Even the Apostle Paul acknowledged that he was not where he wanted to be in Christ. He wasn’t comparing himself to the other apostles or to the other saints in the church. He wasn’t comparing himself to his Jewish friends – or to Gentile friends either, for that matter. The only comparisons he was making was with the example and pattern set down by the Lord Jesus Christ.
“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.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
" They shall not labour in vain , nor bring forth for trouble; for they are the seed of the blessed of the LORD, and their offspring with them. And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear." (Isaiah 65:23-24)
A saint of God cannot afford to get stuck in a time warp
You cannot go back and dwell upon your past mistakes and failures. It does no good to rethink all the little details and mull them over and over again. This is enemy territory – you dare not dwell there!
The Holy Ghost convicts – but it does not condemn. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1) You need to leave your baggage behind. What needs to go with you are the necessities.
Philippians 4:8 provides a wonderful list of profitable things you can and should dwell on… “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
Baggage (Things to be Left Behind)
- Past mistakes and failures
- Worries and Cares – the things we don’t have the ability to change.
- Negative/Bad Attitudes – they tend to rub off on others.
- Gossip – talebearers are their own worst enemy, they tear apart others.
Necessities (Things to Carry Forward)
- Memories of past victories and miracles.
- Prayer – Ask and it shall be given,m Seek and ye shall find, Knock and it shall be opened unto you.
- A humble and meek spirit
- The Gospel – the truth of who Jesus is and why He came.
In essence, what Paul said was, "I’m not there yet but I’m going in this direction – His will, not my will. I’m not perfect but I’m striving toward perfection and the necessary changes that will transform me into the image of Christ.
Ken Foreman is Pastor at New Life Church in Detroit, Michigan.