Faith Bible Church of Lake Charles
The 2 Things It Takes to Finish Well
- Bible Trivia
- The 2 Things It Takes to Finish WellThe Apostle Paul is dealing with that in our text this morning. Let’s take a look. We’ll be focusing on the latter half of the verse.13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,Last week we looked at Paul’s sanctified dissatisfaction with his Christian life. He was over the moon satisfied with Jesus, we saw that in verse 10. But he wasn’t satisfied with his Christian life. He know he had room for progress. He wasn’t finished with the race yet.So how do we progress in such a way as to win the race of life? How do we get to the end so that we ultimately hear, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant?” It begins with a sanctified dissatisfaction with our current progress. And it continues where we left off last week. First it takes...A Singular Devotion (13b)13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,“One thing” is a phrase that is important to the Christian life. “One thing thou lackest,” said Jesus to the self-righteous rich young ruler (Mark 10:21). “One thing is needful,” He explained to busy Martha when she criticized her sister (Luke 10:42). “One thing I know!” exclaimed the man who had received his sight by the power of Christ (John 9:25). “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after!” testified the psalmist (Ps. 27:4).Too many Christians are too involved in “many things,” when the secret of progress is to concentrate on “one thing.” I don’t believe that necessarily speaks of our life pursuits. Because life would be dull if we were simply one-dimensional. None of us are just one thing. We’re not just husband, or wife, or mom or dad, sister, brother, friend, employee, business owner, etc. We may also be gardener, quilter, fisherman and so on.The “one thing” I believe Paul is speaking of is that we don’t hang our hat on multiple things to make us right with God. Certainly not on the rubbish of our good works like Paul mentions in the previous verses. But a singular devotion to Jesus Christ.As well, we should be who God made us to be. We can’t be all things to all people all the time. There are certain things we might be able to do. But we must ask ourselves, is this where I’m most effective?It was this decision that was a turning point in D.L. Moody’s life. Before the tragedy of the Chicago fire in 1871, Mr. Moody was involved in Sunday School promotion, Y.M.C.A. work, evangelistic meetings, and many other activities; but after the fire, he determined to devote himself exclusively to evangelism. “This one thing I do!” became a reality to him. As a result, millions of people heard the Gospel.The believer must devote himself to “running the Christian race.” No athlete succeeds by doing everything; he succeeds by specializing. There are those few athletes who seem proficient in many sports, but they are the exception.The winners are those who concentrate, who keep their eyes on the goal and let nothing distract them. They are devoted entirely to their calling. Like Nehemiah the wall-building governor, they reply to the distracting invitations, “I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down!” (Neh. 6:3) “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8).Concentration is the secret of power. If a river is allowed to overflow its banks, the area around it becomes a swamp. But if that river is dammed and controlled, it becomes a source of power. It is wholly a matter of values and priorities, living for that which matters most.Our second need is...A Future-Oriented Direction (13c)13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,The person without Christ is controlled by the past, but the Christian running the race looks toward the future. Imagine what would happen on the race course if the charioteers (or the runners) started looking behind them! It is bad enough for a plowman to look back (Luke 9:62), but for a charioteer to do so means a possible collision and serious injury.We are accustomed to saying “past, present, future,” but maybe we should view time as flowing from the future into the present and then into the past. At least, the believer should be future-oriented, “forgetting those things which are behind.”But we need to keep in mind that in Bible terminology, “to forget” doesn’t mean “to fail to remember.” Apart from senility, hypnosis, or a brain malfunction, no mature person can forget what has happened in the past. We may wish that we could erase certain bad memories, but we cannot. “To forget” in the Bible means “no longer to be influenced by or affected by.”When God promises, “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more” (Heb. 10:17), He is not suggesting that He will conveniently have a bad memory! This is impossible with God. What God is saying is, “I will no longer hold their sins against them. Their sins can no longer affect their standing with Me or influence My attitude toward them.”So, “forgetting those things which are behind” does not suggest an impossible feat of mental and psychological gymnastics by which we try to erase the sins and mistakes of the past. It simply means that we break the power of the past by living for the future. We cannot change the past, but we can change the meaning of the past.There were things in Paul’s past that could have been weights to hold him back (1 Tim. 1:12–17), but they became inspirations to speed him ahead. The events did not change, but his understanding of them changed.A good example of this principle is Joseph (Gen. 45:1–15). When he met his brothers the second time and revealed himself to them, he held no grudge against them. To be sure, they had mistreated him, but he saw the past from God’s point of view. As a result he was unable to hold anything against his brothers. Joseph knew that God had a plan for his life—a race for him to run—and in fulfilling that plan and looking ahead, he broke the power of the past.Too many Christians are shackled by regrets of the past. They are trying to run the race by looking backward! No wonder they stumble and fall and get in the way of other Christians! Some Christian runners are being distracted by the successes of the past, not the failures; and this is just as bad. “The things which are behind” must be set aside and “the things which are before” must take their place.This week, practice the forward look.It is possible to have dissatisfaction, devotion, and direction, and still lose the race and the reward.We’ll find out next week when we look at the fourth essential.
- Bible Trivia
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