2nd January 2012

No Regrets

“Then I have hope that I myself will be raised from the dead. I do not mean that I am already as God wants me to be. I have not yet reached that goal, but I continue trying to reach it and to make it mine. Christ wants me to do that, which is the reason he made me his. Brothers and sisters, I know that I have not yet reached that goal, but there is one thing I always do. Forgetting the past and straining toward what is ahead, I keep trying to reach the goal and get the prize for which God called me through Christ to the life above.”
Philippians 3:11-14 (NCV)

At this time of year, people often think about the events of the past year and many make resolutions to change things for the better in the year to come.

This is a Biblical principle. 2 Corinthians 13:5 (KJV) tells us to, “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

Our goal is perfection, as instructed in Ephesians 4:13, “This work must continue until we are all joined together in the same faith and in the same knowledge of the Son of God. We must become like a mature person, growing until we become like Christ and have his perfection.” Matthew 5:45 (KJV) says plainly, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”

But nobody is perfect! “Everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s glorious standard” (Romans 3:23). This can be very discouraging when we look back over the year at all our sins and mistakes and failures. Perfection is impossible for us to achieve without help. Fortunately, Matthew 19:26 says, “For people this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”

The key is to learn from our mistakes and then move on. Oft-quoted Santayana says, “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” So we cannot forget our past mistakes completely or we may keep on making the same mistakes all over again. If we do not learn from our past mistakes, we are like the man James warns about in James 1:22-24 (NCV), “Do what God’s teaching says, when you only listen and do nothing, you are fooling yourselves. Those who hear God’s teaching and do nothing are like people who look at themselves in a mirror. They see their faces and then go away and quickly forget what they looked like.” Maybe this is where the saying came from, ‘Out of sight, out of mind’?!

As we read in the header scripture above, Paul encourages us to put the past behind us and keep working towards maturity, or perfection. We resolve to do better with God’s help, and are encouraged by Luke 1:37 that tells us, “with God nothing shall be impossible”!

It can be counter-productive if we just look at the past and are consumed with guilt and regrets. Let’s look, yes, to recognise our errors, but like Paul, let’s forget those things which are behind, press towards the mark of our high calling, and ‘In Christ’, resolve to make this coming year one of no regrets.

Father in Heaven, in your love show us our sins, for we cannot change if we do not see; but in your mercy, help us to put them in the past where you remember them no more, and press toward the mark of your calling to us.

Study by Nancy Silcox

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