A Prayer to Keep Pressing Forward
By: Alisha Headley
“…forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal of the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
Have you ever wondered how the Apostle Paul wrote such profound words in today’s Scripture verse? Nothing but Spirit-breathed confidence in Christ could cause a man with such a past as Paul’s to pen such beautiful words of forward-looking redemption.
Before he went by the name Paul, he was referred to as the imprisoned Saul. Paul was a murderer before he wrote almost half of the New Testament book. Not only was he a murderer, but he was a murderer of Christians. This was a man who murdered those that served the Christ that he would one day spend the rest of his days following and committed to. His name change matched his soul change after his conversion.
I can’t help but wonder if this is where today’s verse derives from. Paul had a choice: he could live in guilt and condemnation in his old identity, or, he could choose to accept his new identity in Christ. He chose to take off the label from his past and partner with God in His Kingdom work. And what a glorious work he did helping build out the church and spreading the gospel.
Although he ended up playing an impacting role in preaching the good news, I imagined he wrestled with these memories from the past and wished a million times he didn’t do these things of which he was guilty. And therefore, he wrote a Scripture verse that can be true to us today; for those of us that are holding onto labels from our past, from our past mistakes and failures. The verse emphasizes to “forget those things which are behind and reach forward to those things which are ahead.” Paul chose to own his past and turn his mess of a past into some of the greatest messages in the Bible. God never erased his story; He authored it for a purpose, an unbelievable purpose! He can do the same with our story too.
Let’s take this as a reminder to choose to remember that God is bigger than any labels from our past. Paul’s story, like ours, is a representation of the Gospel. Through the same love and forgiveness, we can use our stories for a beautiful redemptive purpose too.
We thank you that you are a God of not just second chances, but never-ending chances. That you are a God of love and forgiveness. That you don’t want us to live in our past forever. Your Word says in Romans 8:8 that we know “that all things work together for good to those that are called according to your purpose.” Lord, we ask that you turn all our past to our purpose for your Kingdom.
We choose to be obedient to you and partner with you. As you invest your Heavenly purpose in us, may we be your earthly vessels and used by you just as Paul was. Thank you, Lord, for the example of Paul in the Bible. For someone who chose to rid himself of his former identity and walk in his new identity in you. For we are a “new creation in you; the old things have passed away, and the new has come.” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Thank you, Father, that you are the author of our lives and you can turn our past into our purpose. We worship you and praise you for you look at us and all you have overcome in us, and still see the beauty you created. Use us Lord, just like Paul, as instruments in your hand for whatever purpose you’ve chosen for us to be and to become. We love you and choose to follow you this day.
In Jesus’ Name,
Photo credit: ©SalemDesign
Alisha Headley is a writer + speaker who has a desire to meet the everyday woman in her everyday life with biblical truth. Stepping into her true calling, she left the corporate world behind as a former-financial VP to love on her family as a stay-at-home wifey + dog mama, while also being able to pursue her passion as a writer. Healing from a chapter of life consumed with lies she once believed about herself, she is inspired to point women to Christ to experience the freedom + power to overcome those lies with the truth written in God’s word. In her free time, Alisha enjoys road trips around the country, working out so she can eat her favorite foods, and creatively styling her outfits with a craft for fashion. Alisha is a proud wifey and dog mama living in Scottsdale, Arizona.
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