On Sunday we started a new series called “One Thing.” The Bible has a great deal to say about “one thing.” Lord willing, we will look at a variety of those passages throughout this series. In Philippians 3:13, Paul says, “…one thing I do….” One thing we all must do is do right! In this passage, Paul says he must:
Forget the Past
“…Forgetting what is behind…” (v. 13). We can look at the past, learn from the past, but we can’t live in the past. We have to give our past to Jesus. There are two things we must forget from our yesterdays: our defeats and our victories. When it comes to our defeats, we have to forget our injuries and wounds and let God heal us of those hurts. We also have to put ourselves under the forgiveness of God and forgive ourselves. The devil is the Accuser. He will always bring up our past mistakes. If you have confessed it and repented of it, stop letting the accusation of the enemy keep you from victory. Look who wrote these words! Paul imprisoned and killed Christians! If he can move forward, through Jesus, so can we! When it comes to our victories, we must forsake our successes. We can’t live on yesterday’s victory. God gave Israel daily manna. We need daily bread. We can’t live off of yesterday’s blessing or yesterday’s strength. The “good old days” are today! We have to live one day at a time and focus on what God is doing right now.
Face the Future
“…and straining toward what is ahead…” (v. 13). This phrase is the picture of a runner straining for the finish line. We should all embrace and accept the new normal. If you have ever had surgery, you know you don’t go back to normal, you go back to a new normal. The world has been sick and shutdown with COVID-19. Reopening is going to be slower than we would like. Let’s not complain or resist it, but embrace and accept it, respond instead of react, and intercede rather than interfere. We are having to learn to do church differently, with kids, students, young adults, and groups online. It’s not my preference but God is doing a new thing through it! This Easter was our largest Easter ever and many people are making decisions for Christ! God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts (Is. 55:8). In verse 12, Paul confesses that he has not arrived. If he wrote 13 books of the Bible and had not arrived, certainly God is not through with any of us. He has more for us! Let’s look ahead expectantly for what He wants to do!
Focus on God
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (v. 14). During this season, God has taken away our idols: sports, entertainment, the economy, etc., so we will focus on Him. God said that we are to have no other gods before Him. He put Israel in captivity for all the sabbaths they refused to observe. God is making us sabbath. We have to stay at home. We are all overloaded, overbooked, overcommitted, and overwhelmed. Aren’t you tired of attempting too much and accomplishing too little? Activity is not the same as productivity. There is a difference between what you may do, you might do, and you must do. Between what you would do, could do, and should do. There is a saying that says, if you chase two rabbits, you will not catch either one! We cannot serve two masters. God is first and He cannot be second. We all have the same number of hours in a day so why do some people get so much more done? They narrow their focus. Not everything on our to-do lists is equal. We have to figure out what matters most. We have to say no to good things so that we can say yes to the best thing, the one thing God has called us to! Every day seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you (Mt. 6:33). Spend time with God every day in worship.
The prize is to be in the will of God right now, tomorrow, and for all eternity. Whatever you DO… do it all for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31)! What is the one thing you do, that you need to stop doing? What is the one thing that you are NOT doing that you should be doing? What is the one thing that, if you did it, would help you personally, spiritually, in your marriage, relationships, family, job, etc.?