READ: Philippians 3:12–4:3
THINK: Chances are, there are some things in your life you’d like to forget, and a few other things you should forget. While there are things you can learn, appreciate and celebrate from your past, there is nothing you can do to change any of it. For that reason, your primary focus must be on what is still ahead. Too many people have trouble getting past the past–the good and the bad–which prevents them from pursuing the priorities and purposes God intends for their future. Don’t let the past hold you back. Press forward with God so you can experience all He has in store for you.
RESPOND: In the process of pressing on in his faith and in God’s purposes, what did Paul choose to forget and why? (See 3:13 note.) In what way must you follow his example? What will it take to “press on” toward God’s ultimate purpose for your life? What does it mean to “live up to what we have already attained” (v. 16), and what does that have to do with maturing as Christians? (See 3:15-16 note.) In what way do “many live as enemies of the cross”? (See 3:18 note.) In what way do verses 18-19 describe many people in our culture today? (See 3:19 note.) What does it mean that “our citizenship is in heaven,” and what hope does that give you personally? (See 3:20 note.) What do you think it means to “agree with each other in the Lord” (4:2), and what does this tell you about how Christians should handle legitimate disagreements?
PRAY: Ask God to help you put the past in the past, so that you aren’t distracted by your failures or successes. Pray for diligence in fulfilling God’s purposes for your life. Thank Him for your citizenship in His eternal kingdom. Ask Him to help you handle conflict with other Christians with wisdom and grace.
ACT: If there is an issue from your past that still troubles you, take appropriate action to settle that issue once and for all. If you have an unresolved conflict with another Christian, make an effort to settle things and to maintain a loving and productive relationship–even if you still disagree.