In the weeks before my marriage, I became more and more frazzled and scatterbrained. One day I stopped by a mailbox along the side of the road to drop in some letters. This errand was just one in a long list of things I had to do that day. I jumped out of the car, ran around the back and dropped my letters into the box and raced back to the car, opened the door, jumped in, went to grab for the steering wheel and realized I was in the back seat of the car!
I sat there stunned! What do I do now? Do I crawl over the seat and hope no one sees or do I get out in view of all the passing cars and move up to the front? With much chagrin, I glanced around to make sure no one was looking, opened my car door and got into the front seat. As much as I would’ve liked to have driven my car from the backseat, just so I didn’t have to be humiliated, it was just not possible.
There’s another way of driving that isn’t advisable either and that’s steering our car while looking in the rearview mirror. Sure we glance in the mirror from time to time, if we have to make a lane change or if we’re checking the cars behind us but we don’t spend our time focusing on the view behind us. Why? Because it’s difficult to see where we’re going when we’re looking in the rear view mirror.
But how often do we do this in our spiritual life! We hop in our car and drive down the road of life looking in the rear view mirror of our past. We see our failures and disappointments, our lapses in judgment, relationships that were unwise, bad decisions that continue to show their ugly face and we listen to the lies that we are no good, that God’s death on the cross couldn’t cover our sin, that what we did is unforgiveable because we can’t forgive ourselves. Believing these lies and focusing on our past keeps us from moving forward in our walk with God.
Look at what Paul says in Philippians 3:13-14 (NLV), “. . . I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
What is Paul saying here? He’s telling us to stop driving looking in the rear view mirror!
What is our focus to be? It’s not what has happened in our past but it’s what’s up ahead. Paul says we are to “press on”. The idea here is that we have to push forward – it’s not easy or natural but just like a long distance runner presses through the thoughts in his head to quit and give up, we need to do the same.
But how do we do that? We turn our focus on the road ahead and we refuse listen to the lies of Satan that we are no good, that we don’t deserve God’s grace, that we’re insignificant, that God couldn’t forgive us and we push on to the finish! Trusting and believing in the One who gave His life for us and made us worthy in His sight.
And some day this journey on earth will end and we will see our Savior face to face – now that’s a prize worth pursuing!