3rd January 2017

Frozen or Forgiven? 

“Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 3:12-14 (NKJV) 

With those powerful words the Apostle Paul summed up his attitude to life and provided us, as Christians today, a rallying cry. The ebb and flow on the tide of life means we will have good and bad times. As humans, we all too easily dwell on the negative and difficult times. If you have done something well, and out of 20 people, 19 congratulate and encourage you, but one person criticises you, guess which of those comments will linger in your mind? Sadly, that’s life today—it seems there is always someone around who sees only the negative. Then, of course, we can be negative and self-critical of ourselves, sometimes because life overwhelms us, sometimes because we make a mistake or do something stupid.

The Apostle, Paul, himself suffered in his life. Read about some of his trials in 2 Corinthians 11:25. We may not face the same trials but we, too, will have challenges which test us. Paul also struggled with his human nature and pull to do the wrong thing, while desiring to do the right thing, (Romans 7:14-25), just as we do. Yet in writing those words above, Paul showed he knew, beyond any doubt, that Jesus Christ had paid the penalty for his sins and that he was forgiven. His focus was on today and the future, not the past.

How about us? Are we frozen by our past mistakes or, in biblical terms, our past sins? Do we look forward or back? Can we, like Paul, understand our relationship with God so well, understanding the immeasurable love God has for us, so that we can also forget those things that are behind?

Each new day should find us looking forward with the joy that a relationship with God gives us, to the extent that we will willingly suffer whatever life throws at us and look for opportunities to share God’s love with others. The past does affect us, but it should not define us. Whatever we have done in the past should not freeze our potential in the present. Constantly looking backwards is focusing on ourselves, our problems, our weakness, our inadequacy and our failings. Constantly looking forwards involves looking outwards, wanting to help and serve others in spite of our limitations, putting our confidence in the God of love, not in ourselves.

Are you frozen or forgiven?

Father, it’s hard sometimes to grasp how awesome is your love for us, knowing everything about us, our past, our weaknesses, our failings; but still, your love sees only our potential in Christ. Help us to learn from the attitude of the Apostle Paul, looking forward to the future not frozen in the past. In Jesus
’ name, we pray.

Study by Keith Hartrick


About the Author: keithhartrick
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds, and serves on the Church Council there.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association
Community Centre
Pendas Way

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

Local Congregational Contact:
Malcolm Arnold
Phone: 01484-312347
Email: malcolm701@googlemail.com

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2 Responses to “3rd January 2017”

  1. John Magowan on January 3rd, 2017 11:47 am

    Some good positive thoughts to start off the new year. Thanks for sharing, Keith.

  2. Bill Pearce on January 6th, 2017 7:56 am

    Thank you Keith. I love the way Paul strives to get us to look to the future and not dwell on the past. So many people still do it.
    Regards and Love from Pretoria.

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