“No, dear brothers and sisters, I am still not all I should be, but I am focusing all my energies on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.”

Philippians 3:13-14, NLT

      I had already been driving for five hours. We were going through Jacksonville and it was now rush hour. I looked in my rear view mirror and I saw an old car, with black smoke billowing out the tail pipe, too close behind me. I was nervous and concerned that he would not be watching very close so I kept an eye on him through my rear view mirror. Then my wife said “Hal”! Oops… the car in front of me had stopped and I was too late in hitting my brakes. In my attempt to protect my back bumper I had run into someone in front of me.

      I believe this is the message Paul is shouting to us today, “stop looking at your past and focus forward.” You see our past challenges and successes will keep us from “straining to reach the prize.” I have met many people on life’s journey who were focused on the past. It may have been a superlative award in high school or a poor choice made as an adult. Whatever the event (good or bad), our challenge is to live with our eyes on God and the life He has for us right now.

QUESTION: How about it, are you a person who tends to live life watching the rear view mirror? What negative things in your past do you give too much attention? What successes in the past hold your attention? Would you be willing to ask a close friend to help you answer this question? What do you think God has for you in the future that you need to focus on?