something wonderful in your life last year, be thankful for that. But remember that a new year is before you with many new opportunities. Therefore, press on toward what God has for you.

Runners recognize there is pain involved in running a race, especially if you’re running a marathon. You start off with a burst of energy, then you get a bit numb, then it becomes painful, and after a while, it becomes difficult to put one foot in front of the other.

This is also true of the Christian life. It’s a walk of faith. It’s a battle. There are challenges, difficulties, and obstacles that we will face. Yet Paul was saying, “I’m straining to move forward.”

Paul wasn’t addressing his words to a group of spiritually elite Christians. They are given for every follower of Jesus Christ. God calls every one of us to press on.

Maybe you went through something difficult last year. Or, maybe you will go through something difficult in the coming year. But know this: Jesus will be with you through it. 

He said, “And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20 NLT). He also has promised, “I will never fail you. I will never abandon you” (Hebrews 13:5 NLT). You are not running this race alone.

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