Wise Forgetfulness

Jack Roeda

READ : Philippians 3:12-21

But this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. (v. 13)

Some of us spend a lot of time trying not to forget things. Small stuff like where we left our keys; bigger things like friends’ names; biggest of all are blessings to remember and promises to keep. And of course Paul knows this. What he wants us to forget is anything that hinders us in reaching our goal of knowing Christ.

We should forget, for example, our sins and failures. Rear-view mirror drivers are bad drivers, and minds clogged with the stuff of past failures make poor progress. We’re to learn what we can from our sins, ask God to forgive us, and move on. We dishonor God, belittle his grace, and do ourselves no good by torturing ourselves with memories of an ill-spent past. God gives new beginnings.

It is equally important to forget past successes. It is tempting to say to ourselves, “I’ve done more than my share, let someone else take over.” People will sometimes grow in spiritual maturity and service up to a certain point, and then the success smothers the progress. They decide to relax and take it easy. The older you get, the more you realize that finishing well is not automatic.

Press on. Following Christ has no retirement age.


Spirit of God, lead us on. Amen.