A Message for You

Forgetting the past, looking forward

by PASTOR DICK RILEY
Rockford United Methodist Church

A pastor from Atlanta once said that it always bothered him in a track meet when the runners were running the hurdles and would knock one or two of the hurdles down. He said that he felt as if they should go back and straighten up the hurdles they had knocked over. He said that if his mother were coaching the team, she would certainly make the runners go back and straighten up the knocked-over hurdles! It was important to her, you see, that the runners leave things “neat and in order” for the next runners.

“But,” said the pastor, “hurdlers who win the gold medals don’t look back. They ignore the fallen hurdles and just keep on running to the finish line.”

I don’t know if the Apostle Paul ever ran the hurdles in a race, but I do know that he understood one of the basic principles of Christian living. He wrote: “I am still not all that I should be, but I am focusing all of 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,” (Phil. 3:13-14).

As Christians, we are called to continually grow in our personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and the only way that that is possible is for us to accept the grace of God’s holy forgiveness which He offers us through our faith in Christ our Lord. This will set us free from all of our failures of the past.

As we begin this new year of 2011, my prayer for all of us is that we will accept the grace that Christ provides so that we can quit worrying about our mistakes and failures, and, instead, focus on our growing and personal relationship with Him. You see, when grace and growth are the driving forces of our lives, we can be sure that we will truly have a happy new year!

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