Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (King James Version)
Ever had a serious gut-check about your life? You can read/hear Paul having one in these verses. But after he has his time of reflection (good and bad), he chose to forget the past (everything) and Move Forward with God's new goals for him.
There are some keys that will help us Move Forward in Christ and see more of His plan in our lives. After experiencing a victory or moment of serious life reflection, the attitude that we have not arrived will go a long way. Paul says, "I count not myself to have apprehended:....". In the New International Version, the verse states - "I do not consider myself to have taken hold of it." The original Greek word used for "count not" (logidzomai) means to calculate. So, my paraphrase of this part is - I do not calculate to have arrived.
Remembering past goals that The Lord has set for you and seen you through is healthy, especially for testimonial purposes. However, to continue focusing on those victories will slow your progress Moving Forward with God's plan for your life. Look at what Paul says, "...forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before...". "Some say Paul was forgetting his past life of sin, but he had put that behind him long ago. Now he was putting his past successes and accomplishments behind him. Do you know why he had to do this? Because stopping at past victories is what keeps most people from moving into future victories. They become so fixated on what they have done that they lose sight of what they need to do - and that keeps them from moving forward to possess new territory in God's plan for their lives!" (Rick Renner, p.627, Sparkling Gems From The Greek)
The last installment says, "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." The New International Version states it this way - I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Salvation is not touched on here. Paul is already a Christian serving The Lord. This verse talks about pursuing goals or marks that God has ordained with the notion of reward in Heaven for obedience and accomplishment(s).
The pitfall here is that we often compare our God-given goals, our life-track, targets, marks and so forth with others. Even our successes and accomplishments we do the same thing. In his second letter to the believers in Corinth, Paul said, We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. (2 Cor. 10:12) I like how Mr. Renner conveys this idea - "...the real issue is how we 'measure up' to the goals the Lord gave us. When we stand before Jesus, He isn't going to judge us by how we did in comparison to others. He will judge us for how we did with the assignments He gave us to do." (p. 626, Sparkling Gems From The Greek)
Paul had a lot of time on his hands as he was imprisoned in Rome. Reflection, soul searching and new goal setting with God sure looked like what was depicted from Philippians 3:13-14. Paul could have chosen to consider all of his accomplishments up to that point in his life and just stop, quit, retire - whatever you want to call it. However, Paul viewed serving Christ as a forever lifestyle, not a passing job.
I encourage the Chrisitan Family to make the most of your gut checks and your soul searching with The Lord.
- When you reflect on your accomplishments, appreciate the victories, but don't stay there God has more for you.
- Check your attitude (I have not arrived).
- Obtain the right mindset. Remember His mercies are new every morning and some goals are too (forget those things behind, reach forward to the things before).
- Place one foot in front of the other (press toward), with a prize in mind (nobody dishes out rewards like God).
- "I do not calculate to have arrived: I forget my old goals and accomplishments and focus my attention and energy on future objectives, moving toward the target and prize which Christ provides."