Life is all about climbing monkey bars. Yes, monkey bars. We have seasons of life. We navigate through life by navigating through the seasons. Each season is to bring us to where God wants us for the next season. Each season prepares us for the next one. Paul notes that he wasn’t where he was meant to be when he wrote to the Philippians. He didn’t achieve the perfection. He was still running the race. But he was prepared to reach the end of the race and receive the prize. He understood that the prize was a heavenly one.
Paul made it clear that part of getting to the end of the race was letting go of the past and laying hold of the future. Monkey bars! When you are passing across the monkey bars from one side to the next, you have to let go of the one bar to move your hand to the next. If you don’t let go and grasp a hold to the next bar, you will end up hanging on the bars going nowhere. In time your dangling weight will cause you to let go completely.
Today, let go of the past. Forget what once was and lay hold to what God is doing right now, and what He has promised for the future. Keep pressing forward. Keep running the race. You too can reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize.
“I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” – Philippians 3:12-14 [NLT]
Looks are deceiving. My poor dog was walking along the sidewalk like normal, and then up ahead was a Halloween decoration swaying in the wind. He jumped and then he dropped down in his hunting stance and slowly made his way toward the strange looking mummy figure. As we walked by, his eyes were glued on the mummy to make sure it did not attack. Even after we passed by, Max kept turning his head and looking back, focusing only on this falsity. He believed that the mummy was real and that it would come and attack. As a result, he approached the area slowly and was hesitant to take his eyes off of the decoration.
We often see things swaying in the wind and believe a certain way. Our minds can go wild when we have something before us. We take a fake mummy and turn it into a full on nightmare. I’m sure many adults can relate when they think back to that shirt that was hanging in their closet that they swore was a monster as a child. As we know, monsters do not exist.
The devil likes to use our fears and worries to his advantage. He loves when we think the goal is out of reach, when we feel like something is not going to work out, and when we think things are not going our way. We see something that is not the truth, but it seems like it could be the truth. Or in our minds we imagine what could happen– like the mummy could be real and come and attack us– rather than what is really the truth– that the mummy is just some plastic cut out used for seasonal décor. Like my dog, we then begin to focus on the mummy more than anything else.
When we focus on the mummy instead of focusing on reality, we tend to drop down in our own stance– our stance of fear and doubt. With believing the lies we are told and letting our minds run wild, we lose steam for moving forward with what God has in store for us. We sidestep, we fall back, we consider hiding. When David faced Goliath, he didn’t focus on the size of the giant. Instead he focused on the size of his God. When we have a mummy swaying in our life, remember you have a God bigger than any mummy. The devil is the father of lies, and he wants you to believe otherwise. Keep pressing forward. Through Jesus we have victory.
“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.”
– Philippians 3:12-14 [NASB]