I have struggled through some difficult times and trying circumstances in my life, but lately I have felt extremely blessed. My family and friends are the best; my job is going well and I really like my boss; my church is growing and feeding on the Word of God; and my health is the best it has been in years. Recently the Lord has laid on my heart a desire and the courage to serve Him more in a way that has always been a distant dream. Just last week I could see my dream becoming a reality in the not too distant future and I could see the glory of God in the midst of it.
Then last night I was checking to see what was going on with friends and family on Facebook when a name and a face from my past was there in front of me. Suddenly doubts, regrets, and guilt were looming in my mind. Something I thought I had put behind me was at the forefront of my thoughts and I had a feeling of confusion and fear. Forgiveness I believed I had surrendered to God seemed absent from my heart and I felt lost.
So I prayed and asked God for wisdom. I read the Proverbs on my Bible-in-a-year schedule thinking surely I would find the answer there. But though I found wisdom I did not find what I needed for how I was feeling. So I prayed again and asked God for wisdom from one of my fellow bloggers. But though one had something to say that I could relate to, it wasn’t the answer I sought for my soul that questioned what to do next.
Then I sat down at my computer to write my daily blog entry, feeling just as lost about what to say as I was feeling about how to respond to the situation at the forefront of my mind. I knew there was a verse that would help, but couldn’t remember which one or where it was. So I went to www.Biblegateway.com and did a keyword search trying to find the Word of God that I desperately needed to find. Searching the word “press” here is what I found:
I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: 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 3:10-14.
In reading this short passage, I realized that what is in my past, what I have put behind me, is not what matters. I must keep my focus on what is ahead. The enemy would love to derail me from the blessings that God has in store for me. The enemy would love to squash my dream of serving the Lord with a heavy load of guilt and shame. I must strain toward what is ahead and press on toward the goal that God has set before me. Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62. So I will keep my eyes forward and on Christ my Savior.
I believe it is when we are on the verge of being useful in furthering the Kingdom of God that Satan is most likely to attack with doubts and fears. But if we are decked out in the armor of God, we can withstand those attacks. It was with my shield of faith that I was able to “extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.” Ephesians 6:16. Because I took up “the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” I was able to stand against this latest scheme of the evil one. Because I remembered to “pray in the Spirit” I was not defeated.
Are you facing a challenge today, feeling the weight of guilt and shame from something in your past? Put on the armor of God and keep your focus forward on the goal that God has set before you. Do not fear the lies of the evil one, but press on in the Truth of the Gospel, the Truth of the love of our Lord.