Press On: a devotion by Ann Elaine Broughton
“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3: 13-14 NIV).
For some of you today, pressing on toward the prize of heaven seems difficult. You may be feeling as if there is no hope and that the future seems bleak. I want to reassure you and encourage you that our sight, no matter what our circumstances, needs to be centered on Christ and the prize of heaven. Please do not lose faith when you are feeling like nothing seems to be going right for you. God still loves you and wants you to have peace in the midst of your problems.
I especially like when Paul says that he forgets what is behind. It is very easy to wallow in our past sins or self-pity from bad experiences. This only will make you depressed and feeling like a failure. All of these thoughts will make you feel hopeless and not able to really feel God’s peace. You must not let these negative thoughts of your self worth stifle your faith in God. If you start thinking about your failures or other bad experiences that have happened in your life, you can tailspin into total depression and darkness. The minute you start thinking these things, stop it, and pray for God to help you to stop thinking negative thoughts. Read the Bible for encouragement of his love for you. The Bible is full of stories of men and women who failed, but were able to repent and God used them in mighty ways. Paul was a murderer, but he changed completely when Jesus appeared to him on a road. After that he preached about Jesus Christ to the Gentiles and was the main writer of the letters in the New Testament. He knew he had to forget his past. His life was made new in Christ, and he knew that heaven was his goal. He was pursuing that prize with all of his heart.
My friend, no matter what you are facing, you are not facing it alone. God is with you. He will give you the strength, peace, and courage to face the hurdles that are in front of you. Press on, knowing that your prize is eternal life.
Sometimes life seems difficult. Problems arise, our past convicts us, and we feel hopeless. Help us to turn to you knowing that you love us and want us to have peace. Let us be still and know that you are God and that we should continue to strain toward what is ahead: heaven.
In Jesus’ name,