Forgetting Your Own Good Deeds
by Charles R. Swindoll
Yesterday, we talked about what it means to "forget" when other people do bad deeds to us. Today, I want to address forgetting when we do good deeds to others.
In other words, once our own good deeds are done, they're done. Forget them. No need to drop little hints on how thoughtful we were. Just as we refuse to keep score of how people have offended us, we don't keep score of all we've done for them.
Tucked away in the New Testament is a chapter that illustrates this beautifully. The writer, Paul, lists a number of things in his past that could be food for pride.
If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more: circumcised the eighth day, of the nation of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of Hebrews; as to the Law, a Pharisee; as to zeal, a persecutor of the church; as to the righteousness which is in the Law, found blameless. (Philippians 3:4–6)
If you were looking for somebody to give a testimony next Sunday, Paul would be a winner. In fact, if he were not careful, he could turn it into a "braggimony." These are impressive facts . . . and they are absolutely true. But Paul kept it all in proper perspective:
But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ. More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith. (3:7–9)
In comparison to Jesus Christ and all the things He has made possible—His forgiveness, His love, His righteousness—everything else we may be or accomplish diminishes in significance. Paul's following words describe the healthy humility of a servant:
Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (3:12–14)
Basically, Paul said, "I don't mean to say I am perfect. I haven't learned all I should even yet, but I keep working toward that day when I will finally be all that Christ saved me for and wants me to be."
Woven into Paul's words are these three statements: "I have not arrived . . . I forget what is behind . . . I move on to what is ahead."
Tomorrow, we'll begin to unpack those words. But for now, read them again with the goal of forgetting the good deeds you've done for others:
"I have not arrived . . . I forget what is behind . . . I move on to what is ahead."
Reprinted by permission. Day by Day, Charles Swindoll, July 2005, Thomas Nelson, inc., Nashville, Tennessee. All rights reserved. Purchase "Day by Day" here.